[RFI] RFI Digest, Vol 39, Issue 3

Martin, AA6E martin.ewing at gmail.com
Tue Mar 7 22:20:26 EST 2006

The *probability* of causing an accident with your cell phone must be
very low.  And probably the stars have to be aligned just so (using
certain comm freqs, nav aids, etc. in the cockpit, with marginal wx
and so on).   So maybe it will only happen once in a million times. 
That's not useful for the bad guys, but it may be enough reason to
prohibit cell phones.    Your seat-mate wants to call the office: What
odds of a crash would you say are acceptable?

Even if you accept 1 in a million for yourself, how do you feel that
that might be 8 downed planes every year? (8.4 M flights in 2003,

73 Martin AA6E

On 3/3/06, Tom Cox <tomcox at iquest.net> wrote:
> This was my comment on this topic opn another list, where there is also lots of interesting discussion:
> I certainly don't want to put any flight I'm on in jeopardy by using a
> cell phone. However, I have to wonder how avionics, aircraft control
> systems, stepper motors, hydraulic pump motors, servos, fluorescent
> lighting systems, and probably dozens, if not hundreds of switching
> power supplies can be stuffed into an airframe,  and operate without
> hopelessly swamping each other with so much noise that nothing works --
> unless they're designed from the inside out to work in that sea of noise.
> If avionics are designed to work in that RF environment, how much impact
> can a cell phone really have? I admit there is no case to be made for a
> conventional cell phone working at 45,000 feet and 450 MPH, any more
> than you can expect a UHF handheld radio to maintain a useful
> communication circuit when it's bringing up a dozen repeaters over
> four or five states. But, really, if commercial avionics are so
> fragile thay can't survive the noise from a cell phone in the passenger
> compartment, something tells me they have design defects that need to be
> fixed before all commercial aircraft come plunging out of the sky.
> As some others have said, I'd like to see the objective, replicable
> study that demonstrates such failures, and then, I'd like to see that
> vulnerability fixed. Otherwise, we have an opportunity for terrorism
> that doesn't involve even a trace of explosive. Why wear exploding
> shoes, when you can just flip open your cell phone?
> Tom, KT9OM
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martin.ewing at gmail.com

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