When cell phone use was banned on planes, many of us thought the airlines were just trying to make money by forcing us to use those expensive phones built into the seat in front of us. But a pilot website has posted real experiences from flight crews who have experienced interference caused by cell phone use.

One pilot writes, “Occasionally during the taxi out, we overhear the characteristic rapid chirping of a mobile phone through our headsets. More often than not, it turns out to be a crew phone, we switch it off, then continue with no ill effects. Sometimes, however, it becomes necessary to hold clear of the runway and make (an announcement) reminding (passengers) to switch their phones off. At the very least, something back in the cabin is emitting enough of a signal to be picked up by the cockpit intercom. I think that once in a while I have observed deviations in some of the aircraft (navigation) kit while the interference is going on.”

Another pilot writes, “?We can never eliminate the possibility of an active phone on board by simply issuing instructions that all mobiles must be switched off. We either need a foolproof system of scanning for active phones (tricky because they can be ‘quiet’ for minutes at a time) or we need to ‘harden’ aircraft systems so this ceases to be a threat.”

We need to find a new way to call home.

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