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HeliTorque Forum Index » Corporate & VIP

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Cell phones and helicopters
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GSM
Shy 'Torquer
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject: Cell phones and helicopters Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I'm a "newbee" on this forum which I find very interesting.
Just to present briefly myself :
I live in France and I work in the aeronautic industry.
I'm interested in the helicopters in general, and specifically in technical aspects.

I'd like to know what is the regulation about cell phone use during helicopters flights. Is it forbidden as for commercial planes? What are the known and/or suspected dangers ?

Maybe some of you pilot for Corporate & VIP applications and have some stories about this...

Thanks for your answers.
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Average_Bloke
'Torquing Regularly
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As fas I am aware, in Australia, there are no restrictions for private ops. As I understand there is the suggestion that phone signals may interfere with nav equipment but I don't know that this is actually proven....a bit like the belief that answering your phone while fuelling your car will result in a fireball!!!!
I did read somewhere that QANTAS were going to trial passenger use of mobile phones during flight.
Mobile phones have progressed since the early days...from analogue to CDMA to 3G/GSM...I'm not a tech so don't know whether these changes make them more or less compatable with aviation systems.
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McBad
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW I know that mobile phones, when they ring, cause interference in the radio / headsets in the R22s I'm training in.

It is quite noticeable although I didn't recognise it immediately as a phone ringing (perhaps my instructors' has a strange ringtone!). I try and remember to turn mine off before I get in. Not sure if there are any regs about it.

Cheers,

M
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afterburner
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:48 pm    Post subject: Cellphones Reply with quote

Here in the US, The U.S. Federal Communications Commission prohibits the use of mobile telephones aboard any aircraft in flight.

As far as I know, in the UK, they are still banned but approval for use has been granted. However, it does not mean YOU can use your own cellphone, but rather aircraft will have special equipment installed to allow mobile calls to be made. Read this for update:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7314362.stm.

If you remember (even if you don't). Back in the ole days, we did have mobile phones available in the aircraft for passenger use. It cost a fortune to make a call but you could. Many airlines have removed them to save weight, and due to low usage, but it seems that we may be headed back that way.....at least in airliners.

NASA did a study. There is no smoking gun to this story: there is no definitive instance of an air accident known to have been caused by a passenger's use of an electronic device. Nonetheless, although it is impossible to say that such use has contributed to air accidents in the past, the data also make it impossible to rule it out completely

CAA also had something to say about cellphones. "The signals that a mobile phone gives out could penetrate into equipment, and could affect the operation of the computer. The computer may shut down, which would affect the aircraft's navigation, which in turn would affect the signals sent to the auto pilot, and the way the aircraft is automatically flown. The aircraft might go off course, and even might change height."

I can see the logic of preventing use of a cellphone aboard a large passenger aircraft heavily laded down with sophisticated and sensitive electonic equipment, but I don't think that a cellphone would cause any grave peril in an R-22 or Schweizer 300.

Um.....I wonder if they did a study to find out if the bathroom toilet might not flush at altitude ??????? Now that could be trouble !!!

AB'S RECOMMENDATION: You have enough to do flying the aircraft and watching for traffic. Why would you want to distract yourself trying to have a conversation with someone on the phone? You could miss a tower call, ATC instruction, or the shout of another plane trying to tell you that you are headed for them. My phone stays off UNLESS in some emergency the radios go out and I need to use it to contact ATC. In an emergency, you can deviate from any rule or regulation to the extent needed to meet the emergency. Don't make it a habit.

Safe flying
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Bell 47-206, Schweizer 300/500, Citation 525
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animalsticks
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Afterburner i really like your posts, you research well and give great info about things CAA aswell - are you a lawyer or journalist? - i'm impressed

When i fly i put my phone on flight mode which deactivates all connections and it becomes pretty much a digital camera with phone book.

i've asked the wife - she's checking (Chloe is an engineer at BHX)
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Catwoman
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does that mean though that a "passenger" in the back of a heli can use a mobile phone ?
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afterburner
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:16 am    Post subject: Cellphones Reply with quote

Animalsitcks,
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I enjoy helping other pilot's. Even after 33 years of punching holes in the sky, there is always something I can learn from others as well. A good pilot never stops learning. Laughing
No, I am not a lawyer, but do write aviation articles from time to time, and also lecture on aviation safety topics.

Cat,
NO. Passengers are forbdden as well. The PIC is charged with enforcing all the rules as stated. If the rule states that a cellphone cannot be used aboard the aircraft, that includes everyone, no exceptions.....unlesss as I stated....in an emergency.

I expect the rule will change in the future. With the improvements in cellpone design and the shielding of the modern electronics, someone will figure out that a cellphone can't hurt anything.

Unfortumately, there exists liability for the person who says that it is ok. If any accident occurs which is attributable to the cellphone, that person is left holding the bag!
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Bell 47-206, Schweizer 300/500, Citation 525
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