U.S. fliers face multiple barriers to in-flight cell phone use

10/25/2010 | Boston Globe (tiered subscription model), The

Boeing, NASA and industry groups have never been able to prove that cell phone calls are capable of interfering with a plane's navigation and communication systems, and regulators in other parts of the world have already lifted their bans on in-flight calls. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission says its ban is based on concerns about ground networks rather than aircraft safety, but even if that ban were lifted, a huge practical barrier remains: The FAA's certification process for electronic equipment would require that every phone model be tested for compatibility with every aircraft type -- a near impossibility with hundreds of new handsets being introduced each year.

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