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Handheld GPS on UK Domestic Flights


Dave Sniper
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Hello All

 

Many apologies if this question has already been posted elsewhere but I did use the search function and browse the first few pages of this section first.

 

I am visiting Manchester in a few days and was hoping to do some caching whilst up there. I'm flying from Newquay Airport with BMIBaby, to save money I'm just taking hand luggage but I wondered if it was ok to take GPS reciever (A Garmin Etrex) on the flight?

 

I think it's probably fine and I'm probably being over cautious but there is no clear Yes or No on the bmibaby website and I don't really want to call the bmibaby Premium rate customer services number!

 

TIA

 

David D

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Hello All

 

Many apologies if this question has already been posted elsewhere but I did use the search function and browse the first few pages of this section first.

 

I am visiting Manchester in a few days and was hoping to do some caching whilst up there. I'm flying from Newquay Airport with BMIBaby, to save money I'm just taking hand luggage but I wondered if it was ok to take GPS reciever (A Garmin Etrex) on the flight?

 

I think it's probably fine and I'm probably being over cautious but there is no clear Yes or No on the bmibaby website and I don't really want to call the bmibaby Premium rate customer services number!

 

TIA

 

David D

 

From experience ThomsonFly from UK to Europe was ok in hand luggage - was in with camera and camcorder, along with passports etc..

 

Also, from UK to Belfast on FlyBe was ok no problems.

 

Can be used enflight to monitor speed, height, location on maps etc - held right up to window. Must be off for takeoff and landing like all elect equipt.

 

Disclaimer: cannot be held responsible if they take it off you, but I'm 99.99% sure you will be ok.

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I can only reitterate what Dave Womble has said...

 

I've taken various GPS devices on flights, both internally and transatlantic. I've never had a problem with taking them on flights, and I've always asked the flight attendants before using them, and again, never had a problem.

 

The only thing they've said is to ensure it's turned off during taxi'ing, take off and landing!

 

Enjoy!

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I've carried a handheld GPS along with a load of digital camera gear, mobile phones etc back and forth between the UK and US several times. As others have said make sure it's switched off and ask before you turn it on while in the air. On transatlantic flights I've been told it's OK by some attendants and not OK by others. These days I'm more interested in sleeping than knowing my precise location, although I did clock 690mph on my old Garmin 60CS somewhere over the north Atlantic.

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Can anyone explain if there really is a valid reason for turning them off for take-off, or is this just another airline myth - on a par with the no mobile phones in hospitals one. I've had them on for full flights in the past before they all got so jittery - they are just receivers, not transmitters, after all.

 

If you do turn them on then don't forget to download your tracks to Google Earth afterwards and see the tracks in 3D - use GPS Visualiser to convert and don't forget to change the 'clamped to ground' option.

 

Edited to add: Found this example -

Edited by FollowMeChaps
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Somewhere there is a list of which airlines have a policy of disallowing GPSr use during flights.

Even those that allow it (most), require you to ask permission before switching it on, even though it's unclear what harm could be caused by usage. It's officially up to the pilot.

 

I carry mine in cabin baggage on flights twice a week and never have a problem (although it's always switched off!).

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The reason for turning mobile phones off is so the signals they give out don't interfere with the nav systems. Fair enough. But they still ask you to turn off all Music Players, Handheld Games Consoles and anything electronic for taxi, take off and landing: there's no real reason, just over cautious Health and Safety folk I guess. GPS signals are always floating past you, no matter where you are, and the plane will be using them anyway, so a GPS device won't interfere with anything, as it doesn't send out any signals.

 

^_^

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I've used mine on several flights (turned off on landing and take off). I haven't asked if it's ok to turn it on and have never been asked to switch it off.

 

Wiki says "There is anecdotal evidence showing various degrees of correlation between use of mobile phones in flight and various instrument problems, and one study concluded that mobile phones used in the cabin could exceed the rated allowable interference levels for some avionics installed in some aircraft. On the other hand, links between device use and actual system failures have not been proven rigorously, nor have the reported incidents been reproduced in ground tests."

 

I think I've heard of a case where a pilot's mobile phone was implicated in a crash. A GPS receiver is just that - a receiver, it's not actually transmitting anything (although there will probably be some minimal interference coming from it, though probably much less than from a laptop PC).

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But they still ask you to turn off all Music Players, Handheld Games Consoles and anything electronic for taxi, take off and landing: there's no real reason, just over cautious Health and Safety folk I guess. GPS signals are always floating past you, no matter where you are, and the plane will be using them anyway, so a GPS device won't interfere with anything, as it doesn't send out any signals.
Electronic devices (not just phones) emit electomagnetic radiation. This can interfere with other equipment, especially equipment that relies on receiving such radiation, such as navigation and communication devices on the plane.

