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Cell phones may cause serious safety issues on flights

June 16, 2011, 02:41 pm

Many people seem skeptical when being told to turn off their electronic devices before a flight, but new information acquired by ABC reveals this is more than just a simple courtesy request. The media outlet cites a confidential report by the International Air Transport Association as finding 75 separate incidents in which personal electronic devices may have created electronic interference.

"We can't say categorically that these devices cause interference," IATA spokesman Chris Goater told MSNBC.com, "but there are enough anecdotal reports from pilots to raise the question."

If these devices are in fact disturbing an aircraft's electronic equipment, they could be putting passengers and pilots lives at risk, causing a higher rate of pilots life insurance claims to surface.

The interference issues were documented from 2003 through 2009. According to the report, 26 incidents affected flight controls, 17 disturbed navigation systems and 15 disrupted communications systems, ABC reports. The most common cause of interference is thought to have come from cellular phones.

Experts believe that PEDs radiate signals that can disrupt a plane's sensitive electronic sensors, which may include an instrument landing system used in bad weather.

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