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Re: Cellphones on air flight
To: CRTech <crtech@crtech.org>
Subject: Re: Cellphones on air flight
From: Sherrod Munday <smunday@ieee.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2017 17:50:28 -0500
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On Mar 10, 2017, at 16:42, John Ahern <john.ahern@comlab.com> wrote:
> It seems the pilot had been taking selfies. 

Well, that would certainly put cellphones at the cause of the accident... oh, wait a minute -- chalk that one up to Darwinian lack of intelligence instead.

Famous last words ...  "Hey, ya'll -- Watch this!"

Something to ponder, though: while cellular frequency transmission by a cellphone is still prohibited by federal law once the cabin door is closed until the plane lands, other federal law authorizes use of certain kinds of transmitters in aircraft while in flight.

I know one amateur radio operator (who also was a licensed pilot, BTW) who once asked the pilot of a commercial aircraft if he could operate his amateur radio onboard the airplane while in flight, and since the pilot was also a ham, he allowed it.  

That was perfectly legal, because if the pilot says that use of a handheld transmitter or receiver is acceptable, it is acceptable.

The current amateur Extra class license test question pool has the following question:
Q: If an amateur station is installed aboard a ship or aircraft, what condition must be met before the station is operated?
A: Its operation must be approved by the master of the ship or the pilot in command of the aircraft  
<End Quote>  (Courtesy of K8TB)

(Although one could quibble over whether a handheld radio qualifies as "installed"...)  

But I haven't forgotten the story I heard a couple of decades ago of a passenger's cell phone proven by the flight crew (through on-off-on-off switching) to be interfering with the navigation system of a commercial airliner.  These days, both cell phones and aircraft control systems are entirely different and much more advanced, so I defer to federal law in that frequency use issue.  

As Dave Allen said, it's not worth your (and everyone else's) life for the sake of convenience.  

(I would mention as an aside that I have received a call from someone using a VoIP soft phone on their computer while in flight and using the onboard in-flight WiFi system, so it *is* possible to make/take calls without paying an arm and a leg to use the in-flight phones (if you can even find them anymore).  But I digress...) 
Sherrod Munday

Follow-Ups: Re: Cellphones on air flight
(Michael Barnes <barnmichael@gmail.com>, 10 Mar 2017 23:22:33 -0000)
References: Re: Cellphones on air flight
(Willie Barnett <wbradiolists@gmail.com>, 10 Mar 2017 20:14:39 -0000)
Re: Cellphones on air flight
(John Ahern <john.ahern@comlab.com>, 10 Mar 2017 21:42:29 -0000)
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