An unintended consequence of the Department of Transportation’s proposed rule banning cellphone use on aircraft could prevent business aviation passengers from using their mobile devices for in-flight voice calling. The DOT’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking is aimed at calming airline passengers who are concerned that allowing voice calling would make travel even more uncomfortable if they are forced to listen to seatmates’ calls.
Like those in the U.S., European airlines are rolling out guidelines to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED) during all phases of flight. The European Aviation Safety Agency is also looking for a long-term solution that will allow passengers to make telephone calls from their mobile devices as well. If approved, the ability to make cellphone calls would be allowed only on European carriers.
The FAA has published a draft study of the effects of cellphone use for voice communications in aircraft used for scheduled transportation and is seeking public comments (due by November 5). While the agency currently doesn’t approve installation of mobile phone base stations on airliners, other countries’ “civil aviation authorities reported no confirmed occurrences of cellphones affecting flight safety on aircraft with onboard cellular telephone base stations,” according to the study.
The case of an Apple iPhone spontaneously combusting while an Australian Regional Express Saab 340B was taxiing to the gate at Sydney was due to an improper repair, according to a report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). The news spread rapidly around the world after the incident on Nov.
Oh, Alec! You’ve gone and done it now. When you got kicked off that American Airlines flight on December 6 because you didn’t want to turn off your phone and stop playing Words With Friends and got mad at the flight attendant and slammed the bathroom door, well, you exposed the airlines’ dirty little secret, didn’t you?
The market for in-flight connectivity is about to step up a gear as passenger power pushes demand to be able to use personal smart phones, laptops and tablet devices, according to leading provider OnAir.
OnAir (Stand 1635) is installing its Mobile OnAir connectivity system in Comlux’s Airbus ACJ319. The system will allow passengers to use their mobile phones and smartphones in flight, when the aircraft enters service in January next year. The service enables calls, text messages, email and Internet surfing. Usage is billed by the passenger’s mobile operator.
The $12,500 price tag on ASiQ’s mobile phone app might seem pricey, but by comparison with the $500,000 private jet mobile phone systems currently in service, it seems reasonable.
OnAir has signed its first executive contract and will provide its Mobile OnAir package for installation in an Airbus A319 owned by a Middle East customer. Using GPRS and GMS networks, the service will provide full voice and data connectivity, allowing in-flight use of BlackBerry-type devices and personal cellphones.
WSI yesterday introduced Pilotbrief Mobile, which provides the company’s aviation weather and hazard information in a format compatible with mobile devices such as the BlackBerry, Treo and iPhone. Costing $9.95 per month, the service does not require installation of an application and is compatible with the Internet browsers found on most mobile phones.
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