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Gps Air Travel


schinbones
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Does anyone know if it is ok with the FAA to take a GPS receiver on a commercial airline flight? I an going on a long trip and thought it might be neat to take my Magellan Sportrack.

 

Also, will the altitiude affect the unit adversely in any way? Someone told me that they took theirs once and it malfunctioned and that they had to "re-program" it. Any concerns with that?

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I always take my Garmin Legend and Map60C on board. It depends upon each airlines (or pilot's) policy. Check this out: GPS on Airlines, or this one: Airline Approve/Disapprove

 

For the altitude question: GPS Altitude

 

It's a lot of fun to track where your are, and it keeps me from going crazy just sitting there crammed into the 500mph aluminum tube. You need to be right up tight to the window to get signal with most units, although my 60C w/helix antenna does much better a bit further away.

 

I have made track logs of flights with vertical profiles, that's fun too.

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I've taken my iFinder Pro on many flights across the country, and yup it's fun to "see" where you are as well as learn stuff about how fast the plane is going, etc. I tried taking it on an international flight once, and was told to not use it on that flight... bummer!

 

Because the GPS can only see satellites from the tiny windows it sometimes takes a while for it to find enough satellites to achieve a location lock. Also because it can only "see" satellites in a fairly narrow focused direction (out the little window) I've noticed the altitude estimation is quite poor because of the limited triangulation available.

 

As far as the GPS itself being affected by being in a plane at +35000 feet.. no that has no effect on it, because the cabin is pressurized. If that sort of thing was a probem you'd think stuff like notebook computers etc should be more suseptible.

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I tried taking it on an international flight once, and was told to not use it on that flight... bummer! ...

 

I've noticed the altitude estimation is quite poor because of the limited triangulation available.

The altitude and horizontal position measurements will certainly be less accurate than if you had a less obstructed skyview. But I'd still expect the GPS altitude to more closely correspond to reality than the nominal "flight level" of the plane as given by a barometric altimeter set to the standard sea level pressure of 29.92"Hg and assuming a nominal "standard atmosphere." This nominal flight level can easily be many hundreds of feet off from the actual altitude depending on local atmospheric conditions. That's not a problem since the discrepancy is consistent for all planes and therefore they still keep the proper vertical separation. But discrepancies between the altitude reported by the pilot (or the in-flight TV screens on some flights) and a GPS receiver do not necessarily indicate an inaccuracy of the GPS measurement.

 

As indicated earlier, the acceptability of passenger GPS receivers is up to the individual airline and is not dependent on the flight being domestic or international. I've used mine on United, USAir, and Northwest on both domestic and international flights, but have pretty consistently been refused permission on American Airlines. For initially getting a lock it's best to hold the unit right up to the lower part of a window so the antenna gets the best skyview. Once I get a lock I've found that I can frequently set the receiver (eMap in my case) down on the edge of the tray table and still maintain a good signal.

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Because the GPS can only see satellites from the tiny windows it sometimes takes a while for it to find enough satellites to achieve a location lock. Also because it can only "see" satellites in a fairly narrow focused direction (out the little window) I've noticed the altitude estimation is quite poor because of the limited triangulation available.

I bought an external antenna and a window suction mount for my eMap which also works on my 60C. This combination allows me to get a good lock on my GPSr while sitting in an isle seat!

 

Antennas and mounts at "The Geek"

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I've used mine on United, USAir, and Northwest on both domestic and international flights, but have pretty consistently been refused permission on American Airlines.

 

While flying AA from L.A. to Newark last Friday, our stewardess was stopped in mid-stride when she noticed my Legend C sitting near my window. When I explained to her what it was, she firmly commanded me to turn it off immediately, and went on to explain that it is clearly forbidden in the AA in-flight magazine section describing in-flight restrictions of electronic devices.

