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Old 18th January 2022, 06:31 AM   #1
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US airlines warn of impending 5G flight disruption

The 10 biggest US airlines have warned that the impending switch-on of 5G mobile phone services will cause "major disruption" to flights.
They said the start of Verizon and AT&T 5G mobile phone services, planned for Wednesday, would cause a "completely avoidable economic calamity".

Airlines fear C-band 5G signals will disrupt planes' navigation systems, particularly those used in bad weather.
The warning was issued in a letter sent to US aviation authorities.
The chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines were joined by others in saying: "Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies", including vaccine distribution.

The BBC has seen the letter outlining their urgent concerns. It was sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as well as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the chair of the Federal Communications Commission and the director of the National Economic Council.

The BBC understands that negotiations are continuing at the highest levels of the US government about what has been described as a "very fluid situation".
The group of airlines said: "Airplane manufacturers have informed us that there are huge swathes of the operating fleet that may need to be indefinitely grounded.
"In addition to the chaos caused domestically, this lack of usable wide-body aircraft could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

In an update on Sunday, the FAA, which oversees aviation safety across the US, said it had cleared "an estimated 45% of the US commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at many of the airports where 5G C-band will be deployed".

The FAA added that it had approved "two radio altimeter models that are installed in a wide variety of Boeing and Airbus planes".
"Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected," the regulator said.
"The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems. Passengers should check with their airlines if weather is forecast at a destination where 5G interference is possible."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60036831
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:12 AM   #2
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I don't know anything about the science and technology of this, but for many years they've been concerned about electronic devices in general. It's why your mobile phone has an airplane mode.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2022/1/12...terference-faa

Quote:
Your 5G phone could soon start working like the amazingly fast 5G phone you heard about in TV commercials. On January 19, Verizon and AT&T plan to switch on new cellular frequencies that will boost connections for tens of millions of phones throughout the US. Once these airwaves are activated, you should be able to download a song to your phone in just a few seconds.

This is thanks to the addition of C-band frequency, which could not only improve speeds but also expand 5G coverage. This is welcome news for anyone who owns or plans to buy one of these devices, which will be more than 10 times faster than their 4G predecessors once 5G networks become fully operational. But this update hinges on a familiar yet unexpected critic of cellular technology: the Federal Aviation Administration.
. . .

But to make 5G a reality, wireless companies spent over $81 billion to buy the rights to use certain parts of the radio spectrum — specifically, the C-band frequencies between 3.7 and 3.98 GHz. Wireless providers use a range of frequencies to send data between cellphones and transmission stations, like phone towers, that connect those devices to the internet. Each band of frequencies comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Hmm, sounds like the wireless companies own the right to use these frequencies and paid a very large price to acquire that right. Telling them they now cannot use right would seem to imply that they should be compensated if they cannot.

Arguably, consumers who spent money to purchase a 5G phone would also be harmed if they cannot use their phone in 5G.
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I don't know anything about the science and technology of this, but for many years they've been concerned about electronic devices in general. It's why your mobile phone has an airplane mode.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2022/1/12...terference-faa



Hmm, sounds like the wireless companies own the right to use these frequencies and paid a very large price to acquire that right. Telling them they now cannot use right would seem to imply that they should be compensated if they cannot.

Arguably, consumers who spent money to purchase a 5G phone would also be harmed if they cannot use their phone in 5G.
Sure, they bought the use of the frequencies, but it's the harmonics that are generated outside the base frequncies which are of concern to radio altimeter users.
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Old 18th January 2022, 08:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Hmm, sounds like the wireless companies own the right to use these frequencies and paid a very large price to acquire that right. Telling them they now cannot use right would seem to imply that they should be compensated if they cannot.
It does seem to imply that. But I wouldn't be surprised if there's a *LOT* more to this story, all around.

It seems the crux of the matter is that airplane manufacturers and the FAA are going through the work of upgrading/testing planes and airports, but there's still a lot of work left to do. Meanwhile the wireless companies are eager to start playing with their new toy, and want to rush activation. Thus the letter from the airlines saying they're not ready yet.

The wireless companies have paid to secure rights to use these frequencies. But I bet that license came with at two caveats, of which they were well aware when they made the payment(s):

1. Assuming all the other kinks get worked out and the frequencies are deemed fit for purpose.

2. Licensing the frequencies did not bind the FAA, manufacturers, airlines, and airports to a specific timeline convenient to wireless company business plans.

