Study: On-Board Electronics Use Dangerous

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Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say the FAA and FCC should maintain their bans on cellphone use on airliners and consider broadening the ban to computers and other non-broadcasting electronic devices. Airlines should also be compelled to install monitoring equipment so pilots can detect signals that might disrupt their instruments. The researchers found that the interference with aircraft systems caused by all electronic devices was greater than previously thought, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The team concluded that the in-flight use of electronic devices "will, in all likelihood, someday cause an accident by interfering with critical cockpit instruments such as GPS receivers." And, surprise, surprise, they discovered that not everyone obeys the current rules against cellphone use. The researchers gathered their data by putting monitoring equipment on aircraft during flight. The equipment picked up signals (including up to four cellphone calls per flight) from all the sources and the researchers said they were surprised at just how much the signals interfered with the aircraft's electronics. Previous FAA studies indicated that non-broadcast devices didn't pose any threat but the CMU study suggests otherwise. "We found that the risk posed by these portable devices is higher than previously believed," researcher Bill Strauss said in a release that announced the findings.