Before the start of each flight, passengers are required to download the flight mode on their smartphones and mobile devices, while the airline that operates provides internet services on its flights, so what exactly is the flight mode and why do the airlines require it?
First, what is the way to fly on a cell phone?
Airplane mode is a setting on a smartphone that temporarily suspends signals and Wi-Fi, even when the rest of the device is still in full power.
On Android phones, airplane mode is activated by double-scrolling down from the top of the screen to open the settings panel. There you will see an airplane icon. On the iPhone, the airplane mode icon is located in the Control Center. You can use it by sliding either down from the top right or from the top down depending on the age and model of the phone.
What happens when you put the phone in airplane mode?
The phone immediately stops receiving radio signals that enable sending or receiving text messages or calls, accessing websites, emailing or downloading data, according to Digital Trends.
However, text messages that have already been downloaded can be accessed, along with other stored information; From documents, games, music or movies that you have already saved on your device.
Why do airlines require this feature to be enabled?
Like aerodynamics and aeronautics, the reasons for seeking airplane modality are not simple. But in short, “Flight mode is required to mitigate any possible interference with sensitive aircraft systems,” said one pilot who asked for anonymity for Reader’s Digest.
He explained that communication and navigation systems that use radio frequencies emitted by the Earth are more vulnerable to radio signal interference because these frequencies are the same as those used by cell phones and tablets.
“Wi-Fi radios, Bluetooth, voice calls, 3G, 4G and 5G data all use different parts of the radio frequency spectrum.”
The problem occurs when the adjacent channel interconnection or interference (ACI) is a technical problem.
“ACI basically means that a single radio receiver can inadvertently receive a broadcast from a transmitter at a near frequency,” the pilot said.
This transmission can interfere with the target signal, as if listening to an FM radio from their car, but the sound is not clear because the device is receiving a transmission from another station that is transmitting at a close frequency.
On the airplane, if pilots are flying over a difficult landing strip or there is a real emergency on board or on the ground, their ground control communication lines should be clear and open, and a missed cell phone call may compromise this communication. compromised at crucial moments.
The pilot explained that flight mode has become “extremely important” with the introduction of 5G network by many mobile service providers.
“Signals from terrestrial antennas and 5G devices of humans can cause interference in the most dangerous moments of flight,” he explains; Because it is very close to the signals used by the aircraft’s wireless altimeter, which works by bouncing the radio signal from the ground and then back to the aircraft antenna to determine altitude.
So during landing, in particular, the intrusion signal can make it difficult for the cockpit to recognize the height of the aircraft.
What about Wi-Fi on board?
And the question arises: while most airlines now offer in-flight Wi-Fi as a paid service. So why does this not interfere with aircraft communication?
Because Wi-Fi works with satellite signals rather than radio signals, it does not connect to cell phone towers on the ground. This means that if you are willing to pay for it – and it can be slow or volatile – you can browse the internet and download data while traveling, albeit at a slower rate.
However, many airlines prohibit the use of communication software such as Skype, WhatsApp or FaceTime; So that passengers do not retreat by making loud calls that disturb those around them throughout the flight.
What if you do not put the phone in airplane mode?
If you forget to put your phone in airplane mode, the chances of disaster are remote. But the consequences of a mistake at a crucial moment can be fatal.
As pilots use station radio altimeters to know the exact height of the aircraft above the ground, these data become essential when approaching the ground when visibility is extremely low due to fog, snow or other adverse weather conditions.
He warned that a fifth-generation passenger device out of flight mode could cause the plane to receive a false signal through the aircraft’s wireless altitude antenna.
This wrong signal can have frightening consequences, the pilot concluded: “It does not matter if a person or some people are ignoring the rules, just a wrong signal and the wrong combination of circumstances is enough for a disaster to happen.”