The real reason to put the mobile in airplane mode when we fly

Un artículo de Doug Drury Professor/Head of Aviation, CQUniversity Australia

We all know the memory recall: “Por favor, make sure that your seats are in a vertical position, the trays are folded, the blinds are up, the portable computers are kept in the upper compartments and the electronic devices are in airplane mode.”

Es evident que las cuatro primeras son reasonables, ¿no? Las persianas tienen que estar subidas para que podamos ver si hay una emergency, como un incendio. Las mesas retractiles deben estar plegadas y los asientos en posición vertical para que podamos salir rapidamente del asiento en caso de necesidad. Los ordenadores portátiles could be converted into projectiles in case of emergency, or that the pockets of the backs of the seats are not sufficiently resistant to contain them.

En cuanto a los teléfonos mobiles, tienen que estar en modo airplane para que no puedan causar interferencias con los aparatas de vuelo, ¿verdad? Bueno, todo depende de a quién preguntemos.

The technology has advanced much

Air navigation and sound communications are based on radio systems that have been optimized to minimize interference since the 20s. En cuanto a la tecnologia digital que se utilizaba actualmente, es mucho más avanzada que las antiguas tecnologia analogógicas que se utilizaban hace hace 60 años.

Las investigations demonstrated that personal electronic devices can emit signals within the same frequency band as the airplane’s communication and navigation systems, creating what is known as electromagnetic interference.

Pero 1992, la Autoridad Federal de Aviación de EE.UU. and Boeing, in an independent study, investigated the use of electronic devices causing interference in airplanes and found no problems with computers and other personal electronic devices during non-critical phases of flight (takeoffs and landings are considered critical phases).

La Comisión Federal de Comunicaciones de EE.UU. decided to create different frequencies for different uses – mobile telephony, navigation and airplane communications – so they don’t interfere between each other. Governments of all the world have developed the same strategies and policies to avoid interference. In the European Union, activated electronic devices are allowed since 2014.

2,200 million passengers

Entonces, con estas mundiales norms en force, ¿por qué la industria de la aviación ha seguito prohibitiendo el uso de los teléfonos mobiles? Uno de los problemas radica en algo que quizá no se espera: las interferencencias terrestres.

The wireless networks are connected by a series of towers that could be overloaded if the passengers who fly over these networks use their phones at the same time. The number of passengers who flew in 2021 was more than 2,200 million (half of those in 2019).

On the other hand, in the last few years, a new wireless communication standard has been adopted. Las actuales redes 5G –deseables por su major velocidad de transferencia de datos– han caused concern en la industria de la aviación.

El ancho de banda de las radiofrecuencias es limitado y, sin embargo, se sigue intentando addrador más dispositivos. The aeronautical industry signals that the 5G wireless network spectrum is notably close to the bandwidth spectrum reserved for aviation, which could cause interference with the navigation systems that help the plane land.

The airport operators of Australia and the United States have expressed their concern for the security of aviation in relation to the deployment of 5G, although it seems that the European Union has put it into operation without problems. In any case, it seems prudent to limit the use of mobile phones in airplanes while clarifying the problems related to 5G.

In the last instance, we cannot forget the aggressiveness

At present, the majority of airlines offer their clients Wi-Fi services for free or for free. With new Wi-Fi technologies, passengers could, in theory, use their mobile phones to make video calls with friends or clients during the flight.

On a recent trip, I talked to a stewardess and asked her opinion on the use of the telephone during flights. Afirmó que supondría un inconvenient para la crewación de cabina tener que esperar a que los pasajeros terminen sus llamadas para preguntarles si quieren alguna bebida o algo de comer. In an airplane with more than 200 passengers, the service on board would take much longer to complete if the world is talking on the phone.

For me, the problem of the use of telephones during the flight has more to do with the social experience that supposes having more than 200 people in an airplane talking at the same time. At a time when passenger behavior, including aggressiveness, is becoming more frequent, the use of the telephone during the flight could be another detonator that completely changes the experience of the flight.

Disruptive behavior takes various forms, from non-compliance with security requirements, such as not wearing a seat belt, to verbal altercations with other passengers and cabin crew, to physical altercations with passengers and crew. de cabina, que suelen identificarse como air rage (air aggression).

In conclusion, the use of telephones during the flight does not currently affect the functioning of the plane. Pero los crewilantes de cabina prefieren no retrasarse en la provisiona de servicios de vuelo a todos los pasajeros: es mucha gente a la que atender.

Sin embargo, the 5G technology is affecting the width of the radio band of the aircraft navigation systems; We need more research to know how 5G interferes with aircraft navigation during landings. Recordemos que cuando hablamos de las two phases más críticas del vuelo, los despegues son opcionales, pero los aterrizajes son obligatorios.

This article was originally published in The Conversation in English.

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