 

In recent years the regulations concerning what levels are considered acceptable have been considerably tightened up in the US and Europe, and probably lots of other places, but it would be impractical for airline staff to know every device that was manufactured under these regulations and every device that wasn't.

 

The chances of such interference occurring are pretty low, but the possible consequences are very severe, hence the ban. And it's a ban during take-off and landing because those are the parts of the flight where there is much less time to sort a problem out before it becomes critical.

 

Rgds, Andy

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The reason for turning mobile phones off is so the signals they give out don't interfere with the nav systems. Fair enough. But they still ask you to turn off all Music Players, Handheld Games Consoles and anything electronic for taxi, take off and landing: there's no real reason, just over cautious Health and Safety folk I guess. GPS signals are always floating past you, no matter where you are, and the plane will be using them anyway, so a GPS device won't interfere with anything, as it doesn't send out any signals.

 

^_^

 

The story I heard (from someone who should know)is that it has absolutely nothing at all to do with EM radiation or signals. It's that they ask that ALL unnecessary electrical devices are off during take off and landing as these are the times the plane's most likely to crash, and it's simply to remove any possible causes of ignition in the cabin....

Edited by keehotee
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Another theory I've heard is that at ground level a mobile phone can only communicate with (at most) a few cell towers at any time. When it's up in the air it can communicate with loads of them, as it has a 'clear line of sight' to many more towers. This ties up the mobile phone company resources and they don't like it, hence the ban on phones in aircraft.

 

This sounds logical, but may be utter rubbish as I freely confess that I know nothing about this subject!

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I always carry all my electronic stuff,gps etc + spare batteries in my hand luggage, the if there is any query it can easily be inspected, and off course it's less likely to get lost!

One oddity which always puzzles me, I have to switch off my Ipod but my wife is never asked to switch off her hearing aids.

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I always carry all my electronic stuff,gps etc + spare batteries in my hand luggage, then if there is any query it can easily be inspected, and off course it's less likely to get lost!

One oddity which always puzzles me, I have to switch off my Ipod but my wife is never asked to switch off her hearing aids.

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I seem to remember a 'Mythbusters' episode on satellite TV some time ago where they tested the 'myth' that cellphones upset 'plane navigation equipment. Even in the cockpit of a modern airliner, talking on the phone had no effect whatsoever so they stepped it up a bit using a whole range of electronic stuff including PMR radios and CB radio. Nothing they tried had any effect on the navigation equipment. They concluded that the equipment was so well made/shielded/screened/whatever that mobile phones would be perfectly safe to use if the airlines were to allow them

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One oddity which always puzzles me, I have to switch off my Ipod but my wife is never asked to switch off her hearing aids.
There is likely to be some correlation between the power consumed by an electronic device and the amount of interference it radiates. Hearing aids are very low power devices.

 

Also it may be the lesser of two evils - it might be considered that having a deaf passenger during an emergency is a greater risk than that posed by possible interference.

 

Or it might be that they haven't considered it at all, or that the cabin staff just don't spot them ...

 

Rgds, Andy

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I remember hearing that car airbags have been triggered by mobile phones. A person making a call had the back of his hand resting on the centre of the steering column while holding the phone and keying with his thumb, the air bag went off and broke his wrist (Good, he had it coming is my opinion).

 

So it's likely that they could emit something which could interfere with the aircraft's controls.

 

 

I think one of the reasons for having everything off in the plane during take off and landing is so that the crew have your full attention. If something happens and they are giving instructions to half the passengers listening to music, then the safety of everyone is compromised.

 

I realise that the first time the plane drops 1000ft in 2 secs, you might just stop listening to Enya and concentrate on something else, such as keeping your lunch below the back of your tongue but you never know.

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From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossair_Flight_498

 

"The government crash report does not mention cell phone activity as a primary cause of the crash, and instead attributes it to pilot error. However, a separate investigation into the cause of the crash showed that the autopilot system malfunctioned at the same time that a passenger's cell phone on board the plane received an SMS message and another received a call. After this information was made public, a number of countries that had previously been reluctant to do so outlawed cell phones on flights (including Switzerland)."

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I think one of the reasons for having everything off in the plane during take off and landing is so that the crew have your full attention. If something happens and they are giving instructions to half the passengers listening to music, then the safety of everyone is compromised.

