Experiments

Cell Phones Interfere with Plane Instruments

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Cell Phones on Planes."
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Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Never mind what the chatterbox in the seat next to you says about cell phones messing with plane navigation — those metallic birds are built airtight against foreign signals and operate on entirely different frequencies than cell phones.

So why all the fuss about phones? When you make a call at 10,000 feet, the signal bounces off multiple available cell towers, rather than one at a time. That means too many phone-happy jetsetters might clog up the networks on the ground, which is why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — not the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) — banned cell use on planes.

If you're just dying to bust out your BlackBerry mid-flight, go international. Some airlines in Europe, the Middle East and Asia now allow cell phone use in planes, but don't hold your breath for the FCC to follow suit.

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