We’ve all heard numerous times when traveling by plane how “important” it is for passengers to turn off their electronic devices, especially cellular phones or anything else that connects to a wireless network as they could interfere with the aircraft’s delicate electronics. It looks as though wireless interference from an iPhone is considered to be the culprit behind a disruption of an aircraft’s compasses, resulting in pilots flying several miles off course.
The incident occurred back in 2011 as a flight climbed past 9,000 feet, which was quickly resolved when a flight attendant asked the problematic passenger to turn off their iPhone. “The timing of the cellphone being turned off coincided with the moment where our heading problem was solved,” the unidentified co-pilot told NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System. The result of the incident in no way affected the aircraft’s ability to continue as they were able to land safely at the end of their trip.
For years passengers and aircraft personnel have been going back and forth whether or not consumer electronics pose that large of a threat to an aircraft, especially if their wireless signals are turned off using an included “airplane mode.” Having a device continually blasting out broadcast radio waves is one thing, but if we’re to believe we’re not able to plug in a toaster during takeoff due to it being an electronic device, then we can see why some people may not take airline rules very serious.