This is the reason as far as I know. They want you to switch all electronic distractions off at certain times for the same reason that the seat-back entertainment locks up whenever an announcement is made. It's nothing to do with the plane falling out of the sky should somebody receive 160 characters of txt speak and everything to do with (trying to) make sure the passengers listen to the obligatory safety blurb and announcements such that you know that you should secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others, that your nearest emergency exit may be behind you, and that you should have your tray-table stowed and your seat-back in the fully upright and locked position :P

Edited by JeremyR
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Nobody should object to the device in hand luggage. Not even the muppets at Stansted who took my toothpaste off me two days ago because the plastic bag it was in measured 28x27cm and 20x20 is the maximum (I kid you not).

 

Does anyone know if a GPS-equipped mobile phone has the GPS component switched on when in "flight mode"? If so, that would seem to indicate that, even if your airline does have a "no dodgy electronice which we don't recognise" policy, the day is fast approaching when it will be officially no problem to use your GPS on a plane, since a lot of people who are using their iPhone for the MP3 functionality in effect are using the GPS already.

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Does anyone know if a GPS-equipped mobile phone has the GPS component switched on when in "flight mode"?
It's normal for the GPS receiver not to be switched on at all unless you are running a program that uses it, simply because they otherwise consume unnecessary power.

 

GPS receivers fall into the same category as PDAs, games, etc., in that they are normally allowed while the plane is cruising but not during take off or landing.

 

Different phones might handle flight mode differently, but I would guess that the GPSr might be disabled more often than not, even though it doesn't really need to be. But that's no more than a guess.

 

Rgds, Andy

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According to Apple:

 

"While airplane mode is on, appears in the status bar at the top of the screen. No phone, radio, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth signals are emitted from iPhone and Global Positioning System (GPS) reception is turned off, disabling many of iPhone’s features."

 

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1355

 

I think by 'airplane' they mean 'aircraft' or 'aeroplane'!

Edited by The Patrician
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On a flight a couple of years ago, I specifically asked the flight attendant if I could use my GPS during the flight. This was denied (from the cockpit) but I later had a visit in my seat by the co-pilot who very helpfully brought a print out of that days track that the airline was using in both directions across the Atlantic. He also spent about 10-15 minutes telling me how the routes were planned - depending on the winds in each direction.

 

One of the reasons given to me for not allowing the use of my GPS was that the track and speed info was available in any case on the small screen in the seat back.

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Was on a BA flight a couple years ago and had the 60CSX with me.

It was funny watching the map as we were accelerating at over 500mph

, then a steward wandered by and asked me to turn it off because it interferes with the aircraft navigation.

I didn't argue but thought what a load of rubbish as it is just a passive atomic clock receiver.

I have used it on a Helicopter and the pilot was fine with it ,less technical i suppose.

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The reason for turning mobile phones off is so the signals they give out don't interfere with the nav systems. Fair enough. But they still ask you to turn off all Music Players, Handheld Games Consoles and anything electronic for taxi, take off and landing: there's no real reason, just over cautious Health and Safety folk I guess. GPS signals are always floating past you, no matter where you are, and the plane will be using them anyway, so a GPS device won't interfere with anything, as it doesn't send out any signals.

 

^_^

The reason they have you turn off your Music Players, Handheld Games Consoles is so that you pay attention to the take-off and landing. These are the two most dangerous times during the flight and if anything were to happen they need to make sure everyone can hear the announcements.

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Does anyone know if a GPS-equipped mobile phone has the GPS component switched on when in "flight mode"?

Another 'Win' for Android then. Flight mode turns off the wireless stuff, but GPS can be enabled. Or at least it does on my Sony X10. I used it on some recent flights, completely unaware of the need to ask, in much the same way as no-one was asking to use their laptops or MP3 players.

On Air France/FlyBE/BritAir (I would assume KLM), their safety guide asks you to turn off all electronic devices for take-off & landing and specifically mentions GPSs. I'd assumed it was so you couldn't record the flight path for security reasons. But the full attention argument seems reasonable to me. Though if something happens, the likelihood is you're not going to walk away. A bit like the brace position being purely so you've got something to concentrate on whilst you interface with the ground at high speed.

 

I can understand phones - you just have to listen to a PA system for a while and you'll hear dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit Buzz a couple of seconds before someone's (usually the sound guy's :laughing: ) phone goes off. Yes, planes electronics are better designed and shielded than the average PA system, but why take the risk when 200+ lives could be at stake?

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I can understand phones - you just have to listen to a PA system for a while and you'll hear dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit Buzz a couple of seconds before someone's (usually the sound guy's) phone goes off. Yes, planes electronics are better designed and shielded than the average PA system, but why take the risk when 200+ lives could be at stake?

 

My home PC does this, in fact several different home PCs have done it so it must be something peculiar to my home wiring. My work PCs don't exhibit the behaviour.

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