Licensing these frequencies may have been more of a speculative investment than the article lets on.
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Old 18th January 2022, 03:54 PM   #5
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US mobile networks AT&T and Verizon have agreed to postpone the rollout of their new 5G service at some airports.

The C-band service, which offers faster speeds and broader coverage, was due to be turned on tomorrow.

But airlines in the US have pushed to delay the start, warning that the signals could interfere with aeroplane navigation systems.

The telecoms firms expressed frustration as they bowed to pressure to limit their rollout.

AT&T said it was "temporarily" deferring the rollout at a "limited number of towers around certain airport runways". Regulators had had "two years" to plan for the start of 5G service, it added.

"We are frustrated by the Federal Aviation Administration's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner," AT&T said in a statement.

"We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers."

Verizon also said it had "voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports".

This third postponement came as the White House and aviation authorities rushed to work out a solution to an issue that airlines have warned could cause major disruption, forcing them to ground some of their fleets and cancel flights.

In a statement, President Joe Biden thanked Verizon and AT&T for agreeing the delay, which he said would affect only about 10% of wireless tower locations.

"This agreement protects flight safety and allows aviation operations to continue without significant disruption and will bring more high-speed internet options to millions of Americans," he said, adding that officials would continue talks to find a "permanent, workable solution around these key airports".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60045077
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Old 18th January 2022, 04:13 PM   #6
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Two years doesn't seem like a long time to get comprehensive coverage across a country as large as the US. Especially if it's the two years just past.
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Old 18th January 2022, 05:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lplus View Post
Sure, they bought the use of the frequencies, but it's the harmonics that are generated outside the base frequncies which are of concern to radio altimeter users.
Indeed, and harmonics are RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) by the FCC definition, so it is the frequency user causing the harmonic interference who has the responsibility not to interfere and to take mitigating steps.

I used to be a Ham radio operator - My Yaesu FT200 used to wreak havoc on my neighbour's terrestrial TV (especially channels 1, 2 and 3) when I was working the 20 metre band. That was my responsibility, and I was pretty much limited to the 10 metre band working the Sporadic E skip into North and Central America in the mornings before breakfast until I could do something about it.Eventually, I designed and built an inline band-pass filter for my neighbour's TV antenna, and that fixed most of the problems.
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:16 PM   #8
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Flight Attendant: Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you turn off your cellular phone.

Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line ten months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. And you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Flight Attendant: Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you turn off your cellular phone.

Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line ten months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. And you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?
The Lockheed L-1011 ceased production in 1984

Radio Shack didn't start selling cellphones until 1987.... and they looked like this - "flight mode" on these suckers was the off switch! They didn't have sim cards. and 5G was out of the question... more like 5kG!



That's not so much a cellphone as it is an item of carry-on luggage!!
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The Lockheed L-1011 ceased production in 1984

Radio Shack didn't start selling cellphones until 1987.... and they looked like this - "flight mode" on these suckers was the off switch! They didn't have sim cards. and 5G was out of the question... more like 5kG!
I guess you didn't see the pilot episode of The West Wing. I assure you, those who did laughed.
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Flight Attendant: Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you turn off your cellular phone.

Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line ten months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. And you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?
If you think the FAA is wrong, why not just say so in plain language, with evidence?
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I guess you didn't see the pilot episode of The West Wing. I assure you, those who did laughed.
I've never seen any episode of the West Wing!
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Old 18th January 2022, 07:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If you think the FAA is wrong, why not just say so in plain language, with evidence?
Because I don't know whether the FAA is wrong or not, and though I am skeptical of the suggestion, I don't have any evidence. I was reminded of a funny line from a good TV show and I shared it, thinking that someone else might also find it funny. Guess I was wrong.

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I've never seen any episode of the West Wing!
You should. I'm dropping it now. Carry on.
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Old 18th January 2022, 08:04 PM   #14
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Sometimes part of being a good skeptic is knowing when you don't know enough to express an opinion on a particular topic. That's me here. I can make some observations about the overall situation, but not the technical issue as it relates to radar altimeters in particular.
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Old 19th January 2022, 08:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I don't know anything about the science and technology of this, but for many years they've been concerned about electronic devices in general. It's why your mobile phone has an airplane mode.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2022/1/12...terference-faa



Hmm, sounds like the wireless companies own the right to use these frequencies and paid a very large price to acquire that right. Telling them they now cannot use right would seem to imply that they should be compensated if they cannot.

