Cellphones Get Air-Friendly

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Aviation and cellphones don't always mix well but there are some hopeful signs that's changing. As AVweb reported earlier, the FAA is doing its best (which isn't enough in some circumstances) to ensure pilots have the correct numbers for filing flight plans and getting information. Headset manufacturers are also incorporating cellphone jacks into their less-expensive models so that pilots can make use of their time on the ramp getting weather, making appointments or whatever. And the last bastion of cellphone silence, the cabin of an airliner, may soon echo to the rings, chirps and melodies of cellphone ringers. ARINC Inc. and Telenor ASA announced this week they will soon offer airlines a system that will allow passengers to use cellphones in flight. The system will integrate cellphone service into the satellite-based phone systems already installed on about 3,000 aircraft worldwide. A passenger's cellphone would "roam" into the airliner's system and be able to send and receive calls as well as text messaging. The phone's owner would then be billed for the high-altitude roaming charges. There was no mention of the effect of multiple cellphones on the aircraft's systems or whether there's a GA application for the new technology.