 

I had been tracking my trans-continental progress from LAX up to this point in the journey, which by then was over the South-Eastern portion of Lake Michigan. I was very disappointed since I was thoroughly enjoying the experience of knowing where I was and what I was flying over. After stowing my Legend C, I reached for the AA in-flight magazine. Sure enough, included in the list of devices not allowed during flight are GPS receivers.

 

GPS receivers only receive, and do not transmit, and therefore should not interfere with the plane’s avionics, so it’s not obvious to me why AA won’t allow them (when other airlines will).

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..., so it’s not obvious to me why AA won’t allow them (when other airlines will).

Good question. Last March my wife and I flew from Albany, NY to Phoenix on United. I had researched online regarding airlines and GPS policy, and felt I was OK. So I carried my Map60C as carry-on and never mentioned having it.

 

When we got seated, and began our taxi, I turned it on and held it at the window. We were ready to take-off when a flight attendant told me I had to turn off my cell phone. When I said it was a GPS receiver she said, Oh, that's OK. After we had leveled off at cruise she stopped by to ask just what I was doing with it. My wife chimed in to say, "he's nuts, he's saving a track log of our route, and keeps telling me where we are, how fast we're going, our altitude, estimated time of arrival at Chicago....".

 

Our attendant was impressed and came back a few moments later humorously saying to me, "the pilot may be calling on you during the flight if his navaids quit". So, I will fly United if I have the choice.

Edited by Timpat
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The Federal Aviation Regulations (technically Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14) were written by bureaucrats long ago. They prohibit all personal electronic devices, with a few exceptions, unless the carrier has tested them for interference with the model aircraft involved, including the specific avionics configuration. This includes laptops, phones, game-boys, everything. The airline can allow devices it has tested, and every airline permits use of computers, because they couldn't sell tickets otherwise. The number of people who want to use a GPS is small, and some airlines don't bother to test them, and thus don't allow their use. I've done testing for a couple of aircraft models, and it's a trivial paperwork exercise, but it has to be done. A GPS certainly emits much less EMI than a laptop, but it does leak a little; it has no effect at all on the avionics of an airliner when in the passenger compartment, but that isn't the important thing. The paperwork has to be done, and some airlines just don't do it. Vote with your credit card, and don't buy tickets on airlines that don't allow the use of GPS in flight. Make sure the airline knows that you do so. That is the only thing that will sway the airline.

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They prohibit all personal electronic devices, with a few exceptions, unless the carrier has tested them for interference with the model aircraft involved, including the specific avionics configuration. This includes laptops, phones, game-boys, everything. The airline can allow devices it has tested, and every airline permits use of computers, because they couldn't sell tickets otherwise. The number of people who want to use a GPS is small, and some airlines don't bother to test them, and thus don't allow their use.

The only thing I see in the FAA regulations, specifically 14 CFR 91.21 is a prohibition on personal electronic devices unless its one that the "operator of the aircraft [i.e. airline] has determined will not cause interference ..." I haven't seen anything that requires specific testing. The question of how the 'determination' is to be done appears to be left entirely up to the airline with only some vague guidelines given in an FAA Advisory Circular.

 

What I have seen over the years is that many airlines have flip-flopped back and forth on their rules for GPS receivers. If lack of testing were the problem, then I'd expect to see airlines gradually start to allow use of the devices as they got around to doing the testing. But the flip-flopping has been in both directions which doesn't seem consistent with the hypothesis that they just haven't done the needed tests. It seems much more consistent with the idea that this is largely left up to the whim of somebody in the management of each airline and is subject to switching back and forth whenever someone new is put in charge.

 

Alaska Air is one that has gone back and forth a few times and currently does not allow passenger GPS use, while SAS has also gone back and forth but currently does allow such use.

