AN aviation expert has revealed why it’s still crucial for mobile phones to be in aeroplane mode when you fly.
Over the last few years, a number of experts have claimed that mobile phone signals no longer interfere with signals on planes.
According to Doug Drury, the Head of Aviation at CQUniversity Australia, a lot of work went into both testing the safety of mobile phones on planes and separating their frequency to air traffic control.
He told The Conversation: “Personal electronic devices can emit a signal within the same frequency band as the aircraft’s communications and navigation systems, creating what is known as electromagnetic interference.
“But in 1992, the US Federal Aviation Authority and Boeing, in an independent study, found no issues with computers or other personal electronic devices during non-critical phases of flight.
“The US Federal Communications Commission also began to create reserved frequency bandwidths for mobile phones and aircraft navigation and communications – so they do not interfere with one another.”
However, thanks to the rise in 5G, question marks have been raised about the safety of mobile phones on flights once again.
According to Professor Drury, it’s because the 5G bandwith is much closer to that used by the aviation industry.
He said: “Current 5G wireless networks – desirable for their higher speed data transfer – have caused concern for many within the aviation industry.
“Radio frequency bandwidth is limited, yet we are still trying to add more new devices to it.
“The aviation industry points out that the 5G wireless network bandwidth spectrum is remarkably close to the reserved aviation bandwidth spectrum, which may cause interference with navigation systems near airports that assist with landing the aircraft.
“Either way, it is prudent to limit mobile phone use on planes while issues around 5G are sorted out.”
5G isn’t the only reason for concern over phones on planes though.
In recent years, even airlines like Ryanair have begun to warn passengers about bringing their mobiles onto aircraft, because of fires caused by the batteries.
The dangers of electrical devices overheating while in the air are considered so serious that they are being included in the safety briefing before take-off.
The information has been added to the airline’s pre-flight safety message, alongside what to do in case of emergency.
Passengers are being asked to inform flight attendants if their device overheats, or is lost in the seats.
It is thought that the new message is now a more important part of the pre-flight briefing than the part about life jackets, with the buoyancy aids only used in extreme circumstances.
With overheating devices potentially causing fires on board, they are seen as more of an immediate threat than landing in water.