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Cell phones and bluetooth (headset thing)


Rick_Michael
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Currently I have a bose headset, which I think is much better than most other headsets.

 

I've been looking at the Lightspeed Zulu, especially for it's bluetooth compatibility. Since my current phone doesn't have bluetooth, I'm also thinking of buying a new phone. I'm not a vet in the sky, nor have I made phone calls while flying...I'm wondering how realistic is the useability of bluetooth w/ones headset?

 

Have you ever received/made a call from 2-3k feet ? Do you think this is a credible way to make phone calls to the FSS, ATIS, people on the ground, or ATC if needed in emergency (e.g radio failure)? Or is it an investment that won't reap any benefits from bluetooth capability?

 

It just sounds so much more convient to quickly call using my cell phone, rather than flip the radio frequencies constantly.....

 

If anyone has experience with this (especially with the Zulu headset)...please share.

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I supose you can use your phone or other device provided you are not operating under an air carrier certificate or operating certificate.

 

That said, I don't think I would make random phone calls while flying either. Although, it could serve as a good tool to have handy if you need to make a call. For example, radio failure. While a portable com radio would work better.

 

Still a nice option to have.

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I have a Zulu and the blue tooth works exceptionally well. My wife doesn't even hear when I call from the helicopter (EC120). Now the Zulu headset is much better than the Bose X, I used them before and it's a day and night difference. Even without the blue tooth, the Zulu is the best.

 

By the way I had a service issue with them, I had them back within 5 days!! And I'm in Ireland.

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Just a warning about Blue Tooth - I have Blue Tooth equipment for the computer & I have to constantly reinstall. It has not proven, at least for the computer, reliable.

 

The Bluetooth stack for XP and Vista is notoriously unreliable.

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Embedded systems are generally much more reliable than PCs. I would use a cell phone in flight only in emergencies, when the radio didn't work. One great advantage of having a bluetooth-enabled cell phone is the ability to use it hands-free in the car. I have a Sony stereo with bluetooth, and when it pairs automatically with my cell phone, it answers calls automatically, and mutes the audio. If I'm listening to a CD, it automatically pauses that, and when the call is finished, it hangs up and resumes the audio. The mike is in the radio, and all I have to do is talk. I don't even have to touch the radio to answer or hang up. Bluetooth also provides excellent audio. I have a bluetooth A2DP transmitter, which plugs into any standard 1/8" headset jack, and transmits the audio to bluetooth headphones, my stereo, or a bluetooth receiver that plugs into my home stereo. Look Ma, no wires! Just remember that bluetooth uses the same band as wifi and many wireless phones, so interference can sometimes be a problem.

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Have things changed? I thought it was illegal to use a cell phone while flying. I know not its not in the FARs but from what I understand a FCC regulation, but still not allowed.

 

I have a Lightspeed, not a Zulu, but have used it while on the ground to call and get a transponder code for taking off inside of the ADIZ. But that's it.

 

In an emergency I would do it in a heartbeat, but just to avoid changing frequencies a lot. No.

 

This is all assuming your in the US. Outside the US I can not comment on the legality of it's use.

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I have an iPhone and I love the applications. One of them called foreflight allows you to file a flight plan from your phone. I have filed IFR flight plans while taxing out, called clearance to let them know it was coming, and they had it within 30 seconds. Plus, I can get METARS, TAFS, prog charts, radar, etc.

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How topical. This was in the AOPA newsletter today. The questions was "Can I use my cellphone to update my flightplan"

 

Answer: FAR 91.21 prohibits pilots operating under IFR from using any portable electronic device while in flight. And the FCC has a regulation that prohibits the use of a cell phone on any aircraft in flight. Specifically, FCC Rule 22.925 states, "Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons, or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne." So, using a cell phone—whether VFR or IFR—is prohibited in flight.

 

Now, here's the catch... Isn't a portable GPS an electronic device?? If so, how is it exempted?? Granted, these seem to be one of those laws that doesn't often get enforced, and realistically how could you?? Unless you call the FCC from your cell phone while in flight and tell them..

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How topical. This was in the AOPA newsletter today. The questions was "Can I use my cellphone to update my flightplan"

 

Answer: FAR 91.21 prohibits pilots operating under IFR from using any portable electronic device while in flight. And the FCC has a regulation that prohibits the use of a cell phone on any aircraft in flight. Specifically, FCC Rule 22.925 states, "Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons, or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne." So, using a cell phone—whether VFR or IFR—is prohibited in flight.

 

Now, here's the catch... Isn't a portable GPS an electronic device?? If so, how is it exempted?? Granted, these seem to be one of those laws that doesn't often get enforced, and realistically how could you?? Unless you call the FCC from your cell phone while in flight and tell them..

 

FAR 91.21 (B)

 

"Paragraph (a) of this section [the restriction on operating portable electronic devices] does not apply to—

 

(1) Portable voice recorders;

 

(2) Hearing aids;

 

(3) Heart pacemakers;

 

(4) Electric shavers; or

 

(5) Any other portable electronic device that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used"

 

So, as I understand it, as long it can be determined that the device (whatever it is) does not interfere with your aircrafts equipment, you're good to go.

 

Paragraph © goes on to say "In the case of an aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate, the determination required by paragraph (B)(5) of this section shall be made by that operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be used. In the case of other aircraft, the determination may be made by the pilot in command or other operator of the aircraft."