 

I agree that the best way to change the airline policies is to book tickets on their competitors with more reasonable policies and *to let them know why you did so.*

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Last month I flew on United from OKC to DEN, then DEN to Oakland. On the first leg, the flight crew would not let me use my 60CS, saying that "it was against regulations," which is not correct, but I didn't argue. On the second leg to Oakland a different flight crew let me use the unit. I usually just ask the flight crew as I pass by the flight deck. Sometimes, the flight crew wants to see the unit. However, on the flight home, I decided not to say anything, and just used it at will. I waited until they announced that it was "ok to use portable electronic devices" (after takeoff) and had no problems. The flight attendents saw me use it and said nothing. I also turned it off during the descent when they announced to "turn off all portable electronic devices". That's how I'm going to do it from now on. Also, I've never seen GPS units listed in the "prohibited electronic devices" section of the airlines magazine.

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Southwest lets you use them during "okay to used approved electronic devises" which is essentially above 10,000 feet. A few months ago, I pulled mine out of my briefcase after the announcement to find that it was already on (apparently I only thought I turned it off when I got out of the car).

 

The flight attendant saw it, and scolded me for having it on during take-off. She said that someone on the flight deck told her that someone had it on. It's just a receiver, so I don't know how it could interfere. She might have been making that part up, but that is what she said.

 

I'm careful now to use it only when the announcement permits.

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Hi All,

 

A quick word about the WHY and WHY NOT of airline GPS policies.

 

A very little known fact: the hijackers on 9-11 did not know how to use the navigation systems on board the hijacked aircraft. They used handheld GPS units to navigate to their targets that day.

 

This is why you will never be allowed to use your GPS on American or American Eagle. This issue isn't avionics interference, nor is it presented that way. This issue is security, and GPS use is specifically prohibited on AA/AE.

 

Every airline carrier has it's own policy regarding GPS usage. Check with the carrier, or with a Flight Attendant on board for acceptable use.

 

I'm sure you all will agree with the statement: NEVER AGAIN.

 

Happy caching (and save that battery power for the find!)

 

Airsafety

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Hi All,

 

A quick word about the WHY and WHY NOT of airline GPS policies.

 

A very little known fact: the hijackers on 9-11 did not know how to use the navigation systems on board the hijacked aircraft. They used handheld GPS units to navigate to their targets that day.

 

This is why you will never be allowed to use your GPS on American or American Eagle. This issue isn't avionics interference, nor is it presented that way. This issue is security, and GPS use is specifically prohibited on AA/AE.

 

Every airline carrier has it's own policy regarding GPS usage. Check with the carrier, or with a Flight Attendant on board for acceptable use.

 

I'm sure you all will agree with the statement: NEVER AGAIN.

 

Happy caching (and save that battery power for the find!)

 

Airsafety

This is silly. Since the GPS unt is not banned from being on the plane, what difference does it make?

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This is silly. Since the GPS unt is not banned from being on the plane, what difference does it make?

Agreed. I can't see a hijacker changing his mind because the Flight Attendant tells him he'll have to turn off his GPS. If there were a security concern the TSA would have them on the list of items banned from carryon. In any event, I think "Airsafety's" fact is so little known because it's not true. At least one of the hijackers did have a Garmin III+, but I've seen nothing to indicate that it was used or needed for navigation on 9/11. The targets were easily recognizable landmarks and all navigation could be done the old-fashioned way - by looking out the window.

 

The American Airlines' policy against passenger use of GPS receivers dates back to July 21st, 2000, so it's clearly not a response to 9/11.

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It's certainly a very little-known fact, because nobody knows it. And American seems to prohibit them for no good reason, other than laziness. You aren't prohibited from carrying one on an American flight, just from turning it on. Idiocy.

 

To answer Peter, yes, it's true that the determination isn't all that detailed, but it has to be documented. We carry a piece of paper in all our aircraft that says what devices have been checked, or determined. Any captain can do it, any way he wants. If I determine that a device won't interfere, and put the paperwork through the system, it gets approved. If I don't, or someone else doesn't, it won't be on the approved list. If a company wants a device to be approved, it's easy to do. American was run by an idiot for years, and still seems to have the Bob Crandall mentality.

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I think I remember reading about a year ago that American disapproved of ALL PEDs throughout the entire flight. Now they appear to allow most devices, but specifically spell out NO GPSrs.

