FAA Tells Pilots to Turn Off Their Cell Phones
The FAA has released a safety advisory recommending pilots turn off cell phones in the cockpit. Passengers are well-versed in powering off before takeoff, but during a recent en-route inspection, the first officer's cellphone began ringing as the aircraft sped down the runway for takeoff. The advisory states:
During the takeoff phase, just prior to reaching V1, a rather loud "warbling" sound was detected by both crewmembers. It was later determined that the sound came from the First Officer's cellular phone, which had been left in the ON position. As a result, the ring tone caused a distraction between the crewmembers during the takeoff phase and could have led the crew to initiate an unnecessary rejected takeoff.This is probably not an isolated incident; in fact, the crew had never been instructed to turn off cell phones in the cockpit and their general operating manual did not address it.
The fact that pilots keep their phones active in the cockpit, the hub of all aircraft controls and communications equipment, casts a dubious light on the passenger cell phone rule. If you've ever doubted that leaving your cell phone on would cause some sort of in-air failure, this event proves that such claims are unfounded. In reality, the rule about in-flight cell phone use comes in part from the FCC in order to prevent wireless interference on the ground. That theoretical interference could never be conclusively proven, and both the FAA and the FCC proposed lifting the ban with the condition that each airline demonstrate that every possible cell phone model would not interfere with flight systems in each aircraft model.
Which airline would want to spend the time and money on the investigation only to have already cramped and ornery passengers now yammering away on their phones? What passenger would want that? [From: Wall Street Journal Via: Textually]