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So I am getting ready to catch a flight here in a few hours, and ... IT & Business Pros forum

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    Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

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    So I am getting ready to catch a flight here in a few hours, and for some reason this pops into my mind...and I am actually surprised I haven't seen it posted here before...

    How many of you have used your Blackberry or cell phone while on a plane?

    I am trying to remember where I read or came across a story about cell phones on planes before, but if I remember correctly, it went something like this:

    The use of cell phones on a plane will cause the plane to crash is pure fiction. The main reason that you aren't wanted to use cell phones while in the air is because of the following (I love consipracy theories):
    When you are in the plane, you are flying above the towers, and in some way, can't remember how it was explained, but pretty much it was saying that the cell companies would have no way to track the calls you were making or where you were making them to. The story went onto say that you could feesibly be in the air, call China, and as long as you were over the towers, they couldn't charge you for the call.

    They compared this to the same reason why cell towers are mounted on top of the highest buildings in a city or on the mountains surrounding cities. So that the top of the towers reach high enough that no floors in other buildings would be above the top of the cell phone towers. (If I am not mistaken, cell phone towers were mounted on the top of the WTC in New York, and the towers falling was a major reason for the "cell phone blackout" in the days following September 11th).

    I cannot remember where I saw this or read this, but I do know it was about maybe 4 years ago, if not longer. If I am not mistaken it was a test that was done by MIT or ITT students or something. If anyone happens to know what I am talking about and knows a link for this, please let me know.

    SO, I guess I have a two part question.

    A: Have you ever used a cell phone or Blackberry while on a plane? Share any experiences you may have or whatnot.

    B: Do you believe or do you have knowledge on whether the "Above the Towers" hypothesis actually is true or not, and why or why not do you think it would be true.

    I am interested in seeing what answers people may have for this.

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    I tried to use my cell and BlackBerry while on a trip from Florida to Nevada and it did not work at all. Nextel has "Airplane Mode" on most of their phones, and I asked if I could use it if I turned it on and then said "NO!" So I was sneaky and turned it on anyway, put it on silent just in case and took pictures with one phone, and played games with the BB. Neither would connect to service at all.

    One thing I heard, rumor may be, is that a cell tower points down, not up, so how would it be possible for a phone to catch a signal at such a high altitude?

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    Ok, I had a few free minutes at work, so I googled it...Here's one of the better articles I found:

    "We're back to the old nonsense about the dangers of mobile phones on planes, aren't we? We're dealing with those routine announcements that "electronic equipment can be a danger to navigation, so please ensure your cell phone is switched off until you are in the terminal building." We're dealing with people who sincerely, totally and truly believe that if you switch on your cell phone at 35,000 feet, the plane will likely veer off course and plunge into the ocean.

    Using a cell phone on a plane is one of those theoretical dangers. There is some evidence to suggest that, under a combination of circumstances, on some types of planes, in a certain situation, some instrumentation might be affected by a nearby cell phone and, if that particular instrumentation were critical to dealing with an unusual emergency, then things might go wrong.

    However, to completely forbid the use of cell phones on planes seems extreme. For example, you'd never expect a pilot to be happy flying with a co-pilot who kept a pet wasp in the cockpit, but banning all fruit on all flights might seem a tad excessive as a way of preventing this. It's also perfectly possible that someone might trip over a Persian rug and break a bone, but again, to insist on bare floors in all buildings seems an odd way to deal with the risk.

    So, the news that Europe has finally decided to sponsor the Wireless Cabin project is a simple victory for common sense. First off, if you didn't realize that people routinely travel with fully powered-up cell phones in their carry-on luggage, simply forgetting to switch them off, then you must be that strange person who can sleep in airplane seats. If an operating cell phone could crash planes, they'd all be at the bottom of the ocean.

    I have never, once, been on a flight where the pilot said, "Emergency! Someone has a working cell phone, and all our equipment is going haywire! Find this piece of equipment and disable it immediately!" And there's a pretty good reason why they wouldn't. No, it's not that it would terrify the passengers. It's because the pilot has no idea whether there is a working cell phone on board. (Actually, if there is one, it's probably in his pocket.)

    Yes, the theoretical danger remains, and can never be ruled out. But the real reason you're asked to switch off your phone is that from 35,000 feet, it will broadcast to a couple hundred cells on the ground, and all of them will attempt to register your phone with headquarters. In other words, it's the phone operators who find it a problem."

    Courtesy of EWeek

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    I believe Melissaox just recently flew. She may have something to add to this thread.

    And i also remember the 911 victims were able to use there cell phones. A lot of the calls were recorded to the 911 operators. So it is possible to get a signal on a plane.

    But like I said earlier, I would ask Melissaox.She may be able to shed some light on this subject.

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~
    I believe the 911 victims used the airplane phone with credit card. I've flown quite a few times since getting a cell phone, had Nextel and Tmo, and never been able to even get a signal when in the air. I always play games, or type emails to send when I land. Now I just turn wireless off, and I actually has a flight attendant tell me to turn off my phone. When I showed her my wireless was off, she said it was ok.

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    Yea i just flew to Chicago from LA last week and was not able to get a signal once we passed 5000 feet.....:cry:
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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    There are companies that are talking about putting low power cell stations in commercial aircraft to provide cellular service in the aircraft. This stations would use a satellite link to connect to the ground network and would have add on charges, similar to roaming charges. The major problem with cell phones on aircraft, other than possible interference with GPS signals, which while possible is not probable, would be on approach, where your can probably pick up service, but are passing in and out of cells so fast that the network/phone can't keep up with the transitions. Dang, that's a long sentence. Anyway that's what I have seen discussed in the Avaition Industry Magazines.

    Rcbjr.

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    When I flew Delta they asked for all electronics, including BBs, CD Players, DVD playes, laptops, and DSs, to be turned off during landing and take off.

    Once we were up in the air they said we could turn stuff back on. I was naughty and never actually turned off my BB. Neither did my friend actually turn off her DS. I did keep my wireless off most of the time. Neither myself nor my friend could get signal on our phones. She snuck hers back on, as cell phones were not supposed to be turned on, but it was ok to turn on smart phones and PDAs.

    Needless to say the plane did not crash from the interference from the DS or BB. I think the main reason they ask to turn them off is to make you put them away. I just kept my BB in the case in my pocket each time.

    The whole tower can't hold you thing.... doesn't the phone have to connect to a tower and be held by it to make a call?
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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    It needs to connect and hold long enough to connect then when you change from cell to cell the call is supposed to be passed off seamlessly, but that doesn't always happen (Dropped Call), especially if your going through the cells very fast.

    Hope this helps.
    Rcbjr.

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    To my understanding radio towers form a type of umbrella signal so you wont get signal above them. I've also left my on during various flights I guess it all depends where your at. Usually it dies pretty quickly... upon take off. I have gotten 'beeps' or voice mails upon landing and usually you hear a couple of phones beep as well.

    What they do allow in PR is to talk thru the phone when the airplane is taxing?

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    I sent a quick message to Ask Me Now, and they repied with the same response we seem to be getting. A cell tower shoots signal out and down, an umbrella as mentioned by p2, and cannot push the signal up to the height of an airplane.

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    Re: Have You Ever Used Your BB/Cell Phone While On A Plane

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~i do remember them talking about allowing cellular service in flights and the only real arguement was the annoyance factor. Also I was talking to a friend of mine who pilots airlines anmd he said that there are a couple reasons they want you to turn off all electronics for take off and landings. The main reason is so you will pay attention to the stewards and stewardess' when the give the emergency instructions. The other is so that your sh*t don't go flying everywhere.

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