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We are thinking of doing some traffic reporting in an R22 for a local radio station. Is there any legal way to use a cell phone for this? It seems legal as far as the FAA is concerned but not the FCC. Any other way to do it?....besides buying a $550,000 ENG R44 of course.

Edited by HeloJVB

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Do you know the whole origin of that BS regulation??? It was the fact that a cellular/analog phone would lock onto several different towers. Billing could not pinpoint where the call originated from, so you wouldn't get accurately charged or charged at all for the call.

 

Now that we're on overlapping digital networks, "cellular" doesn't really exist anymore as I read it. So that might be your loophole through the reg.

 

It's kinda like the 3000ft/3mi major sporting event & Disneyworld/land TFR.....the owners & TV networks got it passed to keep the banner tow guys out since they weren't getting a cut of the $$$.

 

-Jonathan

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Jonathan's exactly right. The providers convinced the FCC to ban it because, with the original analog technology, the higher the altitude, the more cells you would "occupy". Since analog towers had limited capacity, it could potentially cause congestion. It's not on issue with the digital formats because they pass the signal along to the next tower (basically). I believe the FCC is re-evaluating the regulation now but it could be a while.

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Then WHY are there plugs that can hook your cell phone into your headset? I saw that when browsing for headsets and thought "Cool, I can call friends out of their home and have them see me fly over them." Then I found the regs against use. Oh well, hopefully it will be sooner than later when it gets changed.

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Then WHY are there plugs that can hook your cell phone into your headset?
Because there are LOTS of times where you are sitting on the ground with the rotors turning and you need to make a call!

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Hold a cell up to your cdi and see what happens on the ground. Mythbusters took this on a week ago. Myth not busted. It really can interfere with VHF equip.

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Hold a cell up to your cdi and see what happens on the ground. Mythbusters took this on a week ago. Myth not busted. It really can interfere with VHF equip.

 

So what?? Flip on your landing light and watch your compass swing. Should we outlaw landing lights?

 

You put any high frequency electrical device next to one of your instruments and it will do that. Sooooooo, don't stick your cell phone right up against it. I'm not going to be using my cell phone while shooting an ILS, so I'm not to worried about it.

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Hold a cell up to your cdi and see what happens on the ground. Mythbusters took this on a week ago. Myth not busted. It really can interfere with VHF equip.

Which is why FAR 91.21-(a)-2 addresses IFR operations. Not much of a consideration for VFR.

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Hold a cell up to your cdi and see what happens on the ground. Mythbusters took this on a week ago. Myth not busted. It really can interfere with VHF equip.
Saw that show, next day sat in the helicopter and tried to make the VOR, localizer and glide slope needles deviate - not a wiggle.

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Saw that show, next day sat in the helicopter and tried to make the VOR, localizer and glide slope needles deviate - not a wiggle.

 

If you know somebody with a Nextel phone, try it with that. You should see a lot more than a little wiggle. Nextel phones cause a LOT of interference, at least the older ones did. :D

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Saw that show, next day sat in the helicopter and tried to make the VOR, localizer and glide slope needles deviate - not a wiggle.

I have only seen the needles (localizer) move when a phone started ringing. Dead give-away "somebody" has forgotten to turn their's off. <_>

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I have only seen the needles (localizer) move when a phone started ringing.
Guess I'll have to try that next as soon as our IFR ship gets out of 100-hour.

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An ex-Transportation Safety Board Investigator told me about an accident involving a helicopter and the cell phone adapter that allows you to connect the cell phone to a helmet or headset: The pilot was flying when he heard a series of beeps. Believing he had some sort of engine failure, he lowered the collective and entered an autorotation. On flare he hit the tail and damaged the aircraft. The beeps he heard was his cell phone's low battery warning.

 

I have not located this accident on the internet yet but if I find it I will post it.

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Believing he had some sort of engine failure, he lowered the collective and entered an autorotation. On flare he hit the tail and damaged the aircraft.

 

 

wouldn't be the first person to think something was wrong, when really it was just the gauge that was faulty. Do you auto into a forest just coz your fuel gauge fails, or do you check if the engine is still going, and see whats wrong with the gauge???

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'Land immediately' in the POH doesnt mean crash into the woods. At least thats how I'm interpreting it.

Also, while one cell phone might not do much imagine a 737 full of 180 people yakkin on their phones for the whole flight probably will have a cumulative effect.

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There have been confirmed cases of ringing cell phones in the baggage compartment of S76C+s setting off the baggage smoke alarm. Sikorsky redesigned the smoke detector, and it still happens. Better keep the phones in the cabin, but the rear seats are very close to the baggage compartment. We make everyone turn off all phones before boarding. I admit I've forgotten mine a few times, though, and have had it ring (discovered the missed call later) with no effect at all that I could see.

 

I often need to call ZHU to get an IFR clearance, but there aren't many cell towers 150NM offshore, so it's not a great benefit to me. We go downstairs and use one of the platform's phones, because ATC has close to zero communications in the Gulf these days. The oil companies got voice and data circuits back up almost immediately after the hurricanes, but the FAA hasn't restored a single RCO, AFAIK. But if you're onshore, there can be many times when you need to make a phone call from the cockpit, and that's not prohibited at all.

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An ex-Transportation Safety Board Investigator told me about an accident involving a helicopter and the cell phone adapter that allows you to connect the cell phone to a helmet or headset: The pilot was flying when he heard a series of beeps. Believing he had some sort of engine failure, he lowered the collective and entered an autorotation. On flare he hit the tail and damaged the aircraft. The beeps he heard was his cell phone's low battery warning.

 

I have not located this accident on the internet yet but if I find it I will post it.

 

I don't know if it's the same accident that you're speaking of, but that's what happened to one of the first 407s over in Spain. I can't remember if the cell phone sounded like the low rotor RPM, engine out, or one of the FADEC warnings, but they screwed up the helicopter pretty bad.

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We are thinking of doing some traffic reporting in an R22 for a local radio station. Is there any legal way to use a cell phone for this? It seems legal as far as the FAA is concerned but not the FCC. Any other way to do it?....besides buying a $550,000 ENG R44 of course.

 

In my other life I did radio engineering and tech work. Among other customers, I handled the two-way radio gear for the two largest traffic reporting outfits in the San Francisco area. Drop me a PM and I can get you all the information that you need to get a system set up.

 

Doug

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