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(Chicago Trib)   Head of the FCC is, like most sensible people, opposed to cell phone use on airplanes   (chicagotribune.com) divider line 116
    More: Followup, cell phones, airplanes, voice calls  
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2253 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Nov 2013 at 2:15 PM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-23 10:48:18 PM

vudukungfu: cell phone user = asshole in my book
I actually carry  a book.



A book with an asshole in it?

/strange book
 
2013-11-23 10:49:35 PM

italie: You may be cool with flying by the seat of your pants, but the FAA has other beliefs on the matter.


On the contrary, for well over a decade the FAA have been under unrelenting pressure to drop their absurd prohibitions against consumer electronics in flight, and only begrudgingly edging forward. NONE of which can be traced to any technologically defensible safety concerns. And moreover, won't be...since aircrew have been free to use them since the late 90's.

And now? They've thrown in the towel for everything except cell phone use in flight...and why? Because they know that cell phone use if not a safety threat beyond the entirely understandable desire to throttle the douchebag next to you who's yelling into his plastic prosthesis.

So give it up. If there were technological reasons to prohibit electronics use in flight, the FAA would stick to their guns. But they aren't, so we know there aren't any reasons beyond "Because we say so."
 
2013-11-23 11:11:39 PM

Stone Meadow: italie: You may be cool with flying by the seat of your pants, but the FAA has other beliefs on the matter.

On the contrary, for well over a decade the FAA have been under unrelenting pressure to drop their absurd prohibitions against consumer electronics in flight, and only begrudgingly edging forward. NONE of which can be traced to any technologically defensible safety concerns. And moreover, won't be...since aircrew have been free to use them since the late 90's.

And now? They've thrown in the towel for everything except cell phone use in flight...and why? Because they know that cell phone use if not a safety threat beyond the entirely understandable desire to throttle the douchebag next to you who's yelling into his plastic prosthesis.

So give it up. If there were technological reasons to prohibit electronics use in flight, the FAA would stick to their guns. But they aren't, so we know there aren't any reasons beyond "Because we say so."


It's more a case of cell phones won't work above a few thousand feet without additional equipment on the planes that didn't exist when the rule was made. Now there are enough people annoyed by cellphone users that it may keep the rules around for a while.

I don't talk on my phone in public unless I have to and then I try not
to talk too loud. I'm not an asshole though.
 
2013-11-23 11:22:36 PM

James10952001: I don't talk on my phone in public unless I have to and then I try not
to talk too loud. I'm not an asshole though.


I understand...and was referring (by implication) to the fear we all share of those inconsiderates who WILL talk too loudly and too long in flight.
 
2013-11-23 11:37:25 PM

Stone Meadow: James10952001: I don't talk on my phone in public unless I have to and then I try not
to talk too loud. I'm not an asshole though.

I understand...and was referring (by implication) to the fear we all share of those inconsiderates who WILL talk too loudly and too long in flight.


Yeah that's the problem. Most folks are fine but there's always *that* guy (or girl) who thinks the universe revolves around them.
 
2013-11-24 12:27:09 AM

Stone Meadow: italie: You may be cool with flying by the seat of your pants, but the FAA has other beliefs on the matter.

On the contrary, for well over a decade the FAA have been under unrelenting pressure to drop their absurd prohibitions against consumer electronics in flight, and only begrudgingly edging forward. NONE of which can be traced to any technologically defensible safety concerns. And moreover, won't be...since aircrew have been free to use them since the late 90's.

And now? They've thrown in the towel for everything except cell phone use in flight...and why? Because they know that cell phone use if not a safety threat beyond the entirely understandable desire to throttle the douchebag next to you who's yelling into his plastic prosthesis.

So give it up. If there were technological reasons to prohibit electronics use in flight, the FAA would stick to their guns. But they aren't, so we know there aren't any reasons beyond "Because we say so."


Are you purposefully ignoring facts ~you~ are presenting when arguing, or just trolling? There WAS a valid reason for banning cell phone use. A documented and non-containable risk. I would call "Malfunctioning instruments" a safety concern. A minute concern, but a valid reason none the less. (Being a pilot, you should recognize the merit in not farking with fate at 30K feet, no matter the odds.)

As I stated before, the issue has never really been all PEDs. It's PEDs with transmitters in them, especially ones at certain frequencies, and with power potential at or above 500mW. Asking your average flight attendant to tell the difference between a device with or without a 500mW transmitter in it is not a feasible request. The only way around that is to shut them all down. The individual airlines would never agree to a full out PED ban, so shutting them all down during crucial flight time was a fair, and proper call. Even if you had non-compliance, you would at least be able to easily identify those with a phone to their ear in an active conversation.

Now, since the introduction of a ban during takeoff/landing, things have changed. Spectrum has been re-aligned. Cockpits have been refreshed, newer instrumentation put in that was designed with the current implementation of a cell phone in mind. Your instrumentation is more immune. What most people don't understand about signal conditioning though is that discriminating a wanted bandwidth from an unwanted one isn't easy. You have an antenna whose job it is to promote the acceptance of most all radio waves. Then the instrument must filter out the unwanted. It's not as though you can just say "Only include frequency 900.23456KHz", especially if in an analog domain. Filtering out the garbage is incredibly hard work, and there are always precision limits and trade offs. That filtering has improved a bit, leading to more noise immune systems.Shield the device all you want, that isn't the issue.

