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Old 09-25-2013, 03:36 PM   #31
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In some situations *cough9/11cough* it's useful for the passengers to be able to phone out...

There may also be some technical reasons why they can't Faraday the cabin, but the thing that sticks out in my (non-plane-designing) mind is that in hostage/terrorist scenarios, outside contact can save lives.

(Note: I absolutely don't intend to derail into a discussion of 9/11; I'm just trotting out a possible reason why they're maintained phone capability in cabins...)
As a scientist who is the wife of an air transport pilot, I think it would be very challenging to Faraday cage the cabin. All sorts of electric circuitry runs between the cockpit and the rest of the plane, including switches that control all the plane's hydraulics (which operate control surfaces like slats, flaps, and elevators, plus landing gear), circuits that control deicing and the APU, connections to antennae on various parts of the fuselage, and all kinds of sensors (gear position, door locks, pitot tubes, icing, etc.). Then there's the plane's internal communications system, linking the cockpit -- which would have to be outside the cage to allow pilots to talk to anyone not on the plane -- with the rest of the aircraft. In short, this is not a viable fix to the potential issue of stray EMF interfering with essential aircraft operating systems.

That said, I doubt my Kindle (wifi off) emits more energy than a wristwatch, hearing aid or pacemaker. A cell phone blasting away on 4G, wifi and Bluetooth frequencies in an automated effort to connect with the mothership may be another matter. Because aircraft systems vary widely, with lots of retrofitting, no one really knows which kinds of devices, in which cabin locations, might cause problems. Hence the application of the precautionary principle.
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:41 AM   #32
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Hmmm, last I checked airplanes fly by cell towers(higher RF output than your phone), Terrestrial TV stations/Transmitters, etc. all the time. I mean there is a whole entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation out there and last time I checked airplanes fly pretty low when landing/taking off through metro areas full of radio energy of all sorts. It seems that if they were at all prone to difficulties microwave energy from RADAR would prevent takeoff and have 'em dropping like flies on the way in. (Yeah, I know, but that's a whole different frequency range... UH, huh, at much higher power levels and there are wicked harmonics above and below.)

I think most of the crazy was simply because no one could(or would?) conclusively test all items on all aircraft, and systems are constantly being retrofitted and "improved", so why take a chance...

In all fairness, the FCC doesn't clear every device -some come in grey market(tablets/PC/gadgets), so the potential for interference in guidance systems and beacons for IFR is there, but honestly I'd be more worried at flying in a plane built by a company that couldn't figure out which systems are most prone to noise and shield them at least as they run through the air body. I'm sure there are other systems on a plane that might be likely to produce as much or more noise than a small battery powered device that isn't necessarily directly coupled into the plane's power systems. Plus I think the power systems they allow passengers to access are totally separate from avionics and command/control systems... or you wouldn't get near an "outlet" without some sort of certification for your devices -probably not even then.

My guess is that doubt coupled with no desire to spend money on testing, or to be wrong, with a little "we're in charge" thrown in might have gone a very long way in the past. Toss in a little greed, "you can use our airphone for $7 a minute. Please avail yourself of our back of seat gaming/entertainment system.", and it's not hard to see how some things might be the way they are. Let's be honest, once you're on a plane you're a hostage even if the flight isn't taken over. You'll eat our food -when we let you, drink our beverages -when we let you, stay in your seat, and only use the can -when we let you... They're the cruise ship disasters of the air, or more likely the runway or taxiway in many cases. People have sat onboard for hours without food, drink , or sanitation. Once the Cabbies figure out a way to pull this we're all doomed!

Last edited by TechniSol; 09-26-2013 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:54 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutraa View Post
As a scientist who is the wife of an air transport pilot, I think it would be very challenging to Faraday cage the cabin. All sorts of electric circuitry runs between the cockpit and the rest of the plane, including switches that control all the plane's hydraulics (which operate control surfaces like slats, flaps, and elevators, plus landing gear), circuits that control deicing and the APU, connections to antennae on various parts of the fuselage, and all kinds of sensors (gear position, door locks, pitot tubes, icing, etc.). Then there's the plane's internal communications system, linking the cockpit -- which would have to be outside the cage to allow pilots to talk to anyone not on the plane -- with the rest of the aircraft. In short, this is not a viable fix to the potential issue of stray EMF interfering with essential aircraft operating systems.
I was referring to Faraday-ing the passenger compartment, instead of the cockpit. Guess I wasn't quite clear enough.
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:40 PM   #34
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I was referring to Faraday-ing the passenger compartment, instead of the cockpit. Guess I wasn't quite clear enough.
I understood what you said. I was trying to explain how jet aircraft are laid out. The "passenger compartment" is not the discrete place you seem to think it is. As I said in my post, there are electrical links between the cockpit and cabins -- that's how you hear the pilots' announcements and that's how the pilots turn the seat belt signs on and off. And you obviously can't Faraday the cockpit. Wires and hydraulics run through the sides, ceiling, and floor of the cabins. There are sensors in the main doors and emergency overwing doors that have to be readable in the cockpit. There are fire sensors all over the plane, too -- inflight fire is very dangerous. The pilots need to be able to monitor places like the lavs and galleys for it. The plane's electric power supply runs off an engine bleed air turbine while the engines are running, off the APU when they are not, and that power has to be distributed throughout the plane, including to locations like the galleys, your reading light and the lav flush vacuum pumps. Any flow of electricity creates an electromagnetic field that can interact with other fields from devices, magnets, etc.

