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a CD Player can bring down an airliner?

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a CD Player can bring down an airliner?

Old 12th Sep 2002, 17:07
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Exclamation a CD Player can bring down an airliner?

I just read an article in New Scientist on how some of the common electronic devices, such as a cd player or a laptop computer, can easily be modified to interfere with the aviation navigation system and possibly bring down the airliners.

Source: New Scientist

how can we low-tech pilots fight the high-tech terrorists?
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Old 12th Sep 2002, 18:34
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Total Crap!
Old 12th Sep 2002, 18:45
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Old 12th Sep 2002, 19:21
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I seem to recall that the idea of jamming satellite-based ATC systems was considered total crap at one point. Then the FAA suddenly decided that it was possible after all and made the biggest U-turn in the history of ATC development as a result.
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 03:10
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And yet, here on the western side of the great divide, many aeroplanes every day avail themselves of GPS approaches...while those in the "east" can only dream....
Wonder when those in the country who invented the Hoover will wake up?
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 03:46
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Those on the West side of the great divide have a big brother with his finger on a switch marked "Selective Denial"

We on the East Side are just being cautious 411A.
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 05:51
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Metal screen on the windows . . .


and filters on the wiring . . .

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Old 13th Sep 2002, 06:14
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How about stay current on hand flying using raw data from secondary instruments?
Old 13th Sep 2002, 07:50
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411A - the US accepts that interference to GPS signals might occur, but is not very likely. Hence they accept the risk inherent in 'GA' GPS sole means approaches.

However, other regulators are not prepared to accept any such risk. This is nothing to do with the possibility of Selective Availability being re-enabled without warning.
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 08:30
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On the subject of GPS, as a controller located on the eastern side of this debate, I have watched many aircraft on radar trying to make their own way to the ILS or something similar. Some have done things that you wouldn't believe - and that I certainly didn't expect from an aircraft that wanted to route the most efficient way to a point! Whilst I've no idea what the reason for such deviations was, I've seen it often enough to not blindly trust RNAV systems. True, pilots doing 'conventional' navigation have also done similar things but not nearly so often.
Old 13th Sep 2002, 10:21
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By now all the land based navigation aids in the US were supposed to have been removed. Why do you suppose this has'nt happened?

Back to the original question the CAA reported earlier this year that a digital camera used in a cockpit actually wiped the memory in the FMC.


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Old 13th Sep 2002, 11:03
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MJR, have you got a reference for this?

Iíd like to learn how an FMC memory can be wiped by camera. Iím not saying I donít believe you, but since a lot of flight crews take happy snaps with digital cameras, Iím surprised that this phenomena isnít commonplace and if itís documented, why hasnít the information been promulgated to crews as a matter of urgency?

As to the subject of a CD player bringing down an aircraftÖof course it could, all you have to do is pack it with C4.

The ignorant assumption that flight crews follow the ILS without any checks on accuracy is laughable. False glide slopes are well documented and normal flight procedures would show up a suspect glide slope at the final fix, if not sooner.
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 11:45
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To me that New Scientist article smacks of covert advetising for that company they mention which makes the RF detection equipment.

You'll find many companies trying to make a fast buck in the midst of the security scare since 9/11 and you only have to look at which stocks are booming in Wall Street :-).
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 12:27
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If I remember correctly the report regarding the camera was mentioned in CHIRP or one of the accompanying safety magazines that came with it early this year. I believe the camera was a digital video camera. Sorry cant offer any more information than this.
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 16:14
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It's not beyond the scope of most electronic hobbyists to add an RF transmitter to their CD player or whatever that could broadcast on the ILS frequency band. If the device contains an FM receiver you've already got an oscillator that operates at the correct frequency (just about). This article implies that one of these devices would make an aircraft fall out of the sky which is sensationalist claptrap.

However, I would ban CD players and Walkmans anyway as the ssss ssss ssss noise annoys the hell out of me....
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 19:18
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There have been several threads on the issue of handheld devices that could interfere with aircraft systems in the past on PPRUNE.

Bottom line is that many of these devices will emitt at least a small amount of RF, and there have been occasional reports of real interference. Since there are so many different possible emitters and receivers it appears reasonable and prudent to have everybody turn everything off in the back of the bus that is not certified for operation in aircraft. Either that or wrap the users and their equipment in metal foil or mesh and ground it to the aircraft. May not solve the emissions problem but it would discourage users who didn't really need to use because it would be uncomfortable and look stupid.

As far as the US turning off ground based navaids, work it out for yourself: Turn the VORs off, don't have to maintain them. Do have to keep the real estate , telephone lines, electricity ,uildings etc because the RCAGs are colocated. Oh, and you have to get everybody to equip their airplanes with GPS.
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Old 13th Sep 2002, 22:48
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The REAL question is...why are not aircraft systems properly shielded against stray RF interference?

Cost too much perhaps? Naaaw, could't be....
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Old 15th Sep 2002, 17:26
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Its not so much RF interference, it digital equipment that produces pulse interference. A mobile phone 'dibi-dit' can often be heard on VHF com, so therefore it would appear that it would also go through the VOR/LOC box at least. As for GPS, isn't interesting how the system is downgraded or disabled in areas that conflict with US politics?
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Old 15th Sep 2002, 20:19
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Ummm, 411A I thought you knew about aviation?

How do you shield a VOR against RF? Or and ADF, ILS or AWR for that matter? All rely on receiving RF to function, therefore fundamentally cannot be shielded. GPS has to be even more sensitive, as the signal it is receiving is less than the background noise. The systems used to recover signal fromt he noise clutter do protect it from a certain level of random intereference (not a huge amount though) but to someone deliberately interfering they could be used to increase the vulnerability of the system.
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Old 15th Sep 2002, 20:49
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Send clowns,

Very simple dear boy, locate the antennas far from interference and shield the interconnecting wiring.
Take for example my private twin engine aeroplane. It is equipped with King Gold Crown nav, comm, adf, dme and gps receivers, and in this case, the very same nav, comm, adf, dme (exclude gps, not then available) units that were fitted to UAL 737's (30+) years ago.
These radios are fitted according to STC and field approval specifications and...
having all seven passengers dial on their mobile phones at the SAME time, resulted in...
NO interference to nav, comms, adf, dme, OR GPS reception.

"Tis called "proper shielding", plain and simple.
If I can do so on my rather limited budget the question remains...
WHY cannot airliners be so equipped?

PS: TOTAL cost for shielding in my installation was...$800.

Answers on a prepaid postcard, please...
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