 

From American's Web site:

 

Electronic Equipment

All portable electronic devices must remain off during taxi, takeoff, approach and landing until the plane arrives at the gate and the seat-belt sign is turned off. Cellphones may be used on certain aircraft after landing in the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, once authorized by a flight attendant announcement. During flight, your flight attendant will tell you when you may use portable electronic devices, such as cellphone/PDA/two-way pager combinations using only PDA functions, and only if the flight attendant can verify that transmitting capabilities are turned off. Never use the following equipment during flight: cellular phone, two-way pager, radio, TV set, remote-controlled game or toy, cordless computer mouse, commercial TV camera, or Global Positioning System. The use of any device that could cause damage to existing equipment, or that may diminish the design, function, or capability of any aircraft part or component, is not permitted. Any radio transmission using personal communications devices is prohibited. These devices may interfere with the aircraft's communication and navigation systems.* Please be considerate of other passengers. Use a headset with all audio/video devices.

 

*The electronic device policy may vary on American Eagle and AmericanConnection. Please see a flight attendant for specifics.

 

I will say that as long as American bans the use of GPSrs, they won't see a dime of my money :)

They're just shooting themselves in the foot, and they will soon find themselves in the anals of history along the likes of 8-tracks, Beta video and Eastern Airlines! :rolleyes:

Edited by Neo_Geo
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My anecdotal 2¢ worth...

 

I've flown across Canada and back a couple of times, and down to Mexico and back three times, on a number of different airlines--asked and not asked permission probably an equal number of times--and have never been refused or asked to turn it off except once or twice when landing. I usually have it hooked up to my laptop with mapping software, and often the Flight Attendants will come by and ask me where we are. My most recent trip was Vancouver to Calgary to Cabo San Lucas last week. I asked for permission on Skyservice and overheard some mumbling about "non-transmitting..." and was given the green light. I couldn't do it on the way back however as I stupidly lost my GPS on the vacation!@#$%

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If consumer electronics such as cell phones, walkie talkies, radio controlled toys etc. could affect the safe operation of a commercial plane, who would be so foolish as to get on one? Would you trust your life to the voluntary and attentive compliance of dozens or hundreds of adults and children, many of whom will not understand the rules or may be unaware that some device in their baggage, carry-on, or pocket is on and operating? It would be crazy to certify an aircraft as airworthy if it could be operationally affected by ubiquitous devices that are legally transported by the millions and are undoubtedly turned or left on by thousands of passengers every day.

Edited by appletree
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If consumer electronics such as cell phones, walkie talkies, radio controlled toys etc. could affect the safe operation of a commercial plane, who would be so foolish as to get on one? Would you trust your life to the voluntary and attentive compliance of dozens or hundreds of adults and children, many of whom will not understand the rules or may be unaware that some device in their baggage, carry-on, or pocket is on and operating? It would be crazy to certify an aircraft as airworthy if it could be operationally affected by ubiquitous devices that are legally transported by the millions and are undoubtedly turned or left on by thousands of passengers every day.

Are you saying that you don't think these devices affect operation, or are you saying that you don't trust other passengers to control themselves?

 

Have you ever been on a cordless phone and picked up someone's cell phone conversation?

 

Or have you ever been by a speaker/subwoofer when a cell phone is trying to connect to it's network?

 

Same principle applies here... and while it probably won't make the plane crash, if I were on it or the pilot, I don't want anything to be messing with communications or any other electronics, no matter how minimal that interference is. So I think that most instances these devices may have little or no effect, they can at some times. And I think that in most cases, the airlines are able to control the ignorant or stupid from causing the interference.

 

I trust airplanes and their technology, but things go wrong all the time and I cannot disagree with policies that limit the use of devices that are *designed* to transmit.

