PDAs in flight

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by icemann, Aug 27, 2003.

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  1. icemann

    icemann Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    French's Forest, NSW
    Has anyone ever used a PDA in flight, and if so, what are your experiences ?

    I know that there's a new PDA/phone that was featured in the Qantas in-flight mag (Sony Ericsson T-330 ?) last month, with an 'in-flight mode'. This means that you can use the other features of the device, whilst having the mobile phone part switched off.

    Some FAs don't understand them and a friend's was recently scrutinised on an Emirates flight as to whether his would interfere with the plane's systems. (and a few electronic engineers disagree on this, as some kind of conspiracy to make us use the $10 US a minute airphones.)

    Now, I am not that technologically blessed, so please forgive any mistakes - I was wondering as to what the full story is here, because in the USA, it seems that they're allowed under current FAA regulations, as long as they are a wireless device and not using a cellphone signal.

    As far as I understand, when they're in range of a transmitter, they'll pick up the signal and then they can connect, but if you go using your cellphone to connect to the net, that's a no-no. Obviously.

  2. straitman


    Apr 27, 2003
    SE Oz (Sale)
    Flight Map:
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    My understanding is that CASA does not have an official policy on "bluetooth" units as no one really knows the consequences of their use. Last I heard was that "they are under review."

    Not sure if that actually helps at all or just muddies the water some more :!:

  3. trevor_s

    trevor_s Newbie

    Aug 17, 2003
    Townsville, QLD, Aus.
    I use my IPAQ 3970 all the time on QAA, it has BT built in but I have the BT radio turned off. Occasionaly I use the fold up keyboard with it to type notes etc but often I use it to read an e-book, play a game, listen to MP3s etc. I find it more convenient then a notebook. Never had any queries from Attendants. I don't turn it on to we get to altitude and turn it off when they request.
  4. redrat

    redrat Member

    Apr 26, 2003
    I watched a test pilot use his on the flight deck during a test flight a month ago. I don't know what type of phone/pda it was but nothing happened to the flight instruments when he used it. :?
    Airlines have been carrying out tests for quite some time now on the 802.11b wireless standard and it's well known that businessmen often leave the BT activated on their laptops when using them inflight.
    The flight instruments are quite well protected within their own magnetic cage and the only time I've ever seen a problem is when I was using one of the first digital phones in use on the flightdeck (on ground) in a B744 and when it rang, the messaging system reset. It may have been a coincidence but I think not.
    The other problem with cell phones is when it's left on in your briefcase and the interference from the phone searching for a cell station interferes with the VHF antennas. I once saw a FA come down the aisle, open a particular overhead and demand to know who left their cell phone on in any of the bags up there. :oops:

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