When it comes to cell phones, there are many different stories of misuse, issues, and safety issues, such as pumping gas while on the phone or cell phones causing cancer. Although it is better to be safe than sorry, many people have a hard time determining what the truth is and what is fear. Since the cell phone first became used by the masses, airlines have worried about the impacts of cell usage and created guidelines and bans to keep lives safe. The Federal Communications Commission released a ban on cell phone usage due to the potential for ground network interference, as well to make passengers feel more comfortable. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the devices because the organization believes that emitted radio signals could interfere with aircraft communication and navigation.
We know that cell phones transmit electromagnetic energy to cell towers miles away on a frequency different from airline communications. It is not guaranteed that the phone will stay on that frequency, which may present a chance for both communication and navigation systems to be affected. However, despite the regulations and ban, there is still no concrete evidence backing this theory up.
Since 2003, the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautic has been researching and examining evidence to determine whether cell-phone use could pose a hazard in the air. To this day, there has not been enough evidence to form a definitive conclusion. To be safe, the FCC continues its ban on cell phones.
In an interview with The Telegraph, US pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith, opened up about whether cell phones or other electromagnetic devices could interfere with airline flights.
“It depends on the gadget,” Smith answered. He agreed that the rule is more of a caution than anything, as we do not know for sure. The pilot furthered saying that while computers do emit harmful energy, they also pose a significant risk to become a high-speed projectile during a sudden deceleration or impact.
When asked whether cellular communications could disrupt or inhibit cockpit equipment, Smith answered, “Potentially, yes. But in all likelihood, no.” Smith asserted that aircrafts are created with such issues in mind and that there were no cases of the theory happening.
“But you never know,” Smith followed.