Arguably, consumers who spent money to purchase a 5G phone would also be harmed if they cannot use their phone in 5G.
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Flight Attendant: Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you turn off your cellular phone.

Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line ten months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. And you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?
In this case they are not worried about the passenger's cell phones. They are worried about the signals from 5G antennas on the ground near the airports. Apparently the 5G antennas in Europe (at least those closer to airports) are engineered a bit differently to prevent this issue, but U.S. hardware was not built that way.
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Old 19th January 2022, 05:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
In this case they are not worried about the passenger's cell phones. They are worried about the signals from 5G antennas on the ground near the airports. Apparently the 5G antennas in Europe (at least those closer to airports) are engineered a bit differently to prevent this issue, but U.S. hardware was not built that way.
Indeed. In Europe, lower power levels are used for 5G towers near airports. They also restrict the placement of towers antennas near airfields and require that all antennas must be tilted downwards to limit potential interference with aircraft.

However, in the USA, power of 5G tower transmitters is double that used in Europe, and the antennas themselves are vertical allowing the sky radiated lobes to transmit upwards, potentially right into the flight path of landing aircraft using radar altimeters.
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Old 19th January 2022, 05:34 PM   #17
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This is beginning to sound like the cellular service providers have nobody but themselves to blame for this delay.
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Old 19th January 2022, 09:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Indeed. In Europe, lower power levels are used for 5G towers near airports. They also restrict the placement of towers antennas near airfields and require that all antennas must be tilted downwards to limit potential interference with aircraft.

However, in the USA, power of 5G tower transmitters is double that used in Europe, and the antennas themselves are vertical allowing the sky radiated lobes to transmit upwards, potentially right into the flight path of landing aircraft using radar altimeters.
A large factor in 5G is that dynamic, phased array beam forming can produce narrow but much more intense RF. And it automatically focuses on cell phones that are active. Very problematic if passengers are using them as many do in spite of being warned.
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Old 20th January 2022, 12:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by marting View Post
A large factor in 5G is that dynamic, phased array beam forming can produce narrow but much more intense RF. And it automatically focuses on cell phones that are active. Very problematic if passengers are using them as many do in spite of being warned.
Upon discovery the cell phone - with offending passenger attached - should be jettisoned from the aircraft. Preferably from high altitude.
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Old 20th January 2022, 12:20 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Upon discovery the cell phone - with offending passenger attached - should be jettisoned from the aircraft. Preferably from high altitude.
Because casual murder is the solution to all such problems.
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Old 20th January 2022, 12:31 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Because casual murder is the solution to all such problems.
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Old 20th January 2022, 03:10 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Upon discovery the cell phone - with offending passenger attached - should be jettisoned from the aircraft. Preferably from high altitude.
"Good day Mr Bond!"
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Old 20th January 2022, 04:27 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Indeed. In Europe, lower power levels are used for 5G towers near airports. They also restrict the placement of towers antennas near airfields and require that all antennas must be tilted downwards to limit potential interference with aircraft.
I've just read in the i that a number of airlines are canceling flights because of it. But as far as I can see, it's only flights on/of 777s, which "are thought to be particularly at risk of being affected".
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Old 20th January 2022, 04:34 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Because casual murder is the solution to all such problems.
OK, so just give them a parachute. A humane compromise.
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Old 20th January 2022, 08:45 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
OK, so just give them a parachute. A humane compromise.
Didn't seem to do DB Cooper a lot of good...
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Old 20th January 2022, 10:09 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by SteveAitch View Post
Didn't seem to do DB Cooper a lot of good...
Do you know something the rest of the world does not ?
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Old 20th January 2022, 10:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Upon discovery the cell phone - with offending passenger attached - should be jettisoned from the aircraft. Preferably from high altitude.
In all seriousness, I don't think it's too fair to passengers to come down harshly on them for wanting to use a cell phone in flight.

There's no clear direct linkage between cell phone usage and anything that might jeopardize the airplane. And everywhere one looks, one sees apparent exceptions to the rule.

