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: Subatomic microscopy key to building new classes of materials

Related Stories

Stretchy supercapacitors power wearable electronics

August 23, 2016

A future of soft robots that wash your dishes or smart T-shirts that power your cell phone may depend on the development of stretchy power sources. But traditional batteries are thick and rigid—not ideal properties for ...

"High-occupancy" vehicle (HOV) battery

August 17, 2016

In lithium-ion batteries, a singly charged lithium atom (or "ion") flows between two electrodes while one electron is contributed to the electrical current in the external circuit. If too many lithium ions are intercalated ...

Hacker posts personal info of House Democrats and staff

August 14, 2016

After receiving a deluge of obscene voicemails and text messages, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi informed her fellow Democrats on Saturday of "an electronic Watergate break-in" and warned them not to allow family members ...

Recommended for you

First stars formed even later than previously thought

August 31, 2016

ESA's Planck satellite has revealed that the first stars in the Universe started forming later than previous observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background indicated. This new analysis also shows that these stars were the ...

0 comments

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.