When All Else Fails, Blame A Phone

from the dial-up-the-ol'-misdirection dept

Fresh off death by charger and another Great Wall lightning strike is word that maybe the interest in lifting in-flight cellular bans is misplaced: evidently a plane in Indonesia landed at the wrong airport after a passenger was using their mobile phone when the aircraft was getting ready to land. Arguments about the effect of mobile phones on planes' guidance systems aside, wouldn't somebody, either in the cockpit or in air traffic control, have noticed the plane wasn't where it was supposed to be? The plane was supposed to land at the Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, which opened in July, but instead landed at the city's old airport. Sounds like somebody just screwed up, rather than a phone being to blame.


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  1.  
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    Pat, Sep 14th, 2005 @ 2:19pm

    phones on planes

    i used to say phones didnt mean anything either, until som eidiot was using his phone on a flight i was on that was goin to nashville......it wasnt very windy or anything and the plane was experiencing turbulance. i almost killed that guy.....besides, in the asian incident the landing isnt as easy as some think....pilots rely a greta deal on their instruments for landings and flying in general....these are commercial planes not little one wingers in your neighborhood hanger.

     

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  2.  
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    Justin Hollabaugh (profile), Sep 14th, 2005 @ 2:40pm

    Re: phones on planes

    I'm sorry but cell phones do not cause turbulence.
    How the HELL could you profess to know how windy it is on any particular day at 40,000ft of altitude? Particularly from inside the pressurized fuselage of a commercial jetliner?
    You couldn't seriously believe that the weather on the ground at the airport is any indication of the weather several miles above the ground and likely hundreds of miles from the airport could you?

     

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  3.  
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    Sohran, Sep 14th, 2005 @ 11:46pm

    Re: phones on planes

    yea, sorry my friend but what on gods green earth does a cell phone and turbulance have to do with each other?

     

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  4.  
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    Pussy, Sep 15th, 2005 @ 4:55pm

    Re: phones on planes

    So if I understand you correctly, your argument is that a cell phone created an area of turbulent air, in an otherwise calm sky, that surrounded the airplane and followed it for the duration of the use of the cell phone?

    I know smart phones are getting pretty feature packed, but I seriously doubt that they have reached the point where they can EFFECT THE WEATHER.

    And you are right, commercial airliners are not the small single engine aircraft found at most municipal airports, they are far safer, shielded from RF, and even from LIGHTNING, with multiple redundancies and backups for every system, even navigation. And when ALL of that shit fails, there is finally a GUY sitting in the drivers seat who says “gee, that isn’t the right place to go, lets go over here instead.”

    Or do you suppose that the cell phone is able to disrupt the pilot's brainwaves too?

    You sir, are a perfect example of why democracy is a bad idea.

     

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  5.  
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    Jo Keeler, Sep 15th, 2005 @ 11:11pm

    I'm a pilot, and I know something about this

    Tech dirt is right. They wouldn't have landed at an alternate airport if the cell phone was on, or being used. The issue with cell phones is electronic distortions that they MIGHT cause in an aircrafts instrument panel. Instead of study the issue, the avaition industry just tells people to keep them off. I am first party to an incident though were we were flying and our instruments went out of whack when we flew over a construction site where a very large elctronic system was being tested. Our compass didn't know what to do. I would suggest that if the cell phone was the problem, the pilot would have missed his approach as the instrumentation would have been slighily off, not landed at a completely different airport.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 1:38am

    Re: I'm a pilot, and I know something about this


    Sorry Jo, I’m a pilot too, and I am calling bullshit on you.

    If you were in the cockpit, over a construction site, where “a large electronic system was being tested” (the ways in which that doesn’t add up, I will not delve into) and your compass “didn’t know what to do” and IF you were in an accident, it was not as a result of an inaccurate compass.

    For one thing, even if your magnetic compass was effected, momentarily, while you flew over this construction site where they were doing all of this “testing” your gyro compass was not effected.

    This is not a huge deal. A compass that temporarily - ahem - “doesn’t know what to do” is not something that would fluster even a student pilot. I assume, seeing as you are such an ace pilot, that you remember the first day of pilot training when they teach you that your compass will deviate due to simple things like accelerating, and decelerating? That it lags behind, or even ahead of you in a turn? Pilots are used to seeing a compass temporarily do weird things - and yet, they manage to not crash as a result.

    And even IF your gyro compass, and every other instrument in the airplane, suddenly, and catastrophically failed due to this mysterious and magical “large electronic system” (which did not happen - half the instruments don’t even use electricity) the airplane did not spontaneously explode, or stop flying, or crash as a result of a temporary - or even permanent - instrument failure.

    If you were in an accident because you flew over an area where your compass was momentarily effected, you are a piss-poor pilot.

    Seriously people this is a non-issue.

    If cell phones were really dangerous on airplanes, don’t you think terrorists would have figured out that it is way easier to ship a box of cell phones next day air, than it is to smuggle a knife on to a commercial airline?

     

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