Researchers: Using mobile phones on planes can disrupt operations

Airlines need to do a better job of keeping passengers from using mobile phones and laptops during flight because interference caused by such gear could cause accidents, according to a new study.

Carnegie-Mellon University researcher Bill Strauss said in a statement that: "These devices can disrupt normal operation of key cockpit instruments, especially GPS receivers, which are increasingly vital for safe landings." The study by Strauss and others at Carnegie-Mellon's Department of Engineering and Public Policy is appearing in the IEEE Spectrum magazine this month.

The researchers traveled on commercial planes back and forth across the northeast United States, with support from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and three major airlines, to monitor radio emissions from electronic devices used by passengers. They used a portable spectrum analyzer and broadband antenna.

Among other things, they found that one to four cell phone calls are usually made during every flight, some while the plane is heading up or making its final approach.

The researchers recommend that the FAA and FCC coordinate on electronic emission standards and that airlines conduct routine monitoring of radio emissions via data recorders.

The FCC has said it would consider allowing wider use of cell phones on airplanes, an idea that has its share of detractors, both from a technical and quality of life standpoint.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Network World staff

Network World (US online)
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?