You just know people are flouting this rule all the time, and yet there has not been a single crash attributed to cell phone use in flight. So I don't really blame the general public for suspecting the whole idea is just made-up crap by incompetent "authorities".
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Old 20th January 2022, 11:22 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
In this case they are not worried about the passenger's cell phones. They are worried about the signals from 5G antennas on the ground near the airports. Apparently the 5G antennas in Europe (at least those closer to airports) are engineered a bit differently to prevent this issue, but U.S. hardware was not built that way.
That is what I was wondering - how this seems to be only a problem in the USA. We have 5G in quite a few places around here - including near Heathrow and not heard or noticed any planes making an involuntary landing! And many places in the far-east are well ahead of European rollouts.
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Old 20th January 2022, 12:36 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
In all seriousness, I don't think it's too fair to passengers to come down harshly on them for wanting to use a cell phone in flight.

There's no clear direct linkage between cell phone usage and anything that might jeopardize the airplane. And everywhere one looks, one sees apparent exceptions to the rule.

You just know people are flouting this rule all the time, and yet there has not been a single crash attributed to cell phone use in flight. So I don't really blame the general public for suspecting the whole idea is just made-up crap by incompetent "authorities".

Ahem!

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/ae..._textonly.html
1995
A passenger laptop computer was reported to cause autopilot disconnects during cruise. Boeing purchased the computer from the passenger and performed a laboratory emission scan from 150 kHz to 1 GHz. The emissions exceeded the Boeing emission standard limits for airplane equipment at various frequency ranges up to 300 MHz. Boeing participated with the operator on two flight tests with the actual PED, using the same airplane and flight conditions, in an attempt to duplicate the problem. Using even these extensive measures to re-create the reported event, Boeing was unable to confirm the reported interference between the PED and the airplane system.

1996/1997
Over a period of eight months, Boeing received five reports on interference with various navigation equipment (uncommanded rolls, displays blanking, flight management computer [FMC]/ autopilot/standby altimeter inoperative, and autopilot disconnects) caused by passenger operation of a popular handheld electronic game device. In one of these cases, the flight crew confirmed the interference by turning the unit on and off to observe the correlation. The same unit was used on another flight and on a different airplane, but the event could not be duplicated. Boeing purchased two of the actual suspect units through the airline and tested them in the laboratory, along with three off-the-shelf units. It was determined that these suspect units had emission profiles similar to the off-the-shelf units and that the levels from these devices were below airplane equipment emission limits.

1998
A passenger's palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to "on course." When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop. Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, but contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model. Boeing laboratory emission testing revealed that the unit exceeded Boeing airplane equipment emission levels by up to 37 dB by demonstrating energy levels in the frequency range of 150 to 700 kHz. In the Boeing navigation laboratory the unit was placed next to the FMCs, control display unit, and integrated display unit, but the reported anomaly could not be duplicated.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-s...phone-5577574/
2003
The captain of a Boeing 737 airliner on an instrument approach to Baltimore-Washington International Airport reported that his course indicator, called a localizer, had been centered during the approach, then suddenly showed a full deflection. Just then the aircraft, flying on autopilot, broke out of the clouds—at an altitude of 2,500 feet and a full mile off course. The incident is described in NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (asrs.arc.nasa.gov), a service that allows people to anonymously report aviation problems.

The 737 pilot theorized that after announcing that the United States had started attacking Iraq (information he had received from air traffic control), one or more passengers had placed calls on their mobile phones. His suggestion for prevention: Never make an announcement to passengers that might encourage mobile phone use during a flight.
https://fox4kc.com/news/can-leaving-...-down-a-plane/
From 2003 to 2009, there were 75 instances of suspected electronic device interference, including 29 involving mobile phones, according to a study by the International Air Transport Association.

That is one event for every 283,300 flights - (it sounds tiny, but at the time of this report, it was three incidents every week).

Though rare, the reports suggest that such interference can affect almost every aircraft system, from communication and navigation systems to flight controls (such as autopilot) and warning systems.
.
.
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Old 20th January 2022, 12:38 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
That is what I was wondering - how this seems to be only a problem in the USA. We have 5G in quite a few places around here - including near Heathrow and not heard or noticed any planes making an involuntary landing! And many places in the far-east are well ahead of European rollouts.
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...7#post13707857
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Old 20th January 2022, 01:13 PM   #31
theprestige
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Ahem!