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Just to throw in my $0.02... I recently flew SkyService from Toronto to Orlando and back, and had no problems at all. Flight attendants didn't even look at me twice. My girlfriend said "Oh, you are such a geek!!" when I threw it in my carryon, but thought it was pretty neat once we were in the air. I did have to pretty much keep it at the window to get a signal lock but it worked great otherwise. I find it definately breaks up the trip when you can check and see where you are... not to mention if you see something on the ground and you are wondering where you are and what it might be...

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Neo--if it floats your boat to go and buy an an external antenna and a window suction mount--good for you. WTF...eh. Anybody that has an issue with what you do with your stuff i.e. making fun of you for it needs to mind their own business. WTF...EH....Some people in the international community (specifically our Northern "ally" always have to put in their 2 cents. WTF...eh.....

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and while it probably won't make the plane crash, if I were on it or the pilot, I don't want anything to be messing with communications or any other electronics, no matter how minimal that interference is.

 

I always carry FRS radios when I fly and, although I usually remember to turn them off before stowing them in my under seat bag, I have on occasion found that one was unintentionally turned on in the act of stuffing the bag under the seat. I sincerely hope that the frequencies and radiated power parameters of these and other consumer devices, which I do understand can affect some types of electronic devices, cannot have a significant or even a distracting affect on a commercial plane. No, I do not trust passengers, including myself, to always have such devices off at designated times. I do not know if they pose any real threat, but if they do, the situation requires more than instructions to passengers not to use the devices. If they do not, let us enjoy them as long as they do not annoy other passengers.

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Forts,

While traveling on the Eurostar between Rome and Florence a couple of years ago, I pulled out my eTrex to see how fast the train was traveling. My wife just rolled her eyes and went back to sleep. (She's used to my ways by now! :laughing: ) What converted her to the gps was the fact that I have waypointed every public restroom that we have visited in Italy. When I asked her if she wanted me to bring the 60c on our upcoming trip, the answer was "OH YEAH!!"

Tom

P.S. The train was doing 125 to 130 mph--- Oh, BTW, when she tells this story, almost all the women roll thier eyes and go, "Oh, God!!", and the men say, "Cool! How fast was it?" :P

Edited by BilgeRat
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Regarding allowing GPSr's to be used during flight, and/or a unit that is "accidentally" left turned ON and posing a potential risk to aircraft electronics..

 

I don't think it would make much difference if the "accidentally left on" device be it a GPS, a FRS radio, or even a cellphone, if the device was brough aboard in carryon luggage or checked in to baggage... umm, right?

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Regarding allowing GPSr's to be used during flight, and/or a unit that is "accidentally" left turned ON and posing a potential risk to aircraft electronics..

 

I don't think it would make much difference if the "accidentally left on" device be it a GPS, a FRS radio, or even a cellphone, if the device was brough aboard in carryon luggage or checked in to baggage... umm, right?

Here's the thing about electronics. ALL electronic devices emit SOME RF interference. It is inherent from the integrated circuitry. The tranmitting devices (cell phones, FRS radios, etc.) are KNOWN to disturb aircraft avionics, and that is why they are not allowed at all during flight. The "passive" devices (calculators, watches, CD players, cameras, GPSrs, etc.) emit very weak signals of a frequency not in the range to disturb avionics. IF something goes wrong in the circuitry, then ALL BETS ARE OFF!!! That little harmless calculator COULD conceivably transmit a much stronger signal of just the right frequency to mess things up! It's a calculated risk. During cruise, the pilots have time to get the cabin crew to have passengers turn of all devices. When the plane is below 10,000 feet, it means that the pilots are very busy in what's known as a critical phase of flight. They're NOT going to have time to call an attendant and have them go through the cabin looking for a P.E.D.

 

So to avoid the possibility of something going wrong with a device during a critical phase, they have everyone turn the devices off as a precaution to minimize that risk.

 

As far as cell phones being accidentally turned on during flight, being on standby is in and of itself not a problem. But if it rings, I think it does some transmitting and then that can be a problem. Same with FRS radios... As long as the button ain't pushed to transmit, then it shouldn't be a problem. But then what if someone goes digging into the overhead bin for something and knocks their bag against the push-to-talk button in your bag...? OOOOOoooops...

