Why is it necessary to turn off electronic devices when flying?
Electronic devices like portable video game consoles, mobile phones, and tablets are commonplace in the 21st century. They allow us to play games, communicate with friends and family, and browse the Internet.
They would seem to be a great way to pass the time on a long flight, where passengers are not allowed to leave their seats.
However, those of us who have flown in the past ten years will be familiar with the preflight reminder to either turn off all electronic devices or keep them in “airplane mode” (also known as “flight mode”) for the duration of the flight.Because device transmissions interfere with the aircraft’s navigational equipment, we are advised to disable cellular service.However, does this actually occur?Can your smartphone or other electronic device really put the flight in danger?
The short solution to this question is most likely not, yet you ought to presumably know what your electronic gadget means for the plane’s instruments as well as different travelers during the flight.
Knowing how your electronic device works and interacts with the airplane is the first step.Electronic devices typically transform into low-power radio wave transmitters that link to cellular towers and other receivers that carry the signal outward—but they also transform into receivers to receive inbound signals—in order to connect to a wireless network or cellular telephone tower.
In the case of mobile phones, these transmitters typically have a maximum power of 0.25 W.The device doesn’t have to use as much power to search for the tower’s signal and keep the signal between the device and the tower if the tower or other receiver is close by.
A radio signal is sent out by an electronic device when it is in active or cellular mode, but not when it is in airplane mode.
The vast majority of airlines point out that it is possible for radio signals emanating from an electronic device to disrupt one or more of an aircraft’s crucial systems. These systems include navigation equipment, collision avoidance equipment, sensors that aid in the communication of the aircraft’s instruments, and other types of avionics.
However, modern aircraft’s sensitive electronic equipment is effectively shielded from radio waves.Although mobile phone transmissions may have caused electronic interference in two crashes—one in New Zealand in 2003 and one in Switzerland in 2000—it is much more likely that device transmissions will merely annoy the flight crew.
This is due to the fact that the signals register on their equipment, requiring the pilots, navigators, and radio operators to work harder to read their instruments correctly. Additionally, the signals are frequently heard in their headphones as a muffled beeping sound, similar to the sound that is heard over stereo speakers in a home when a mobile phone with unread text messages or emails is placed next to it.
Therefore, “pilot annoyance” is most likely the reason airlines ask passengers not to transmit from their devices while flying. While other agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, have maintained limits, the European Aviation Safety Agency announced in 2014 that electronic devices were not safety risks.
In China, electronic devices must be turned off during the flight, or the user risks a short jail sentence and/or a fine of several thousand dollars.However, in lieu of paying for the pricy airphone service offered by some flights, air travelers from all over the world would prefer to be able to use their own smartphones to make telephone calls while in the air.
By installing onboard cellular towers, or picocells, on each aircraft, you can prevent mobile phones from transmitting their full strength without disturbing the flight crew.
Picocells minimize transmission signals and provide users of electronic devices with close cellular service.In order to direct in-flight calls and provide passengers with wireless communications, a lot of European airlines use equipment from cellular service providers like AeroMobile.
American airlines have been slow to adopt the picocell technology and are waiting for a decision from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is concerned that loosening rules on telephone calls will make relatively quiet passenger flights into loud, obnoxious journeys.