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Cell Phones in Airplanes

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Jason Crandall, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

    Mar 25, 2004
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    I flew from Atlanta to Destin the other day. I had a girl in the plane with me and her phone was working perfectly at 8000 feet. She's with Verizon.

    I'm with T-Mobile and mine doesn't work 1000 feet up.

    Does anyone know which phone service works best in the plane?
     
  2. planeflyr

    planeflyr Karting

    May 27, 2006
    174
    It is both against FAA and FCC regulations to use a cell phone in an aircraft in flight. This goes for GA part 91 aircraft as well.

    Planeflyr
     
  3. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

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    That's not what I asked.
     
  4. planeflyr

    planeflyr Karting

    May 27, 2006
    174
    I recognize that it is not the question you asked.

    The question itself, however is moot.

    Planeflyr
     
  5. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

    Mar 25, 2004
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    Let's see.....

    Headset manufacturers that sell headsets with cell phone attachments:

    Bose
    DC
    Lightspeed
    Telex

    Is there a company that doesn't?

    I guess I'm not the only one who thinks it a valid question.

    If you don't like the thread, you don't have to read it.
     
  6. imported_walawdog

    Sep 27, 2007
    14
    Check out this advisory circular:

    http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/72f58116704fc3d986256a71006ed5b0/$FILE/AC91-21-1A.pdf

    It seems to imply that for GA you can make calls during flight unless you are IFR.
     
  7. Der Meister

    Der Meister Formula Junior

    Aug 16, 2005
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    Like stated above the FAR in part 91 refers to IFR operations only, if your VFR you can do what ever you want. The reason behind it being in IFR is they don't want the electromagnetic waves to interfere with your instruments while flying IFR since they are your only reference.

    I have Verizon and I routinly get a signal at 12k+ feet
     
  8. planeflyr

    planeflyr Karting

    May 27, 2006
    174
    The following is from the office of Chief Counsel, Mr. John Yodice of AOPA.

    I trust his answer to be the definative explanation as I understand it. While NOT specifically cited in part 91 of the FARs it IS specifically cited in the FCC regulations.



    Pilot Counsel
    Cell phones and flying

    By John S. Yodice

    The use of cellular telephones in connection with private flying has become very popular. It is not at all unusual to see a pilot in or near an aircraft on the ground using a cell phone. The pilot could be checking weather with a flight service station, or even picking up a clearance, or closing a flight plan.

    Just recently, a cell phone was helpful to me. I was trying to depart VFR from EAA's AirVenture at the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport, planning to pick up my IFR clearance airborne. I had a lot of company. Traffic was heavy. I was locked in a queue of aircraft waiting to depart. It was about two hours past the proposed departure time on my IFR flight plan. I was concerned that the computer would eventually discard my flight plan. I could just imagine trying to explain that to a busy Chicago Center controller who couldn't find my flight plan. And, I wasn't about to give up my place in line. So, from my aircraft on the ground I called flight service. I extended my estimated departure time. What could have been a difficult situation was easily remedied using a cell phone.

    I wondered. What are the rules that govern the use of cell phones in such situations? I, like most pilots, had a general idea of what is allowable, but I didn't remember seeing anything definitive in the usual aviation literature available to general aviation pilots. I was aware that airlines have specific requirements. But there was nothing specific in the Federal Aviation Regulations or the Aeronautical Information Manual related to general aviation use.

    It turns out that it is more the rules of the Federal Communications Commission than the FAA that apply—though, as we will see, there is one FAR that has some application.

    The FCC rules clearly prohibit the airborne use of cell phones, though they permit the on-ground use of such phones. The prohibition came about because of the FCC's concern that airborne use could cause serious interference problems. The same frequency may be used several times among different cells. This frequency reuse is a key technical feature of the cellular radio service. A cellular phone in an airborne aircraft has greatly increased transmitting range. It could cause interference to transmissions at other cell locations within the system, and to cellular systems in other markets. On the other hand, cellular phones used in aircraft on the ground have the same transmitting range as other ground-based cellular phones and so don't create a long-range interference risk.

