"Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interference"

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stratofreighter
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"Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interference"

Post by stratofreighter »

Airliner Flown 'Four Miles Off Course' After iPhone Interference, Claims Pilot
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05 ... 91186.html
According to Bloomberg, the pilot of a regional airliner in the US has claimed that an iPhone caused its navigation systems to go "haywire" before a passenger was persuaded to turn it off.

The unidentified co-pilot told Nasa's Aviation Safety Reporting System that the incident in 2011 was a shocking demonstration of how consumer gadgets can damage navigation instruments.
Also see:
http://www.technobuffalo.com/2013/05/16 ... ne-glitch/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-1 ... rence.html

:arrow: http://www.37000feet.com/report/950259/ ... passengers has the original report by the pilot.

Some doubts are expressed at http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/1 ... t-science/ though...

BigJets
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by BigJets »

So in other words the airliner flew four miles off course because the pilot was playing with his iPhone and got distracted?
:roll: :lol:

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KriVa
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by KriVa »

At last, one of these reports gets decent media coverage.
There have been numerous reports over the year, and one of our captains even demonstrated the interference to me on the ground. Too bad people don't believe this, mainly because it's often hit and miss.
Thomas

Acid-drop
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by Acid-drop »

The result of an interference is no signal (or some parts missiong). There is no such thing as bad or wrong signal in the digital world.
Now, we can only hope the communications are digital...

From the lastest survey, 30% of pax dont turn off their phone.
That is what we can call an intesive testing and a definite proof that there is no risk at all.
My messages reflect my personal opinion which may be different than yours. I beleive a forum is made to create a debate so I encourage people to express themselves, the way they want, with the ideas they want. I expect the same understanding in return.

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KriVa
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by KriVa »

The interference I was talking about, was an ADF going crazy while tuned to a station.
It didn't provide a steady signal, though.
Thomas

appel
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by appel »

i don't know your background but is very easy for an ADF needle to be changing constantly

jan_olieslagers
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by jan_olieslagers »

ADF is indeed the least stable of all electronic navaids. I should like to learn how the crew could be sure it was some handheld electronic device that caused this particular malfunction, among so many potential disturbances; and even if that was clear, how they could pick out his particular one. They must have been very able AND well equipped AND have had a fair amount of time to spare. Slightly unlikely, don't you think, Dr. Watson?

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KriVa
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by KriVa »

We did indeed have a few hours to kill on the ground, and were tuned to a stable signal.
Before trying it, the ADF needle was totally stable, during our little "experiment", it fluctuated like we were flying over a thunderstorm.
Yes, I know ADF needles are pretty easy to influence, but when they are tuned to a stable signal, they become predictable. The motion I am talking about, was far from predictable.
Thomas

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earthman
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by earthman »

My question would rather be, was the interference from the radio part of the iPhone, or was it in flight mode and did the interference come from another part of the device? If it was the radio part, was it the cellular radio? The WiFi? Bluetooth? NFC (if the iPhone has that)?

appel
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by appel »

no nfc for the iphone so far
and i think it would be strange if it was the wifi signal, even in flight mode its possible to get wifi signals on your phone. I don't know if bluetooth is available while in flight mode.

i have even flown with a captain who forgot to turn his cellphone off (he noticed at about 5000' in the climb) and realy nothing happened

Stij
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by Stij »

No aviation expert, but I've flown a couple of times...

There's absolutely no passenger flight operated by a plane larger than a EMB135 where all phones, computers and tablets were switched off...

So, if it really could harm the saferty of our flights, a lot of crashes would have happened already and wifi / gsm / bluetooth signal sensors would have been installed already.

Cheers,

Stij

teddybAIR
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by teddybAIR »

Nice safety culture: "Oh what the hell! It has worked a zillion times, so why would it fail now?" :)

On a 10NM wide airway, being 6NM off center would already place you in a position where obstacle clearance is reduced since the primary area concentrates 2,5NM either side of the centerline. And that is just assuming the airplane is flying along an airway and not on an arrival or approach procedure. In a holding procedure for instance, obstacle clearance is completely lost when 6NM of course. Now, regardless of obstacle clearance, there is also the issue of separation. If a phenomenon can result an aircraft in flying 6NM of course in a non-predictable pattern, then that has serious consequences for separation on the one hand and airspace capacity on the other.

I'm not pretending that I know the ins & outs, but if a phenomenon poses a risk to aviation, then that risk needs to be thoroughly understood and precautions should be made in function of 1) the probability of occurence and 2) the severity of the consequences. All the rest is food foor tabloids.

Stij
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by Stij »

teddybAIR wrote:Nice safety culture: "Oh what the hell! It has worked a zillion times, so why would it fail now?" :)
Safety is about statistics.

NO flights have crashed because of cell phone incidents.
Flights DO have crashed due to adverse weather conditions.

I mean: aviation faces a lot of larger problems and risks then Iphones.
And because the only thing airliners do about Iphones is gently asking you to switch it off (they don't even check it as they check your seat belt), I think they know this very well!

Cheers,

Stij

teddybAIR
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Re: "Airliner six kilometres off course due iPhone interfere

Post by teddybAIR »

You are correct that it is about statistics. If we are confronted with sufficient reasons to suspect that cell phone interference is increasingly becoming a problem for the Navigation Performance of aircraft, then this trend should be analysed. After analysis, the outcome may very well be that no measures need to be taken. However, statements like "this has never led to an accident before, so it will not in the future" are not acceptable. Any idea how far 6NM is? You can imagine that it starts to pose a risk when flying in IMC in mountainous terrain.

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