Airplanes and EMI: Unsafe?

Nancy Anderson
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There has been rather a lot of discussion in the past couple years about the danger posed to aircraft by electromagnetic interference (EMI) from personal electronics, such as cellular phones and laptops. It seems that the industry waffles back and forth on the issue, releasing contradicting studies every so often. So, yes, it’s the topic of some debate, and is certainly keeping large numbers of researchers and engineers employed for the time being.

IEEE Spectrum published an article on the 18th that asks questions about the actual danger posed by the operation of cellular phones on modern aircraft. It should be noted, of course, that the European Aviation Safety Agency lifted the ban on cellular phones on inflight aircraft, so long as those aircraft were equipped with approved equipment.

More and more, the average traveller is demanding to be connected electronically with the rest of the world, no matter where they might be. Employees in transit for longer durations (such as the case with those who fly frequently for business purposes) want to be able to maximize their available time, and so working during a flight is very enticing, but places heavy communication demands on the remote worker.
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Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.



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