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CELL PHONES USED DURING FLIGHTS – HOW DAMAGING ARE THEY?
Recent studies conducted by specialised researchers unveiled a worrying fact: cell phones are being commonly used during passenger flights in times this activity is banned. To put it more precise, one to four calls is being dialled in every flight and at least one passenger on average leaves hiss cell-phone turned on in periods he should not.
Still, the measurements are not precise and more advanced researches of this phenomenon need to be carried out in the future. The first study of this kind observed flights from September to November 2003, time during which it collected data from 50 hours of flight from 37 different flights. In fact, the observation couldn’t tell precisely what source the spurious emissions that may put the flight safety in peril had. It’s not only cell phones that represent a problem. In the last years, the use of Wi-Fi technology has also developed greatly and tools implying it are used at altitudes lower than 10,000 feet where they might pose threat.
In fact, the study traced activity that may originate from cell phones or other similar tools, which are not to be included in the normal emissions during a flight. This research was approved both by the FAA and the Transport Security Administration so it enjoys international recognition. A special device was used to record the radio frequency usage and was positioned in the overhead luggage rack.
Such activity like the one they measured can damage Global Positioning Systems, vital for airlines and not only. The GPS structures operate in the range between 1200 and 1600 MHz and are likely to be affected by the use of cell phones. According to documented reports from aviation archives at least one phone model from Samsung is responsible for a drop in GPS function.
In fact, say the research specialists, it’s not the use of various devices they’re trying to track down, but the out-of-band interferences, which is possible to control if properly detected.
A more significant research would be the close analysis of plane crashes to trace down how much of the guilt may be attributed to illegal use of unauthorised instruments. For this kind of activity, a more close cooperation between the FCC and the FAA is needed. Also, there should be a better incident reporting and a better measurement of all the activities on board during flights. It is preferable that flight crews be equipped with radio frequency monitors. There should also be a clear standard of RF use.
All in all, the danger posed by usage of devices in some times should be looked upon with greater seriousness, they should be considered a likely cause fore undesirable incidents and at each flight, passengers should be warned that shutting their instruments off when asked to may save their lives.
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