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/ae..._textonly.html
1995
A passenger laptop computer was reported to cause autopilot disconnects during cruise. Boeing purchased the computer from the passenger and performed a laboratory emission scan from 150 kHz to 1 GHz. The emissions exceeded the Boeing emission standard limits for airplane equipment at various frequency ranges up to 300 MHz. Boeing participated with the operator on two flight tests with the actual PED, using the same airplane and flight conditions, in an attempt to duplicate the problem. Using even these extensive measures to re-create the reported event, Boeing was unable to confirm the reported interference between the PED and the airplane system.

1996/1997
Over a period of eight months, Boeing received five reports on interference with various navigation equipment (uncommanded rolls, displays blanking, flight management computer [FMC]/ autopilot/standby altimeter inoperative, and autopilot disconnects) caused by passenger operation of a popular handheld electronic game device. In one of these cases, the flight crew confirmed the interference by turning the unit on and off to observe the correlation. The same unit was used on another flight and on a different airplane, but the event could not be duplicated. Boeing purchased two of the actual suspect units through the airline and tested them in the laboratory, along with three off-the-shelf units. It was determined that these suspect units had emission profiles similar to the off-the-shelf units and that the levels from these devices were below airplane equipment emission limits.

1998
A passenger's palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to "on course." When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop. Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, but contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model. Boeing laboratory emission testing revealed that the unit exceeded Boeing airplane equipment emission levels by up to 37 dB by demonstrating energy levels in the frequency range of 150 to 700 kHz. In the Boeing navigation laboratory the unit was placed next to the FMCs, control display unit, and integrated display unit, but the reported anomaly could not be duplicated.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-s...phone-5577574/
2003
The captain of a Boeing 737 airliner on an instrument approach to Baltimore-Washington International Airport reported that his course indicator, called a localizer, had been centered during the approach, then suddenly showed a full deflection. Just then the aircraft, flying on autopilot, broke out of the clouds—at an altitude of 2,500 feet and a full mile off course. The incident is described in NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (asrs.arc.nasa.gov), a service that allows people to anonymously report aviation problems.

The 737 pilot theorized that after announcing that the United States had started attacking Iraq (information he had received from air traffic control), one or more passengers had placed calls on their mobile phones. His suggestion for prevention: Never make an announcement to passengers that might encourage mobile phone use during a flight.
https://fox4kc.com/news/can-leaving-...-down-a-plane/
From 2003 to 2009, there were 75 instances of suspected electronic device interference, including 29 involving mobile phones, according to a study by the International Air Transport Association.

That is one event for every 283,300 flights - (it sounds tiny, but at the time of this report, it was three incidents every week).

Though rare, the reports suggest that such interference can affect almost every aircraft system, from communication and navigation systems to flight controls (such as autopilot) and warning systems.
.
.
I'm seeing a lot of "the claim could not be confirmed" on that list. Which is kind of my point. You can dig around and find stuff like this, but the general public isn't seeing it, and wouldn't take it seriously anyway, because of how inconclusive it is.

Human beings are human. There are limits to how much blind trust they're going to put in "authority", especially when it's an inconvenience to them.

I'm not saying the FAA is wrong, or that the issue is made up. I'm saying the blind trust to inconvenience ratio on this issue falls below a very human threshold for meek compliance. So while I think people are wrong to not comply, I have some sympathy for their perception that maybe it's BS. And therefore I would prefer to show them mercy and empathy rather than draconian justice.

Airborne defenestration is obviously hyperbolic, but the sentiment is clear: Humans are to be hated, not understood, for being human.
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Old 20th January 2022, 01:32 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm seeing a lot of "the claim could not be confirmed" on that list. Which is kind of my point. You can dig around and find stuff like this, but the general public isn't seeing it, and wouldn't take it seriously anyway, because of how inconclusive it is.

Human beings are human. There are limits to how much blind trust they're going to put in "authority", especially when it's an inconvenience to them.

I'm not saying the FAA is wrong, or that the issue is made up. I'm saying the blind trust to inconvenience ratio on this issue falls below a very human threshold for meek compliance. So while I think people are wrong to not comply, I have some sympathy for their perception that maybe it's BS. And therefore I would prefer to show them mercy and empathy rather than draconian justice.