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Actually, cell phones don't disturb the aircraft avionics at all. It's the FCC, not the FAA, that banned their use in flight, because the early cell phones would hit every cell in sight, and overload the system. That system is no longer in use, and the FAA plans to allow cell phone use in flight soon. God help us all - can you imagine an entire plane full of cell phone conversations happening at once? BTW, cell phones are already on many planes - they're on the seat backs, or close, and you have to pay to use them, but they're there, and don't affect the aircraft. Having to pay to use the airline's phone is just another way to make money, and has nothing to do with safety. Modern airliners are very resistant to EMI, and will keep flying on course just fine.

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Actually, cell phones don't disturb the aircraft avionics at all. It's the FCC, not the FAA, that banned their use in flight, because the early cell phones would hit every cell in sight, and overload the system.

Although, as discussed earlier, the FAA leaves the decision on passenger electronics up to the airline, their Advisory Circular on FAR91.21 does support the prohibition of cell phones (as well as other "intentional transmitters"), indicating: "The FAA supports this airborne restriction for reasons of potential interference to critical aircraft systems." Technically the FCC prohibition only applies to the phones that operate in the original cellular band around 800 MHz; the corresponding FCC rules for PCS phones in the 1900 MHz band do not include the prohibition on operation while airborne and private pilots are free to use such 'cell phones' in their planes. But use of them is still prohibited on airlines.

 

The seat-back phones on planes are quite a different system using dedicated frequencies set aside for air-ground communication with a limited number of ground stations. And of course they are subject to a certification process along with all the other aircraft electronics systems.

 

The recent tests conducted with the approval of both the FCC and FAA that may lead to approval of regular cellular/PCS phone use on airlines involves installation of a small base station on board the plane. The passenger's cellphone would therefore communicate with this base station and the base station then uses a dedicated channel for communication with a ground facility (similar to the seat-back phone system). Part of the concern with passenger cell phones is the power level. The cellphone can adjust it's output level to the minimum needed for communication, but when on a plane today, the phone needs to transmit at near its maximum power given the distance to the base station and the signal blocking by the plane's fuselage. But with a base station right on the plane, the phone will instead be commanded to operate at a minimum transmit power level. That way it'll further minimize the chance of interference with any aircraft systems (not that there's much chance of that anyway), and also avoid tying up channels on the base stations down on the ground.

 

But I agree that it won't make the flight any more comfortable for the people stuck sitting next to all the loud cellphone users (and with the reduced power level the talk-time of the phone will be greatly increased).

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Again, it USUALLY boils down to the individual airline's policy on the matter. United is one that allows them - American is one that does not. But as was mentioned earlier, it is the CAPTAIN of the particular flight which has the final say-so.

 

I do whatever I can to fly an airline that allows them, and thus assume that I am free to use my GPSr. If a specific announcement is made telling me not to use it, then we'll have to see what happens - I've never had that happen yet.

 

If you find yourself stuck on an airline that DOESN'T allow them, go ahead and ask the captain - he (or she) may say it's alright.

Edited by Neo_Geo
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God help us all - can you imagine an entire plane full of cell phone conversations happening at once? 

I suggest the Bose QuietComfort II noise cancelling headphones. They're pricy, but they work wonders on an airliner. I don't even bother connecting them to my iPod half the time--they work great without a sound source.

 

I find if I'm in the presence of a rude, loud cellphone user, it works wonders if you make eye contact with them and maintain it as long as they are talking. Most loud talkers will quiet down when they realize that someone is actively listening to their conversation. ;)

 

As for the GPS on an airliner, I keep mine with me when I travel. Most of the stews know what they are now and most are cool with it. I've only had one take an active dislike to it and I put it back in my carryon. If they tell you to turn it off, bite your tongue and do it.

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How do you make eye contact with the three persons in the row in front of you, and the three in the row behind you, plus those on each side of you, at the same time? I can't imagine a way to do it. Simple foam earplugs work well enough, but I shouldn't have to resort to them.

