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Mobile phones may make planes crash: Study
Published on 10 Jun. 2011 11:14 PM IST
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Air passengers have always been sceptical that using a mobile phone while flying causes planes to crash.
But now a confidential report has revealed pilots and engineers have linked electronic devices to SEVENTY-FIVE safety incidents over the past six years. One case involved a 747 flying at 4,500ft whose automatic pilot disengaged by itself.
When flight attendants went through the cabin they found four passengers still using their electronic devices. Once switched off, the flight carried on without incident.
The study described how 'a clock spun backwards and a GPS in cabin read incorrectly while two laptops were being used nearby. 'During another flight, the altitude control readings changed rapidly until a crew member asked passengers to turn off their electronic devices.'
Older planes are most at risk to mobiles, Blackberrys and iPads, according to the study from the International Air Transport Association which ABC News has obtained. They are not as well shielded from the devices which radiate signals that can disrupt highly-sensitive navigational and communication sensors hidden in the passenger cabin.
Boeing believe planes are particularly vulnerable during take-off and in poor visibility while coming into land. They fear the electronic devices might give false readings to pilots.
Engineer David Carson told ABC: 'It could tell you were left of the runway when in fact you were right of the runway. 'Or it could wipe out the signal completely so you had no indication where you were.'
His team tested a number of electronic devices and found the signals from them exceeded the 'acceptable limits' for aircraft equipment.

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