Worker jailed for mid-air cellphone use: But Where's The Evidence?

Click to follow
The Independent Online
AFTER YEARS of experiments, how much scientific, documented evidence is there that using a mobile phone on an aircraft causes problems with the avionics?

Answer: none. "There's no evidence at all," an industry source, who declined to be named, said yesterday. In which case why are airlines so insistent that mobile phones should be turned off - to the point of prosecuting those who refuse to co-operate?

"Although there hasn't been any proof that mobile phones are dangerous, the airlines' philosophy is that it could be, and some day it will be," said David Learmount, of Flight International.

Mobile phones try to contact their networks even when not making a call, emitting radio "beeps" of up to six watts in power. In theory, at least, those beeps could interfere with the sensitive electronic systems in the aircraft's navigation, autopilot and radio systems. The Civil Aviation Authority said yesterday there have been "at least half a dozen" cases where mobiles "were believed to have affected navigation systems".

The more germane point, though, is that using a mobile phone on board an aircraft breaks British and international laws, which license mobile phones only for ground-to-ground wireless links