 

Also, paragraph (a) applies to air carriers and anyone else flying under IFR. The restriction doesn't seem to apply to someone flying under part 91 VFR.

 

I was not aware of the FCC rule that you mentioned, and I would be curious as to how that interacts with the FAR's. Anyone know which trumps the other?

 

I think we can all agree that having a 3-way video conference call while flying in Class B, or coming in on ILS 19, is probably a bad idea... right?!

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Regarding the cell phone thing. I was just on the aopa site and in their Q&A there following answer appeared after a pilot requested if it is ok to use his cell phone in his aircraft.

 

Answer: FAR 91.21 prohibits pilots operating under IFR from using any portable electronic device while in flight. And the FCC has a regulation that prohibits the use of a cell phone on any aircraft in flight. Specifically, FCC Rule 22.925 states, "Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons, or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne." So, using a cell phone—whether VFR or IFR—is prohibited in flight.

 

 

Is this true, current, or is everyone breaking the rules? I have been on balloon flights where the pilot use a cell instead of the radio to call his team...

 

what about emergencies?

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For emergencies, you can do whatever you want to "...meet the needs of that emergency..." according to the FAA.. Not sure what the FCC would have to say about that.

 

Here is the link to that FCC reg.

 

http://www.aopa.org/epilot/redir.cfm?adid=17563

 

There may also be some existing cases where a clarification has been made as to what is allowed.

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91.21 does not prohibit using any electronic device in flight, as noted in heli.pilot's post. You just have to check beforehand to make sure it doesn't interfere. The airlines allow the use of all sorts of electronic devices, and they're always IFR. In a previous life we had to do testing of lots of electronic devices, such as computers, phones, portable GPS receivers, pagers, etc. I never found any device that interfered with any avionics, but cell phones do pose a threat in some cases. Having a cell phone receive a call in the baggage compartment of an S76 can cause the baggage fire detector to go off, requiring an immediate landing, which can be a problem a hundred miles out in the ocean. We required all cell phones in baggage to be turned off. In the cabin, it wasn't a problem, and I never bothered to check. I've used a phone to call for clearances, and I see no problem with that, as long as you're not in the air. Technically, modern phones are not cell phones, although they're still called that, for lack of a better name. Whether use of these phones in flight would be enforceable is not clear to me, pending a prosecution by the FCC. I've never heard of one happening.

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The electronic devices that the airlines allow right now are non-wireless. If your device has a wireless(transmit/receive) function that must be turned off. Either the device turned off or put in phone mode if able. That is because they(Airlines) are under an operating certificate and that is what the regulations pertain to.

 

If you are not under an operating certificate then the only problem is the FCC rules which do not allow cellular phones to be used while in flight. Now maybe the argument could be made that todays "cell" phones are not really cell phones. That maybe on way around the rules.

 

I thought I heard that the regulations are different in Europe and that they and perhaps the FAA will soon allow "cell" phones to be used in flight. Anyone else here that?

 

EDIT: Ok, a quick search and this turned up Cell Phone News Artical here

 

It seems the FCC has dropped the inquiry into possibly lifting the ban on cell phones.

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The airlines can allow anything they want to allow. The only proviso is that they have to test each device they allow. Some don't want to bother, and some are just lazy. That's why some airlines still prohibit the use of GPS receivers - they're just too lazy to do the paperwork. Wireless is meaningless - a pocket calculator is wireless, having no external wires. If you mean using wifi to connect to the internet, then almost every laptop extant has that, as well as many PDAs. There is no reason to have wifi enabled in flight, because it drains the battery more quickly and there are no access points available for use anyway. But even if the wifi radio is left on, it won't hurt anything. A lot of the issues are caused by clueless flight attendants, also.

 

Personally, I hope they retain the ban on cell phones. I don't want to have to listen to a hundred conversations on every flight. Some people seem incapable of refraining from talking, all the time.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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I'm confused. You're saying if the airlines wanted to allow cell phones they could? Even though the FAA and FCC don't allow it? They(airlines) can allow anything if they wanted?

 

Gomer, don't read to far into what I say when I mean wireless. I mean, wireless transmiters and recievers such as phones, computers with WiFi and the like.

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The electronic devices that the airlines allow right now are non-wireless. If your device has a wireless(transmit/receive) function that must be turned off. Either the device turned off or put in phone mode if able. That is because they(Airlines) are under an operating certificate and that is what the regulations pertain to.

 

If you are not under an operating certificate then the only problem is the FCC rules which do not allow cellular phones to be used while in flight. Now maybe the argument could be made that todays "cell" phones are not really cell phones. That maybe on way around the rules.

 

I thought I heard that the regulations are different in Europe and that they and perhaps the FAA will soon allow "cell" phones to be used in flight. Anyone else here that?

 

EDIT: Ok, a quick search and this turned up Cell Phone News Artical here

 

It seems the FCC has dropped the inquiry into possibly lifting the ban on cell phones.

 

That was an interesting article, thanks for the link.

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It may come to pass, but I haven't seen it yet. When it does, that pretty well busts the wireless device ban. How in the world do they expect to police VOIP? And why would it be necessary? And once you allow inflight wifi, which necessarily allows VOIP (I can use Skype with my laptop, the mike is built in, and in any case lots of headsets have no obvious mike), you don't really need a cell phone, but why continue to ban them, because you'll be hearing lots of conversations anyway. Modern phones don't hit every cell tower they can find, which was the reason for banning them in flight in the first place. Technology continues apace, and I expect to see this stuff in common use rather soon.

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