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Ask the Captain: Why do I have to put my phone in airplane mode?

  • January 14, 2021

How many airports in the United States, if any, have the equipment to land a commercial airline automatically? By the same token, how many airlines have the on board equipment to do it?

– PJS1, Georgetown, Texas

If you are referring to an Instrument Landing System with the fidelity to allow an landing to be flown by an approved autopilot system, the answer is nearly every large city airport. 

Most modern airliners have auto-land capability, including the newer 737, all 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 and all Airbus products.

The auto-land function requires the pilots to program the flight management system in a very exact way, so it is a use of the automation.

There are some small airplanes that have a true automatic landing system. These are very new and intended for use only in the event of an incapacitated pilot. No airliner has such a system. 

Why do airline passengers have to put their phones in airplane mode?

– Evan Schaefer

A mobile phone in an airplane can cause problems with the cellular network as they may be communicating with multiple towers.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) bans the use of mobile phones in flight. 

In airplane mode, the phone does not communicate with the cellular network.

John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems. 

Article source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/641588650/0/usatodaycomtravel-topstories~Ask-the-Captain-Why-do-I-have-to-put-my-phone-in-airplane-mode/

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