Airborne defenestration is obviously hyperbolic, but the sentiment is clear: Humans are to be hated, not understood, for being human.
You're probably right, but the issue here isn't with passengers with cellphones, its the potential for interference caused by cellphone towers. That is a different issue entirely
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Old 20th January 2022, 01:41 PM   #33
theprestige
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
You're probably right, but the issue here isn't with passengers with cellphones, its the potential for interference caused by cellphone towers. That is a different issue entirely
Well yeah. I was responding specifically to the defenestration for phone users comment.

Anyway, regarding the main topic of the thread: I blame whoever greenlighted the US antenna design, and whoever invested in building out 5G networks using this antenna design. Assuming the antenna design is indeed the issue. I'm with the airlines on this one.
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Old 20th January 2022, 03:45 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Ahem!

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/ae..._textonly.html
1995
A passenger laptop computer was reported to cause autopilot disconnects during cruise. Boeing purchased the computer from the passenger and performed a laboratory emission scan from 150 kHz to 1 GHz. The emissions exceeded the Boeing emission standard limits for airplane equipment at various frequency ranges up to 300 MHz. Boeing participated with the operator on two flight tests with the actual PED, using the same airplane and flight conditions, in an attempt to duplicate the problem. Using even these extensive measures to re-create the reported event, Boeing was unable to confirm the reported interference between the PED and the airplane system.

1996/1997
Over a period of eight months, Boeing received five reports on interference with various navigation equipment (uncommanded rolls, displays blanking, flight management computer [FMC]/ autopilot/standby altimeter inoperative, and autopilot disconnects) caused by passenger operation of a popular handheld electronic game device. In one of these cases, the flight crew confirmed the interference by turning the unit on and off to observe the correlation. The same unit was used on another flight and on a different airplane, but the event could not be duplicated. Boeing purchased two of the actual suspect units through the airline and tested them in the laboratory, along with three off-the-shelf units. It was determined that these suspect units had emission profiles similar to the off-the-shelf units and that the levels from these devices were below airplane equipment emission limits.

1998
A passenger's palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to "on course." When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop. Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, but contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model. Boeing laboratory emission testing revealed that the unit exceeded Boeing airplane equipment emission levels by up to 37 dB by demonstrating energy levels in the frequency range of 150 to 700 kHz. In the Boeing navigation laboratory the unit was placed next to the FMCs, control display unit, and integrated display unit, but the reported anomaly could not be duplicated.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-s...phone-5577574/
2003
The captain of a Boeing 737 airliner on an instrument approach to Baltimore-Washington International Airport reported that his course indicator, called a localizer, had been centered during the approach, then suddenly showed a full deflection. Just then the aircraft, flying on autopilot, broke out of the clouds—at an altitude of 2,500 feet and a full mile off course. The incident is described in NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (asrs.arc.nasa.gov), a service that allows people to anonymously report aviation problems.

The 737 pilot theorized that after announcing that the United States had started attacking Iraq (information he had received from air traffic control), one or more passengers had placed calls on their mobile phones. His suggestion for prevention: Never make an announcement to passengers that might encourage mobile phone use during a flight.
https://fox4kc.com/news/can-leaving-...-down-a-plane/
From 2003 to 2009, there were 75 instances of suspected electronic device interference, including 29 involving mobile phones, according to a study by the International Air Transport Association.

That is one event for every 283,300 flights - (it sounds tiny, but at the time of this report, it was three incidents every week).

Though rare, the reports suggest that such interference can affect almost every aircraft system, from communication and navigation systems to flight controls (such as autopilot) and warning systems.
.
.
So you have posted examples that confirm that there is no clear linkage?
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Old 20th January 2022, 07:08 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
So you have posted examples that confirm that there is no clear linkage?
You didn't actually read them did you?
"A passenger's palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to "on course." When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop. Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, but contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model. Boeing laboratory emission testing revealed that the unit exceeded Boeing airplane equipment emission levels by up to 37 dB by demonstrating energy levels in the frequency range of 150 to 700 kHz. In the Boeing navigation laboratory the unit was placed next to the FMCs, control display unit, and integrated display unit, but the reported anomaly could not be duplicated."
Its really important to recognize that seemingly identical items of equipment can exhibit fundamental differences. This is especially so when equipment is emitting RF radiation. Two different pieces of equipment of the identical make and model may radiate on a slightly different frequency - one might interfere, the other might not. I can give you a classic example...

