Your are going to read an article about electronic devices on planes. For each question, choose from the sections (AC). The sections may be chose more than once.

The announcement ‘Please switch off all electronic equipment while the fasten seatbelt sign is on’ is one that you hear on every flight you take. However, there are passengers who consistently ignore the request, blithely continuing to listen to their mp3 player or read their e-book. Can these small devices really affect the much larger, more complex electronic systems of modern airliners? The truth is that sometimes they do.

The wide range of these personal electronic devices available means that passengers invariably carry one or more of them in their luggage when they travel. Mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers, DVD players—these are devices that passengers take to provide in-flight entertainment. Many transmit a signal, and all emit electromagnetic waves. These are the possible points of interference with aircraft systems. Moreover, some experts believe that older models of aircraft may not be able to effectively shield their systems from interference caused by newer mobile devices.

Although it is difficult to prove beyond doubt that electronic interference has played a role in some accidents, there are air safety experts who suspect that in certain incidents interference may have been a factor. For instance, in a 2003 crash, it was a mobile phone that was cited as a possible cause when its signals interfered with plane’s navigational system. The pilot that day had called home, but had not disconnected when he finished the call. His phone was on for the last three minutes of the flight, which air accident investigators believe may have caused ‘erroneous indications’ in the navigational system. These wrong readings led to the pilot veering off course and ultimately crashing. Since 2000, several pilots have filed reports with the United States Aviation Safety Reporting System which mention mobile devices. In 2007, according to one pilot’s report, the navigational system failed after take-off. Crew found a passenger using a GPS device, and asked him to turn it off. He complied and the plane’s problems disappeared.
Aviation authorities prohibit the use of these electronic devices below a height of around 3,000 metres, for the simple reason that below that height, pilots have much less time to deal with problems that may arise. Individual airlines decide their own policy for higher altitudes, based on their own reading of safety warnings. This is the current position, and it is unlikely to change until stronger evidence emerges of the effects of interference. For now, it remains to convince passengers that they must comply with current regulations; to convince them that their little phones really must be switched off on take-off or landing; to convince them that it really can affect their safety when they’re listening to music even if they’ve been asked to switch off.


In which section of the article is the following mentioned?

Premium Content

Sign in to access this content.