11 April 2013

Fun on your next airplane flight

Take your iPad, turn on Apple Maps, and track your position in real time.  Via Reddit.


  1. Unfortunately GPS is one of the forbidden devices on airplanes.
    If they figure out what you're doing you will get a good scolding.
    GPS is the one device that has a real potential to interfere with the planes electronics due to the local oscillator it uses.

    1. I never understood why you're not allowed to use GPS receivers on planes. After all, they're just receivers. The GPS signal is there anyway, the pilots would be lost without it! That said, the fact he's using an iPad in the video means it's not in airplane mode so he's "bending" the rules.

    2. I forwarded this post to my brother-in-law, who is an air traffic controller re whether such devices are forbidden. This was his answer:

      "I don't know. I've heard so many things about how cell phones and other devices affect avionics in different ways that I just don't know. What I have been told by many sources that to properly test everything would take forever and be cost-prohibitive, so the smart thing to do is just forbid everything in general, and approve a few items that have been cleared. For instance, we can't use phones and e-items at work in operational areas; Tech Ops told me years ago that the voice R/T does not affect equipment but that data streams do; last week another tech told me that, yes, controllers can hear cellphone voice bleed-over at the enroute center.

      I think that if the question is "can cell phones/iPads/etc. interfere with avionics or are the avionics protected from the signals" that the answer is YES. Both may be true simultaneously. I have no idea what signal band these gizmos use although to jump from 2GB to 4 GB speed, something happened. And that something may affect an airplanes's systems differently than the previous generation of gizmos."

    3. "I have no idea what signal band these gizmos use..."

      Did you give your brother-in-law the google speech??

  2. Yep, only an iPad and Apple Maps can do that.


  3. On Southwest flights with wi-fi you can go to a free web page "flight tracker" that contains a small Mapsquest map showing the planes position and direction and airspeed but it only updated every 30 seconds. This in comparison is a much larger, higher resolution map in real time but which they supposedly ban you from using.

  4. Nothing matters anymore anyway. I just read today that at a hacker's conference some jerk gave a presentation on how with some equipment he bought on e-bay and his Android phone, he can take over a plane's controls. The web site had pictures and video from the presentation.

    The FAA says it can't be done, so maybe there is hope.


  5. I find it extremely hard to believe that an airline would allow a device to be carried on by multiple passengers that would interfere with the safe operation of the aircraft.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...