Study: cell calls pose risk to aircraft

March 1, 2006

A Carnegie Mellon University study suggests the use of cellular telephones aboard aircraft might affect the plane's instruments, creating a safety hazard.

Researchers from the Pittsburgh university monitored transmissions onboard several flights in the Northeast and found the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices disrupt the operation of cockpit instruments.

Although the scientists say there's no known instance of an electronic device used by a passenger causing an accident, they said their data suggest use of devices such as cell phones "will, in all likelihood, someday cause an accident by interfering with critical cockpit instruments such as GPS receivers," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.

Verizon's Airfones, cell phones installed on airplanes more than a decade ago, operate at frequencies that do not interfere with other electronics.

Despite the current ban on cell phone use during flights, the Carnegie Mellon researchers discovered an average one to four cell phone calls are made from every commercial flight in the northeast United States -- some even during takeoff climbs or on final approaches.

The study is featured in an article in the March issue of IEEE Spectrum.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Porous structure of portabella mushrooms is key to making efficient batteries

Related Stories

A random access memory for storing living cells

September 15, 2015

Advances in circuits typically refer to breakthroughs in computers, cell phones, and other advanced electronic devices. However, a more general notion of circuits refers to any integrated system which can move objects along ...

Recommended for you

Horn of Africa drying ever faster as climate warms

October 9, 2015

The Horn of Africa has become increasingly arid in sync with the global and regional warming of the last century and at a rate unprecedented in the last 2,000 years, according to new research led by a University of Arizona ...

What are white holes?

October 9, 2015

Black holes are created when stars die catastrophically in a supernova. So what in the universe is a white hole?

Could 'The Day After Tomorrow' happen?

October 9, 2015

A researcher from the University of Southampton has produced a scientific study of the climate scenario featured in the disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow'.

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...

The universe's most miraculous molecule

October 9, 2015

It's the second most abundant substance in the universe. It dissolves more materials than any other solvent. It stores incredible amounts of energy. Life as we know it would not be possible without it. And although it covers ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.