Contrary to most airline announcements, it is not unsafe to use a mobile phone on an aeroplane. On most flights, a few cellphones are left on by mistake, and the avionics systems on modern aircraft are hardened against radio interference anywhere. The real reason that mobile phones a band is because they disrupt the networks on the ground — imagine a few hundred cellphone users flying at great speed across the city and needing to be transferred en mass every few seconds from one base station to another. The networks just couldn’t keep up. But it’s just a case of technology. What will be happening in the next few years is mobile base stations installed in aeroplanes with the hulls of the aeroplane shielded to stop the phones connecting to ground base stations. This is currently being tested by WirelessCabin. Its about time!

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