North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Operations: where are you going to sit?

  • From: Jerry Scharf
  • Date: Wed Dec 06 20:35:12 2000

> I think this is based on the same decision process that lead to the
> ban on cellphones in most commercial airplanes -- some unsustantiated
> anecdotes, no testing, and extremely risk-averse executives.  I'm not
> aware of any vendor of telecom hardware issuing an advisory that there
> are known cases of cellphones causing problems with the equipment.
> -- 
> Shields.

Actually, there's a general misunderstanding about his. The ban is not an FAA 
ban, and has nothing to do with the flight control systems. The rule is an FCC 
rule, and the concern in saturating sell site slots as a single phone could 
tie up slots on many more cells from 35000 ft with no abstructions.

I have read the Boeing reports on interference that is the basis of "no 
electronic equipment below 10000 ft." It documents a small (10s) set of 
problems (often with the autopilots) that were not reproducible by Boeing even 
when they had the unit in question and did every test imaginable. But the FAA 
says that the Pilot in Command can do anything they want, and rather than 
having the pilot have any choice the airlines put in blanket rules about 10000 
ft and below, which has been interpreted to be a critical area of a flight. 
The FAA regs say that all attempts to allow us of equipment whenever it does 
not have problems, but that is always subsumed by the pilot in command rules.