1. SaMaster14's Avatar
    Well, I was on a flight a few days ago and I had thought that I had put my 9930 on airplane mode/shut off all connections before shutting it off for take-off. But when I turned it on to play brick-breaker mid-flight I found that I had a 3G signal. There were no bars, but my timezone updated, which makes me assume it was connected to something. I didn't try calling anyone, texting or internet or anything (I immediately turned the network off) though.

    Thoughts? Experiences with this?
    12-16-11 04:06 AM
  2. Rootbrian's Avatar
    Despite the thing about no eletronics being on allowed nonsense, I never turned mine off at all. It stayed on the entire time. Just had no service, which sucked.
    12-16-11 07:37 AM
  3. qbnkelt's Avatar
    I have huge fears about my phone going off midflight for whatever quirk, so I just remove the battery.
    12-16-11 07:48 AM
  4. tyler_JC's Avatar
    Having studied the world of aviation for some time I can let you in on a few secrets about electronic devices causing interference.

    First of all - they don't.

    Okay so thats not entirely true - one person on their mobile will not cause anywhere near enough interference to cause an aircraft's navigation systems to malfunction, its just unheard of.

    However multiply that one person by about 300, all in the confines of an aircraft cabin and all with their phones on, making calls/receiving texts etc, and you can see where the problem is. You and your Berry won't cause an issue, but when everyone (or say 20-30 passengers) are doing it then the interference may be great enough to cause navigational errors. This is still only a 'theory' as no authorised and recorded studies have ever been trialled.

    I will note however that Australian airline Qantas trialled inflight use of mobile phones a few years ago, from what I recall no incidents occurred and since its completion no further study or change of regulation has occurred.

    Another problem is the consequences of what happens when you get five or ten thousand passengers across a country all with their phones on, all in airplanes shooting 800+ Km/H across the sky. With the range of a cellular tower, they are all going to be switching from tower to tower every few minutes which will cause significant network troubles and lag.


    Oh and heres a little fact, ever wondered why you can use your laptops/iPods on the ground when the doors are open, but not when taxiing/taking off/landing or below 10 000Ft? Its nothing to do with interference, its just safety. If your on your laptop you are not paying attention to the crew or the aircraft, meaning you are less likely to realise an emergency is taking place (most emergencies take place during these phases of flight).


    Sorry for the overload but air travel is just one of those topics that if I start talking about - I don't shut up! haha


    Tyler
    Last edited by tyler_JC; 12-16-11 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Grammar
    12-16-11 08:10 AM
  5. kjjb0204's Avatar
    I would imagine it's quite possible to occasionally get a signal while on a passenger plane. I think they cruise around 37000 feet, or roughly 7 miles and CDMA towers can reach much further than that with no obstructions. The only negative is that your phone will eat battery trying to find a signal for most of the flight.
    12-16-11 08:19 AM
  6. qbnkelt's Avatar
    @tyler - what about wifi on planes? I routinely connect when the plane offers wifi.

    How is that not an interference?

    Not a challenge, just a question.
    12-16-11 08:25 AM
  7. tyler_JC's Avatar
    @tyler - what about wifi on planes? I routinely connect when the plane offers wifi.

    How is that not an interference?

    Not a challenge, just a question.
    Ahh good question haha

    Aircraft with Wi-Fi have whats called a SATCOM antenna installed - its a very noticeable lump, usually on the top of the aircraft's fuselage. It connects the aircrafts onboard Wi-Fi system to a dedicated internet network for that carrier.

    When dealing with onboard Wi-Fi its easier to fix the problems of interference because it is controlled, by this I mean its designed to cause minimal interference. Its location (on the aircraft), frequencies and signal strength are all built as to not interfere with the aircrafts systems, running on their own frequencies. As a safe guard these Wi-Fi systems have an override switch on the flight deck as so if any abnormalities are detected, the system can be shut off.

    I guess the best way to explain it is going back to the 1 vs. 300 theory. One SATCOM antenna broadcasting on the plane is not enough to cause significant interference to an airplanes navigation systems.

    In saying that, I don't want to pass the impression that SATCOM antennas never cause interference (feels like I'm typing that word ever 3 seconds haha). I recall an article I read at the beginning of the year, during the certification of the Wi-Fi system on Boeing 737 aircraft. It was reported that the system was causing Stage 3 Display Units (the screens on the flight deck which display the aircrafts information such as its speed, situation and heading, as well as engine readings) to blank and flash in flight. This was fixed in future revisions and I believe other version of the units weren't affected. Nevertheless this goes back to the 'controlled' side of inflight Wi-Fi. A aviation authority and airline can certify and test one or two types of SATCOM and Wi-Fi systems on an aircraft, but not the thousands of phones that people have and use.


    Hope it helped, happy to clarify anything


    Tyler
    Umedon and LuisCast like this.
    12-16-11 08:49 AM
  8. kenorian's Avatar
    There was a good article in the NY Times a few weeks ago regarding use of mobile devices on aircraft. Aside from all of the technical reasons, given the restriction on bringing liquids bigger than 3 ounces onto a plane - if Homeland Security felt that there were any risk they would be all over people being on the honor system to turn off their wireless devices.
    12-16-11 10:04 AM
  9. SaMaster14's Avatar
    Wow, interesting convo. I thought it was an anomaly for a phone to get service on a plane. For a second there I thought the Bold was special (it is known for getting better reception than some other smartphones if I read/watched the reviews correctly).

    I wonder how those Vertu phones would do on a plane (those super expensive luxury phones that supposedly work up to 5 stories underground and get reception in over 400 countries on one plan)
    12-16-11 03:33 PM
  10. southlander's Avatar
    I would imagine it's quite possible to occasionally get a signal while on a passenger plane. I think they cruise around 37000 feet, or roughly 7 miles and CDMA towers can reach much further than that with no obstructions. The only negative is that your phone will eat battery trying to find a signal for most of the flight.
    And of course the whole bottom of the plane being metal means you are only likely to get a weak signal if any at all.
    12-16-11 11:36 PM
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