Cellphones have a history of being feisty little buggers when it comes to transmit power, and the reason the FAA (and FCC) was holding strong. As battery life becomes more of a concern cell manufactures are trying to us less and less transmit power. When cell phones first came out, it wasn't uncommon to see output of 2W from a phone. 2W was a problem as it had the potential to be seen by some cockpit instruments as stronger than the signal you were trying to pickup. (ex: FAF is on a 3W carrier, and would be seen as much less by the time the signal propagated to the plane. It's not the only one either.) These days the transmit power is variable in use, but much more centered under 300mW. 300mW isn't going to be much of an issue under most conditions.

Bottom line is there is no farking conspiracy. There was a discernible risk with cellphones. It's getting better, it's more thoroughly tested, instruments are better protected. These are the reasons that the FAA is loosening the reigns a bit.
 
2013-11-24 07:44:47 AM

italie: The FAA can now reasonably say "Your ipad will not cause a fiery death".


if your iPad was ever thought potentially able to cause a firey death, you'd have been allowed to bring it on board just as much as you'd have been allowed to bring dynamite.

Stone Meadow: There are so many generators, high- and low-frequency alternating and direct current devices on airliners that the leakage of UL-listed consumer electronics is simply a non-issue from any kind of safety-of-flight perspective.


Which is why aircraft are designed with shielded electronics.

Stone Meadow: And now? They've thrown in the towel for everything except cell phone use in flight...and why?


To be fair, the mobile phone prohibition is the FCC's prohibition. The FAA enforces it within their realm.

italie: Bottom line is there is no farking conspiracy. There was a discernible risk with cellphones. It's getting better, it's more thoroughly tested, instruments are better protected. These are the reasons that the FAA is loosening the reigns a bit.


The blatant lies about a personal DVD player that made a commercial airliner's GPS show an error or 30 degrees which were constantly being pushed in support of the electronics ban may not have been part of a conspiracy, but I'm sure you can see why people don't trust a government and an industry that has demonstrably lied to them repeatedly.
 
2013-11-24 10:00:34 AM

heili skrimsli: italie: The FAA can now reasonably say "Your ipad will not cause a fiery death".

if your iPad was ever thought potentially able to cause a firey death, you'd have been allowed to bring it on board just as much as you'd have been allowed to bring dynamite.


Over-simplified statement to make the point understandable to the general public, a little like making you turn off all PEDs instead of just "devices with transmitters". I guess I didn't simplify it enough.

italie: Bottom line is there is no farking conspiracy. There was a discernible risk with cellphones. It's getting better, it's more thoroughly tested, instruments are better protected. These are the reasons that the FAA is loosening the reigns a bit.

The blatant lies about a personal DVD player that made a commercial airliner's GPS show an error or 30 degrees which were constantly being pushed in support of the electronics ban may not have been part of a conspiracy, but I'm sure you can see why people don't trust a government and an industry that has demonstrably lied to them repeatedly.


I've seen those in the NTRS reports, but never presented in a "DVD PLAYER BAD" manner by any investigative agency. I have always been under the belief that those cases were related to a device fault (burst capacitor acting as a crude radiator, etc), improper identification of what the device was, or the device having been modified post-purchase by the user. If you've ever seen a spectrum output of a power supply in certain common failure modes, you'd bee leaning toward option #1.

Chalk that one up to the media reading a report and running with their Swiss-cheese understanding of the situation. The FAA/FCC/etc probably had little to do with it.
 
2013-11-24 10:16:22 AM

italie: I've seen those in the NTRS reports,


Given that GPS is a digital signal, interference that damaged the signal would mean that the GPS would not function.

There's no damn way to interfere with that signal and just cause a '30 degree error in course' in the way that it has been described.
 
2013-11-24 10:42:13 AM

heili skrimsli: italie: I've seen those in the NTRS reports,

Given that GPS is a digital signal, interference that damaged the signal would mean that the GPS would not function.

There's no damn way to interfere with that signal and just cause a '30 degree error in course' in the way that it has been described.


Unless you designed that system, there is no way you can make that statement. Doing so is just irresponsible. Digital signals are much less prone to certain types of interference, but by no means immune. (Adjacent band interference would be a prime example here.)


The only two documented DVD player interference incidents were in '99. The report I currently have is a little light on which incident belongs to which item within a year, assuming it was one of these two. Make of them what you will:

FLT mode annunciator displayed "HDG error" and "no Autoland'" messages; 30 degree split between left and C
right HDG systems using # 2 CADC; # 1 CADC agreed with standby compass;

VOR 30 degree needle difference between # I and # 2; DME and CDI Capt and FO agreed wilh GFMS and C T/O
# I VOR;
 
2013-11-24 03:54:48 PM

insano: "spmkk: Enemabag Jones: "Invent keychain sized cell phone jammers if this gets approved.