    Specifically, FCC Rule 22.925 states, "Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons, or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne (not touching the ground). When any aircraft leaves the ground, all cellular telephones on board that aircraft must be turned off."

    Notice that the rule requires that the phone be "turned off." Even if no calls are made from a phone while airborne, incoming telephone calls could cause a unit to transmit automatically, creating the possibility of the same interference as if a call originated in the airborne aircraft.

    The FAA as well as the FCC has interference concerns about the use of cellular telephones. The FAA's concern is a little different. Cell phones might, under certain circumstances, cause interference with aircraft systems. (It is interesting that originally the FAA, in a letter to the FCC, objected to the use of cellular telephones in aircraft even when on the ground. Fortunately, the FAA later reassessed its position and withdrew its objection to ground use.)

    The FAA's concern is a general one dealing with the use of any portable electronic device on board an aircraft. It is embodied in a rule with which all instrument pilots should be familiar. FAR 91.21 prohibits the operation of portable electronic devices in an aircraft while the aircraft is being operated under IFR. A cell phone is such an electronic device. There are specific exceptions to the rule. For example, this prohibition does not apply to portable voice recorders, hearing aids, heart pacemakers, and electric shavers. Then there is an overall exception for portable electronic devices that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft. Cell phones, while technically covered by the rule, are not specifically mentioned in the rule.

    While instrument pilots need to be familiar with FAR 91.21, it is academic as far as cell phone use is concerned because of the FCC rule. The FCC rule prohibits cell phone use in flight, and the use from an aircraft on the ground is not likely to cause interference with navigation or communication, at least not disastrously, and no more so than any other cell phone on the ground. Without getting into a hypertechnical discussion of what constitutes the "operation" of an aircraft for purposes of FAR 91.21, I haven't heard of cell phones interfering with communications between an aircraft and ground control, or with tower communications, or even VOR checks.

    What about the installation of cellular mobile telephones aboard aircraft? As you can see from the quote above, the FCC rules allow it, but with the restriction against airborne use. There must be a notice posted near the telephone installation stating that: "The use of cellular telephones while this aircraft is airborne is prohibited by FCC rules, and the violation of this rule could result in suspension of service and/or a fine. The use of cellular telephones while this aircraft is on the ground is subject to FAA regulations." The FCC has enforcement powers, and a cellular carrier could either refuse or terminate service to a subscriber for using a cellular telephone in an airborne aircraft.

    An alternative for pilots are AirCell telephones. AirCell has patented technology that allows its airborne cellular phones to connect to dedicated sites around the country that do not interfere with ground sites.

    So, bottom line, it is legal to use a conventional cell phone on the ground in connection with your flying. Not so when airborne. Cellular phones on board aircraft, including portable installed units, must be turned off at the latest as soon the aircraft leaves the ground.

    Planeflyr
     
  9. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

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    Thank you!!!!!!

    I'm switching to Verizon today!!!
     
  10. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

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    #10 Jason Crandall, Jan 15, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    You forgot to attach your picture to your last post.
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  11. Skyraider

    Skyraider Formula Junior

    Nov 4, 2005
    620
    Hmmmm....
    You usually ask a question and then post sarcastically when you don't like the Reg's??

    Not the way to make friends and influence people, around here.

    Charlie

    Who, by the way did fill out his profile.
     
  12. rfking

    rfking Formula Junior

    Nov 16, 2003
    785
    Italy
    My, how things change over time. Rob - I wish you had been around in the old days. You would have appreciated the professionalism that used to be pervasive among aviators from private pilots on up.
     
  13. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

    Mar 25, 2004
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    Is that the reg? There seems to be some question. Maybe you should re-read the thread.
     