A VHF transmitter (Collins VHF20B) on a test bench in the Radio Servicing Bay interferes with a VOR/ILS indicator being tested down the hall in the Instrument Servicing Bay, and an identical VOR/ILS indicator in the next workbench over. A second, older VHF20B plugged into the same test set up does not interfere with either of them. After a lot of messing around and fault finding, we found that the newer one had a modified RF power output module. Replaced it, but the problem continued. On closer examination the circuit diagram of the new module was identical, but they were using a different power output transistors...BLY90 in the new one instead of BLY87A. I replaced the BLY90 with a BLY87A from stock.. that fixed the problem.

In my 30 years experience in avionics, I have run into this type problem literally dozens of times. There is no guarantee that two identical pieces of equipment, such as a cellphone, will be identical inside - right down to component level. This is why in the story above, because Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, and instead contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model, they were not able to replicate the problem, This does not surprise me in the least. They needed to test the actual one that causes the interference.
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Old 21st January 2022, 06:57 AM   #36
theprestige
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
You didn't actually read them did you?
"A passenger's palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to "on course." When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop. Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, but contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model. Boeing laboratory emission testing revealed that the unit exceeded Boeing airplane equipment emission levels by up to 37 dB by demonstrating energy levels in the frequency range of 150 to 700 kHz. In the Boeing navigation laboratory the unit was placed next to the FMCs, control display unit, and integrated display unit, but the reported anomaly could not be duplicated."
Its really important to recognize that seemingly identical items of equipment can exhibit fundamental differences. This is especially so when equipment is emitting RF radiation. Two different pieces of equipment of the identical make and model may radiate on a slightly different frequency - one might interfere, the other might not. I can give you a classic example...

A VHF transmitter (Collins VHF20B) on a test bench in the Radio Servicing Bay interferes with a VOR/ILS indicator being tested down the hall in the Instrument Servicing Bay, and an identical VOR/ILS indicator in the next workbench over. A second, older VHF20B plugged into the same test set up does not interfere with either of them. After a lot of messing around and fault finding, we found that the newer one had a modified RF power output module. Replaced it, but the problem continued. On closer examination the circuit diagram of the new module was identical, but they were using a different power output transistors...BLY90 in the new one instead of BLY87A. I replaced the BLY90 with a BLY87A from stock.. that fixed the problem.

In my 30 years experience in avionics, I have run into this type problem literally dozens of times. There is no guarantee that two identical pieces of equipment, such as a cellphone, will be identical inside - right down to component level. This is why in the story above, because Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED, and instead contacted the PED manufacturer and purchased the same model, they were not able to replicate the problem, This does not surprise me in the least. They needed to test the actual one that causes the interference.
The flight crew claimed to have noticed a strong correlation, which could not be replicated in controlled tests with ostensibly identical equipment.

Now you go on to say that there's no such thing as identical equipment, which means there's no such thing as controlled tests. This on top of you citing a number of cases in which a clear connection could not be established.

Again, I'm not saying the FAA is wrong about the risk. I'm saying that what you've provided is laughably thin gruel for passengers to swallow, when it comes to rules about electronics use.
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Old 21st January 2022, 11:37 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The flight crew claimed to have noticed a strong correlation, which could not be replicated in controlled tests with ostensibly identical equipment.
The inability to replicate the issue does not make what the pilots served go away.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Now you go on to say that there's no such thing as identical equipment, which means there's no such thing as controlled tests. This on top of you citing a number of cases in which a clear connection could not be established.
Asked and answered.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Again, I'm not saying the FAA is wrong about the risk.
Good, because they aren't.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm saying that what you've provided is laughably thin gruel for passengers to swallow, when it comes to rules about electronics use.
Being involved in a car accident is a risk. You're not likely to be involved in one but, wearing a seat belt is a good idea, don't you think? This is called mitigating the risk.

Maybe the risk of a cellphone causing a plane crash is low, but its far too late to talk about mitigating the risk when a plane full of passengers has crashed on approach and is burning on the ground.