It would not have have to be huge, just look like a GM car remote and would only have to work in bursts.  Just like that keychain tv remote thing."


Yes, because your right to not be subjected to (gasp!) nearby conversation in a semi-public place supersedes someone else's right to stay connected with their work team or speak to their loved ones.

Speaking of things that are not rights."



Emphasis corrected.

Technically neither of the above are "rights". However, the ability to stay in touch with your family while in transit is a far more reasonable expectation than silence in public. (Yes, public - the fact that you've paid for your seat doesn't make the plane your own, and it CERTAINLY doesn't give you the right to cut someone else off from communicating with the outside world just because you don't feel like being bothered by the sound of their voice.)
 
2013-11-24 05:18:01 PM
ecx.images-amazon.com

Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith.

Page 159

/case closed
 
2013-11-24 08:47:53 PM

italie: Unless you designed that system, there is no way you can make that statement. Doing so is just irresponsible. Digital signals are much less prone to certain types of interference, but by no means immune. (Adjacent band interference would be a prime example here.)


I have more than enough expertise in digital electronics and wireless digital communication to be certain that the suggestion that this was caused by some portable DVD player is utter bullshiat.

When you break digital packets transmitted via any medium (including radio waves through air) you don't merely change the data inside the packet, you destroy the packet. There's no way that a portable DVD player receives valid GPS data packets, alters the data, reforms the packets, and then transmits them to a GPS receiver.

It's absurd to even suggest.
 
2013-11-24 09:42:20 PM

heili skrimsli: italie: Unless you designed that system, there is no way you can make that statement. Doing so is just irresponsible. Digital signals are much less prone to certain types of interference, but by no means immune. (Adjacent band interference would be a prime example here.)

I have more than enough expertise in digital electronics and wireless digital communication to be certain that the suggestion that this was caused by some portable DVD player is utter bullshiat.

When you break digital packets transmitted via any medium (including radio waves through air) you don't merely change the data inside the packet, you destroy the packet. There's no way that a portable DVD player receives valid GPS data packets, alters the data, reforms the packets, and then transmits them to a GPS receiver.

It's absurd to even suggest.



Packet mutilation was never a suggestion. You stated it yourself,   "Given that GPS is a digital signal, interference that damaged the signal would mean that the GPS would not function. " and on that note you would be correct. What you aren't applying (and it's a crucial exclusion) is that you have no knowledge as to how that system reacts to a partial or complete loss of signal. If those systems are reliant on multiple signals to operate properly, it's entirely possible that the gauge reverted to a baseline while in error, or calculated an improper result based upon a less than desirable number of inputs to the multilateration algorithm.  The annunciator reported a heading error, which tends to back that theory up a bit. But I don't know for sure either, because to the best of my knowledge I didn't design the gear on that plane (pieces of that gear,maybe).

As much as pilots know their plane, they aren't EE's. I
wouldn't expect them to report "The needle was 30 degrees off due to a loss of 2 satellite signals, leaving us with only 3 valid signals..." or something to that effect. I would expect the very text on the report, "...30 degree split between left and C right HDG systems using # 2 CADC; # 1 CADC agreed with standby compass; "

GPS, especially in aviation usage, necessitates 4 or more incoming signals to accurately determine position. GPS signals are by nature VERY weak when they reach the receiver. GPS antenna on that plane could have been anywhere, even right underneath the DVD player in question. All you need to kill a one signal is a stronger signal at a similar frequency. A failed switching power supply, or a ballast circuit for an LCD screen, could ~very~ easily turn into a crude and powerful enough radiator to obscure a weak GS signal (read: jammer) . All it would take is an open or leaky filter cap. With the cheap shait passing for electrolytics these days, that isn't a remote idea for a failure. (Scenarios like this are actually quite common, and were a forethought when the GPS specification was laid out.)


// I have no doubt the you have plenty of expertise in digital electronics and wireless digital communication.
/// What you seem to be lacking though, is expertise on the analog side.
 
2013-11-24 10:49:25 PM
A fricking switching power supply will spit out crap across the entire AM/MW band. Here's a picture of me after finding the culprit causing S9+ interference on some of my favorite ham bands:

googledrive.com

Granted, you're not going to find switching power supplies in the cabin. The point is, it's equipment that's faulty, operating outside of its designed parameters, that should be of concern, in my opinion, not cell phones/laptops operating within their designed parameters.
 
2013-11-24 11:10:20 PM

b0rscht: A fricking switching power supply will spit out crap across the entire AM/MW band. Here's a picture of me after finding the culprit causing S9+ interference on some of my favorite ham bands:

[googledrive.com image 800x600]

Granted, you're not going to find switching power supplies in the cabin. The point is, it's equipment that's faulty, operating outside of its designed parameters, that should be of concern, in my opinion, not cell phones/laptops operating within their designed parameters.


That is kind-of my overall point. How does a flight attendant determine which PEDs are operating within designed parameters? How do they determine what those designed parameters are? (Answer: They don't)

For how quickly cellphones/consumer electronics are stamped out these days, and how many farking transmitters are on the things, it's a wonder they don't cause more EM harm than they do.
 
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