Image used for representation purposes. Pixabay
We all know the routine by heart: “Please make sure your seats are in an upright position, tray tables are stowed, window shades are stowed, laptops are stowed in overhead bins and electronics are set to flight mode.”
Now, the first four are reasonable, right? Window blinds should be raised so that we can tell if there is an emergency, such as a fire. Tray tables should be stored and seats upright so we can get out of class quickly. Laptops can become projectiles in emergency situations, as the seat back pockets aren’t strong enough to hold them.
And cell phones should be set to flight mode so as not to cause an airplane emergency, right? Well, that depends on who you ask.
Technology has advanced greatly
Air navigation and communications rely on radio services, which are coordinated to reduce interference Since the twenties of the last century.
The digital technology in use today is more advanced than some of the older analog technologies we used even 60 years ago. Research has shown Personal electronic devices can transmit a signal within the same frequency range as aircraft communication and navigation systems, resulting in what is known as electromagnetic interference.
But in 1992, US Federal Aviation Authority and Boeing, In an independent study, investigated the use of electronic devices in aircraft interference and found that there were no problems with computers or other personal electronic devices during non-critical phases of flight. (Take-off and landing are the critical stages.)
The US Federal Communications Commission has also begun construction Reserved bandwidth For different uses – such as cell phones, aircraft navigation and communications – so as not to interfere with each other. Governments all over the world have set out the same Strategies and policies to prevent interference Flight problems. In the European Union, electronic devices have been Allowed to stay since 2014.
2.2 billion passengers
Why then, with such global standards in place, has the airline industry continued to ban the use of cell phones? One problem is something you might not expect – ground interference.
Wireless networks are connected by series of constellations; Networks can become overburdened if passengers flying over these ground networks are all using their phones. The number of passengers who flew in 2021 It was more than 2.2 billion, and that’s half what the number of passengers was for 2019. Wireless companies may have a point here.
Of course, when it comes to mobile networks, the biggest change in recent years is the transition to a new standard. Existing 5G wireless networks – desired for faster data transmission – have worried many in the aviation industry.
The RF bandwidth is limited, however we are still trying to add more new devices to it. The aviation industry indicates that 5G wireless network bandwidth spectrum Significantly close to the spectrum of the reserved aviation bandwidth, which may cause this to occur Interference with navigation systems near airports that assists in landing the plane.
Airport operators in Australia And the United State They expressed aviation safety concerns associated with the launch of the 5G network, however, it appears that it was raised without such problems in the European Union. Either way, it is wise to limit mobile phone use on airplanes while issues with the 5G network are resolved.
In the end, we can not forget the wrath of the air
Most airlines now provide customers with either pay-as-you-go or free Wi-Fi services. With new Wi-Fi technologies, travelers can theoretically use their cell phones Make video calls with friends or customers on board.
On a recent flight, I spoke with a flight attendant and asked her what she thought of using the phone during flights. She said it would be annoying for the cabin crew to wait for passengers to finish their call to ask if they would like any drinks or anything to eat. On a plane with more than 200 passengers, the onboard service would take longer to complete if everyone was making phone calls.
For me, the problem with using phones on a plane is more about the social experience of having 200+ people on a plane, all of whom are likely talking at once. At a time when turbulent passenger behavior, including “air rage”, increasingly frequentHowever, the use of the phone during the flight may be another factor that alters the entire flight experience.
Disruptive behaviors take various forms, from non-compliance with safety requirements such as not wearing seat belts, and verbal altercations with other passengers and cabin crew, to physical altercations with passengers and cabin crew – commonly known as air rage.
In conclusion – the use of phones on board does not currently impair the ability of the aircraft to operate. But cabin crew may prefer not to delay in providing service on the plane to all passengers – there are a lot of people serving.
However, 5G technology is encroaching on the wireless bandwidth of air navigation systems; We will need to do more research To answer the 5G question Regarding interference with aircraft navigation during landing. Remember that when we’re discussing the two most important stages of a flight, takeoff is optional – but landing is mandatory.