Mobile phones may make planes crash: Study

June 10th, 2011 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 10 (IANS) A mobile phone when kept on during a flight can actually disrupt the plane’s electronic systems and eventually lead to a crash, a study says.

The study by the International Air Transport Association says pilots and engineers have linked electronic devices to at least 75 safety incidents over the past six years.

One case involved a Boeing 747 flying at 4,500 feet whose automatic pilot disengaged by itself. When flight attendants went through the cabin, they found four passengers using electronic devices. Once they switched them off, the flight carried on without incident, the Daily Mail said.

The study described how a clock spun backwards and a GPS in the 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, it said.

The study revealed “older” planes were most at risk to mobiles, Blackberrys and iPads.

The planes were not well shielded from the devices that radiate signals that can disrupt highly-sensitive sensors in the passenger cabin.

Boeing says planes were vulnerable during take-off and in poor visibility.

“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,” engineer David Carson told ABC.

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