You might be able to design individual Faraday cages that could be worn in your seat but you can't isolate the passenger cabins from the rest of the aircraft's electrical supply and electronic sensor equipment.

As for the fact that planes fly past radars etc., yeah, but not that close (EMF decreases as a function of the square of the distance from the source). Planes are designed to use radar but transmissions are shielded from other components -- same with radio transmissions. Plane engineers design systems to avoid interference with one another, but they don't have crystal balls to know where pax may sit with an ever increasing number of electronic devices with bigger and bigger capacity batteries emitting stronger and stronger signals.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:06 PM   #35
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I guess what resonated with me was that the process of submitting control to responsible parties in this kind of situation could quite easily be about safety regardless of what individual items that entails.
Indeed.

It might take quite a few flight attendants to check each and every device to see if it was approved and actually in airplane mode. Might make flying a bit more expensive and flights a bit longer. I'd rather just keep it off till takeoff, than have to keep it off while every device was checked as it could take a bit longer in many cases.

But no one has checked any of my devices to see if they are in airplane mode before boarding. One of my android devices can still receive and transmit while appearing to be off.

Still if they want it off, I keep it off. Only polite if for no other reason . Their airplane, their rules.

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Old 09-27-2013, 05:12 PM   #36
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Hmmm, last I checked airplanes fly by cell towers(higher RF output than your phone), Terrestrial TV stations/Transmitters, etc. all the time. I mean there is a whole entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation out there and last time I checked airplanes fly pretty low when landing/taking off through metro areas full of radio energy of all sorts. It seems that if they were at all prone to difficulties microwave energy from RADAR would prevent takeoff and have 'em dropping like flies on the way in. (Yeah, I know, but that's a whole different frequency range... UH, huh, at much higher power levels and there are wicked harmonics above and below.)

I think most of the crazy was simply because no one could(or would?) conclusively test all items on all aircraft, and systems are constantly being retrofitted and "improved", so why take a chance...

In all fairness, the FCC doesn't clear every device -some come in grey market(tablets/PC/gadgets), so the potential for interference in guidance systems and beacons for IFR is there, but honestly I'd be more worried at flying in a plane built by a company that couldn't figure out which systems are most prone to noise and shield them at least as they run through the air body. I'm sure there are other systems on a plane that might be likely to produce as much or more noise than a small battery powered device that isn't necessarily directly coupled into the plane's power systems. Plus I think the power systems they allow passengers to access are totally separate from avionics and command/control systems... or you wouldn't get near an "outlet" without some sort of certification for your devices -probably not even then.

My guess is that doubt coupled with no desire to spend money on testing, or to be wrong, with a little "we're in charge" thrown in might have gone a very long way in the past. Toss in a little greed, "you can use our airphone for $7 a minute. Please avail yourself of our back of seat gaming/entertainment system.", and it's not hard to see how some things might be the way they are. Let's be honest, once you're on a plane you're a hostage even if the flight isn't taken over. You'll eat our food -when we let you, drink our beverages -when we let you, stay in your seat, and only use the can -when we let you... They're the cruise ship disasters of the air, or more likely the runway or taxiway in many cases. People have sat onboard for hours without food, drink , or sanitation. Once the Cabbies figure out a way to pull this we're all doomed!
What kind of airlines do you fly on anyway? I've flown some rinky dink airlines where the pilot thought he was a cowboy and expected you to operate part of the controls and hand feed him snacks on demand, but nothing like you describe.

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Old 09-27-2013, 06:15 PM   #37
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FAA reportedly okays use of electronics on planes during takeoff and landing

http://www.slashgear.com/faa-reporte...ding-27299372/
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:31 PM   #38
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I was just on a plane Sat. and they said anything with an on and off switch needed to be turned off and put away.

I'll be glad when this happens. I've been told to put my reader away a few times in the past. I have a Sony reader so no wifi. I fly at least once a year to see family.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:22 AM   #39
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I was just on a plane Sat. and they said anything with an on and off switch needed to be turned off and put away.

I'll be glad when this happens. I've been told to put my reader away a few times in the past. I have a Sony reader so no wifi. I fly at least once a year to see family.
You must have an older Sony reader, because the 950, T1, and T2 all have WiFi, but the WiFi on my T1, even when on, stays in a deep sleep mode where it turns completely off unless I request a network connection. Sort of an automatic airplane mode. Yes, that is definitely a disadvantage of a reader over a physical book. And as others have pointed out, the distraction thing is not an issue because I see plenty of people reading a paper book, newspaper, playing Sudoku/crosswords, etc. instead of listening to the safety briefing. I fly two to three times a year now.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:03 AM   #40
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You must have an older Sony reader, because the 950, T1, and T2 all have WiFi, but the WiFi on my T1, even when on, stays in a deep sleep mode where it turns completely off unless I request a network connection. Sort of an automatic airplane mode. Yes, that is definitely a disadvantage of a reader over a physical book. And as others have pointed out, the distraction thing is not an issue because I see plenty of people reading a paper book, newspaper, playing Sudoku/crosswords, etc. instead of listening to the safety briefing. I fly two to three times a year now.
The 350 so yes a little old.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:23 AM   #41
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The 350 so yes a little old.
I had the 600 before my current T1 and never thought it made sense to have to turn it off. I always left it in sleep mode, anyway.
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