  14. planeflyr

    planeflyr Karting

    May 27, 2006
    174
    Yes. That's the Reg.

    Specifically, FCC Rule 22.925 states, "Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons, or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne (not touching the ground). When any aircraft leaves the ground, all cellular telephones on board that aircraft must be turned off."

    However, I must recognize that the initiator of this thread properly asked the question "Does anyone know which phone service works best in the plane?"

    In that regard I would imagine that if the question were "Does anyone know which gun works best to rob a bank with, a .45 or a .44 mag" and someone had better success with the .44 mag it would be silly to identify any statutes which prohibit the robbing of banks as that was not the question. The proper response upon learning of ones better results with a .44 mag would be "I'm switching to a .44 mag today!!!"

    Planeflyr
     
  15. planeflyr

    planeflyr Karting

    May 27, 2006
    174
    That one was for you, Charlie ;)

    Planeflyr
     
  16. boffin218

    boffin218 Formula Junior

    Oct 8, 2005
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    But then we'd be complicating the thread further by trying to answer the question "How can I pay for my flying?"
     
  17. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

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    So using your cell phone while flying is the equivalent to you of robbing a bank?

    Have you ever exceeded the speed limit?
    Have you ever driven your car after drinking a beer?
    Ever cut a tag off a mattress?

    If not, you're a better man than I am.
     
  18. Der Meister

    Der Meister Formula Junior

    Aug 16, 2005
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    the tag off a mattress refers to the seller not the buyer you can do what ever you want with the thing once you buy it. just for your information. but Yes i do believe that some took it to the extreme; when a simple answer of i don't use my cell in the plane or what i said would have sufficed.
     
  19. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

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    Thank god. I was afraid the Federal Mattress folks were gonna come get me.
     
  20. Skyraider

    Skyraider Formula Junior

    Nov 4, 2005
    620
    a bit late in replying, but.....

    Yep, that's the Reg. Don't have to reread it.
    I passed all of my reading comprehension tests.


    Charlie
     
  21. Skyraider

    Skyraider Formula Junior

    Nov 4, 2005
    620



    Speaking of reading comprehension,

    It was never implied that it was the equivalent of anything. It was the comparative of language usage, that was the point of the example.


    Charlie
     
  22. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

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    I'm not the one saying it isn't the reg.

    I'm the one calling you "Brainy Smurf".

    Did you read the thread?
     
  23. Jason Crandall

    Jason Crandall F1 Veteran

    Mar 25, 2004
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    cop out.
     
  24. planeflyr

    planeflyr Karting

    May 27, 2006
    174
    From Wikipedia:

    Brainy Smurf fancies himself as the all-around brain of the village and an expert on everything, although he is usually wrong. He sometimes thinks that because he is (supposedly) smarter than anyone else, that makes him second-in-command behind Papa Smurf and can do things better than the other Smurfs.

    Well, I've had about enough of this. It is very reminiscent of an ongoing thread by Mr. ....little.

    I hereby lower my colors and offer my sword in surrender.

    Or should that be a sabre?

    I wonder... Does anyone know which works best to dispach a troublesome passenger in an airplane, a sword or a sabre? What's that? A sabre I hear? I'm switching to a sabre today!!!


    The prisoner surrendered. The court will disregard the previous statement of the convicted.

    Planeflyr
     
  25. Skyraider

    Skyraider Formula Junior

    Nov 4, 2005
    620

    Dear Corey , Er... Planeflyr
    Nah don't do that.... you'll confuse him more...he won't know who he's conversing with...

    Oh Wait! He's confused about that now!

    Maybe with the two of us in the same post he can figure it out...

    to help.... maybe I'll use pictures too.
    But then again, ....maybe not.


    As for the little blue guy...
    In "Professional" circles that's called "projection" ;)

    Charlie

    (if he hasn't deduced it yet; We (you and I ) are on diametrically opposed shores of the same continent)
     

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