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Why cant you turn on your GPS while flying commercial?


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From a thread that I have read on the topic I thought it was ok also. Not sure where the thread is but if you did a search on airplane you may find it for quicker feedback.

 

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So far so good, somewhat new owner of a second/new Garmin GPS V 20 plus finds so far with little to no problem. We'll see what happens when there are leaves on the trees again.

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quote:
Originally posted by MechWarrior2:

... I boarded ... and found ... that GPS's were banned from operation during the entire flight. Comments/tactics?


 

How did you find out it was banned?

What airline? It seems different airlines have different policies. Also some flight crews don't know the official airline policy.

If by "tactics?" you mean how can you get around it, I advise you don't try. Disobeying a flight crew in the US is a federal crime.

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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Some allow it; others don't. Those that don't generally have a ban on all electronic devices that have an antenna, and the reason given is their concern that stray rf signals may possibly interfere with aircraft communication and navigation systems. They don't make a distinction between transmitting and receiving devices; they don't allow operation of radio or television receivers either.

 

Worldtraveler

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There are several threads on this subject. (I can't give you a true "Markwell link" at the moment but do a search.) There is still some misunderstandings about GPSr by flight attendants. The general rule is that they're ok during flight but not during takeoff and landing for most airlines. Bottom line is it's up to the pilot. Try to get an ok next time before take off or ask to see the pilot for a minute.

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I recently returned from a trip where I was both able to use my GPSr and banned from it. I flew American and found that most flight attendants don't know what they are and the few that do associate them w/ Sept. 11 (it's reported that the hijacking pilots used hand-held GPSr's to find the Towers)

 

Anyway, when the attendant asked me to switch it off, she said, "Those send out signals to satellites!". To which I replied, "Close, but not accurate. The receive signals only. They don't transmit. They're like an FM radio." She was wary and asked to take it to the cockpit and show the flight crew. A few minutes later she and the co-pilot returned. He (the co-pilot) was happy to let me use it and we ended up talking Geocaching for about 15 minutes.

 

It was so cool to fire it up and see this:

GPS in Flight

(I did the quick math to determine we were going 0.8 Mach!)

 

Don't ask me. I'm not from around here...

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American's official policy, at least according to their December 2002 in-flight magazine, is that GPS receivers are not permitted at any time during flight. I don't fly often, so I'm not what you'd call a font of useful information on the various airlines.

 

The airlines' concern, valid or not, is that most modern radio receivers generate internal signals at what is known as an "internal frequency." Those signals are mixed with the preamplified signal from the antenna, creating "beat" signals at the sum and the difference of the two frequencies. The difference signal is then processed further and the sum signal is usually filtered out. What that means is that there are somewhere within the receiver, at minimum, relatively high-energy signals at the intermediate frequency, the received frequency, the sum frequency, and the difference frequency, any of which might interfere with the avionics in some unpredictable way. GPS receivers might not work exactly that way, since they use a spread-spectrum mode, but the reality is that someone somewhere decided that anything that might emit RF energy while in flight is a bad thing, and radio receivers of any kind might emit RF energy, so they're banned.

 

Of course, laptops and palmtops and handheld DVD players and video game systems might also emit RF energy, but the apparent logic there was that the benefits of using your laptop while in flight outweigh the risks it might pose. (I'm sure it made absolutely no difference that the airlines' business- and first-class passengers are much more likely to use laptops than GPS receivers.)

 

warm.gif

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quote:
modern radio receivers generate internal signals at what is known as an "internal frequency." Those signals are mixed with the preamplified signal from the antenna, creating "beat" signals at the sum and the difference of the two frequencies. The difference signal is then processed further and the sum signal is usually filtered out. What that means is that there are somewhere within the receiver, at minimum, relatively high-energy signals at the intermediate frequency, the received frequency, the sum frequency, and the difference frequency, any of which might interfere with the avionics in some unpredictable way.

 

So that's why I get a head ache when I listen to the radio! I thought I was just getting 'old'.

 

(Maybe that's why the Co-pilot didn't wave the GPSr around for all to see, and he asked me to stow it when he left) icon_wink.gif

 

Don't ask me. I'm not from around here...

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...but made a point of first asking the co-pilot as I was boarding the aircraft.

 

As neat as it was to see those triple digits appear in my Vista's 'Speed' window, what was really cool was tracking the flight's progress on the map display and being able to identify *exactly* what it was that we were flying over at any given time (that, and doing a 'GOTO' to O'Hare and having a fairly accurate 'Time to Destination' continually updated).

 

Entertainment value notwithstanding, I would go with the advice mentioned previously ...if you've any reason to think that inflight GPSr usage isn't allowed on a particular flight (either because of something that you've been told by the flight crew or something that you've read from the airline), don't buck the system and risk locking horns with folks who are only doing their job.

 

ontario1.gif

 

[This message was edited by Cache Canucks on January 02, 2003 at 11:55 AM.]

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I have seen this subject debated several times (sometimes very heated) in the internet discussion groups. You might check out alt.satellite.gps or sci.geo.satellite-nav. The latter seems to get more postings. I know there is also an archive for the newsgroups but I can't remember its URL.

 

I have had mixed responses when using my GPS on flights. Most flights didn't have a problem with it but a couple did. Seemed to be up to the flight crew. As has been suggested, ASK FIRST. I had one Southwest stewardess literally go ballistic when I pulled it out without asking (this was after they said you could turn your electronics back on, GPS receivers was also listed as an authorized electronic in their in-flight magazine). A couple of times I noticed a few passengers have seemed a bit nervous about it, put it up each time this happened out of respect for their feelings.

Haven't tested the waters since 9/11 though, decided that a good book was much easier than asking permission and attracting extra attention.

 

Safe hunting

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