Just Put A Cellular Tower In The Plane

from the yakking-while-flying dept

In something of a followup to a post from a few weeks ago, Guy Kewney is going through every reason given for banning mobile phones on planes and explaining why it doesn't have to be true. The real issue isn't one of danger (as has been pointed out many times before), but that each phone would be contacting so many cellular towers on the ground it would cause problems for the carriers. The simple solution (mentioned in that earlier article) is to place a modified mobile cellular tower on the plane that directs all communication down in a more appropriate manner. Having found such a local tower, the phones won't broadcast out to all the other towers on the ground. Still, some are worried about the danger issue, and Kewney systematically points out why all their arguments don't make sense. Of course, none of this addresses the annoyance issue - but perhaps we'll have airlines that advertise "no phoning" planes or zones and we'll basically be back to where we are now.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Roger Madden, 21 Apr 2004 @ 12:48pm

    re: Just put a Cellular Tower in the plane

    AirCell, Inc. holds a patent to do just that. See www.aircell.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 21 Apr 2004 @ 12:58pm

    No Subject Given

    So where are the "systematic" arguments you speak of? Your link only talks about straw man examples of having a pet wasp in the cockpit, or of Persian rugs.

    In this and other techie forums, I notice a tendency to ignore the evidence presented in actual cases where cell phone signals did cause problems for planes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 21 Apr 2004 @ 1:15pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Where is that evidence? We've been asking for evidence of the dangers for years, and no one ever seems to show it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Nate, 21 Apr 2004 @ 1:53pm

        Which service?

        Which cell service would it handle? What are the chances that you could get the different standards companies to agree? What about international flights and their standards?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2004 @ 4:45pm

          Re: Which service?

          If the US (and Japan) carriers would just follow the rest of the world that particular issue wouldn't be a problem... but I guess you would still have the issue of new generations etc.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dorpus, 21 Apr 2004 @ 7:12pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        I've posted links on here before showing the evidence. It's your blog, go find it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          dorpus, 21 Apr 2004 @ 7:39pm

          Re: No Subject Given

          But, knowing that Mike will be too lazy to look up his own blog, accuse me of posturing or what not, I'll post the evidence again.

          e.g.

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2992973.stm

          "...Since 1996, pilots have reported 35 mobile phone-related safety incidents, including false warnings in the cockpit, distractions causing aircraft to stray accidentally onto runways or fly at the wrong altitude, interrupted radio communications and multiple safety systems malfunctions. "

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mike (profile), 21 Apr 2004 @ 10:07pm

            Re: No Subject Given

            No, I have no problem looking it up. I did post it after all. However, as was pointed out at the time, those were anecdotal stories of problems that were blamed on the phones - with no evidence that it was actually phones that caused it. If the phones really presented such a threat to life, wouldn't we have heard about a real safety incident already? I've been on enough planes where I've seen people using mobile phones to know that there's a pretty good chance someone's got their's on on just about every large flight. Also, if it presented such a danger, wouldn't the airlines be a lot more strict about making sure the phones were off?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              dorpus, 22 Apr 2004 @ 5:08am

              Re: No Subject Given

              So let's see, "interrupted radio communications" was only the result of space aliens having conversations? Couldn't possibly have come from cell phones? I've been on enough planes where I've seen people failing to fasten seat belts, but they did not die. There are only anecdotal tales of plane crashes. So how many planes should crash before cell phones are banned? 10? 100?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rick Colosimo, 21 Apr 2004 @ 11:00pm

            This is evidence? Of what?

            "And in October, Russian businessman Sergey Lebedev was fined 2,500 after forcing a British Airways jet to abort a landing at Manchester Airport.

            Cabin crew spent so long arguing with him about whether he would turn off his mobile they were unable to prepare the plane."

            That's pretty weak evidence that cell phones are a legitimate electronic threat to aircraft. Heck, it could be just as disruptive if I refused to put my tray table up!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dudeluna, 21 Apr 2004 @ 1:54pm

    Just Put A Cellular Tower In The Plane

    but do we really want a plane full of people talking on their cell phones? think about it! it would be awful!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      beck, 21 Apr 2004 @ 3:35pm

      Re: Just Put A Cellular Tower In The Plane

      Would it be any more awful than the people on the plane talking to each other? Why is it OK if the person behind you is yakking away to the person next to her, but not OK if she's yakking away on her phone?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        thecaptain, 22 Apr 2004 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Just Put A Cellular Tower In The Plane

        Because usually the person yakking away to the one next to him or her has a certain sense of decorum (USUALLY I say, this is not always the case).

        However, a MUCH HIGHER percentage of people who chat on cellphones do so at top volume, much more likely to annoy the crap out of everybody else.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2004 @ 4:11pm

    ASRS reports

    http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/report_sets/ped.pdf
    has several incidents, some of which do seem very like passengers' widgets screwing up nav systems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.