Personally, I think the risk with modern, low power digital smartphones emitting between 1 and 3 watts ERP is very, very low - almost negligible - but it didn't used to be. Older style analog cellphones of the 1990s were emitting about three times that power, as much as 10 watts ERP. They also had quite poor RFI emission controls by today's standards. Before about the mid-2000s, you could hear a cellphone trying to connect to a tower on any AM radio within about 100 feet with that characteristic b-b-beep, b-b-beep, b-b-beep sound.YT

But again, I point out that passenger's cellphones are NOT the issue here. Its the transmitters on the ground potentially interfering in specific aircraft navigation systems such as VOR/ILS, GPWS and radar altimeters that is at issue. It needs to be taken seriously. The US and Canada have not put in place the mitigation steps that Europe, Australia and NZ have - lowering the output power of cellular network towers near airports and under flight paths out to 3km and tilting their antennas downward about 5-10°.
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Old 21st January 2022, 12:05 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The inability to replicate the issue does not make what the pilots served go away.
It does, however, make it difficult to establish that it was ever there to begin with.

Quote:
Being involved in a car accident is a risk. You're not likely to be involved in one but, wearing a seat belt is a good idea, don't you think? This is called mitigating the risk.
My point is that by and large, passengers aren't seeing the risk. There's tons of evidence of the risk of not wearing seatbelts. We have actual automobile collisions, hundreds each year, and fatalities arising from not wearing seatbelts. We have hours and hours of crash test footage with purpose-engineered test dummies.

"Seatbelts save lives," you say.

"Show me the evidence," I say.

And then you show me scores of controlled experiments with repeatable results that support your claim. And then you show me scores of real-world examples with and without seatbelts, that support your claim.

By and large, airline passengers don't see the same kind of evidence for this electronics claim. Hence their understandable suspicion that there might not be a risk to mitigate.
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Old 21st January 2022, 01:23 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It does, however, make it difficult to establish that it was ever there to begin with.
I disagree. What you are in effect doing is dismissing the word of the aircrews.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My point is that by and large, passengers aren't seeing the risk.
They're not in the cockpit.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There's tons of evidence of the risk of not wearing seatbelts. We have actual automobile collisions, hundreds each year, and fatalities arising from not wearing seatbelts. We have hours and hours of crash test footage with purpose-engineered test dummies.

"Seatbelts save lives," you say.

"Show me the evidence," I say.

And then you show me scores of controlled experiments with repeatable results that support your claim. And then you show me scores of real-world examples with and without seatbelts, that support your claim.
Do you obtain and read a bunch of accident safety test reports before putting on your seat belt? How many people have actually read any of those reports? Very few I'll wager.

I've never read a vehicle accident safety report in my life, ever, To me, wearing a seat belt in a car is a no-brainer. I don't need to see a report to know it is self-evident that wearing a seat belt will stop me being thrown about like Ragdolly Anna in the event of a serious crash.. its just plain commonsense.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
By and large, airline passengers don't see the same kind of evidence for this electronics claim. Hence their understandable suspicion that there might not be a risk to mitigate.
Do you really have to personally observe a consequential injury event take place before you accept that a similar such event represents a possible danger to you? How many aircraft crashes have you personally seen (not on TV or in the movies - personally observed as it happened, right there in front of you)?. Did you need to personally observe such a crash before recognising that flying might present a small risk of being involved in such a crash?

How about how about volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, car accidents, pedestrians being knocked down etc. Do you have to personally observe any of these things before accepting that these could be a danger to you, however small?

But yet again , passenger's cellphones are NOT the issue here. Its the transmitters on the ground potentially interfering in specific aircraft navigation systems such as VOR/ILS, GPWS and radar altimeters that is at issue. It needs to be taken seriously. The US and Canada have not put in place the mitigation steps that Europe, Australia and NZ have - lowering the output power of cellular network towers near airports and under flight paths out to 3km and tilting their antennas downward about 5-10°.
.
.
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Last edited by smartcooky; 21st January 2022 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 21st January 2022, 02:00 PM   #40
theprestige
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I disagree. What you are in effect doing is dismissing the word of the aircrews.
I'm saying that without corroboration, their claim is weak. The general public is not seeing a strong claim that electronics use makes any difference at all.

Quote:
They're not in the cockpit.
Exactly.
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