I find that two loud talkers in a space tend to cancel each other out so that I only have to deal with them one at a time. Plus, scribbling on a note pad as you keep eye contact really wigs them out.

 

I don't have to deal with them in threes in first class. Nothing p****s off these guys like seeing a engineer type in first class wearing sandals and jeans when they can't use their upgrade points. Who would think someone like that is executive platinum? :D

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Here's a cut and paste from this thread regarding my experience on Delta:

 

On a very recent Delta flight from New Orleans to Atlanta I had my 60CS on the lap table near my window. The flight attendant walked by, took a second look and asked what it was. I showed him our location and altitude and he thought it was just the coolest thing ever.

 

Guess he'd never seen one before.

Edited by Aristocracker
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I'm about to go on a long trip to Korea from North Dakota, and was wondering what you guys use to power your units over extended periods of time? I noticed on Delta they have some sort of power plugin, but found it is not available on all planes. Is there some kind of adapter to make the airplane plugin a regular U.S. two prong outlet? Then I could simply plugin my wall adapter to it and be good for a multitude of devices.

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I don't know if any of the other persons who have posted on this forum are pilots or not. I fly as a pilot for a fairly large airline in the US. Technically any device that TRANSMITS or RECEIVES wireless signals is not allowed to be used onboard a SCHEDULED (14CFR PART 121) airline flight unless it is part of the certified airframes required or optional equipment. There are different policies regarding other flights (corporate, charter, freight, etc.). I also do not believe that a GPSr will interfere with an aircrafts systems. I wouldn't care if someone used one on my flight. However it is not my decision to make and if a passenger asked me if they could use a GPS on board during flight I would tell them no. I actually did this about two weeks ago. It is my duty to insure the safety of my aircraft and passengers. If by some fluke something would go awry I would not want to have to answer to the NTSB, FAA, or my company why I ignored a published safety policy (even if I do disagree with it personally) that is an FAA regulation.

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Rue, that's not completely accurate. GPS and other devices can be used on Part 121 flights if the airline has determined that the device won't interfere with anything. Most airlines these days do allow use of GPS receivers. Only a few still in the dark ages, such as AA, still prohibit them. But I agree with you in that I would never jeopardize my job by permitting something that my employer has prohibited, especially considering the benefits I would gain versus the risks I would take. It ain't worth the potential problems just to keep a passenger happy. Fortunately most airlines now try to keep passengers happy by expressly permitting the use of GPS receivers, along with the other PEDs, in cruise above 10,000 ft.

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Technically any device that TRANSMITS or RECEIVES wireless signals is not allowed to be used onboard a SCHEDULED (14CFR PART 121) airline flight unless it is part of the certified airframes required or optional equipment.

Could you elaborate, please?

 

§121.306 Portable electronic devices.

 

(a) Except as provided in paragraph ( B ) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any U.S.-registered civil aircraft operating under this part.

 

( B ) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to --

 

(1) Portable voice recorders;

 

(2) Hearing aids;

 

(3) Heart pacemakers;

 

(4) Electric shavers; or

 

(5) Any other portable electronic device that the part 119 certificate holder has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.

 

© The determination required by paragraph ( B )(5) of this section shall be made by that part 119 certificate holder operating the particular device to be used.

 

[Doc. No. FAA-1998-4954, 64 FR 1080, Jan. 7, 1999]

Edited by Neo_Geo
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Let me talk to some of the "Higher Ups" this week while I am at work. I have contacts with the FAA, and the pilots union saftey comitee. Those individuals are more versed than I in this area. I am using my Company issued FAA approved flight operations manual for reference right now. I would guess (This is just a guess based on my experience with how airlines opreate) that there is not an airline out there that has taken the time or financial burden to make the determination that a 'wireless' device (GPSr) does not cause interference under 14CFR 121.306 B 5 c. I will check and follow up on this forum. Won't be back from flying until Friday night though.

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