Why do we turn off the phone when airplane is taking off?

Have you ever wondered why flight attendants often remind us to turn off the phone when boarding a plane? And if not, what will happen?

Anyone who goes to the airplane remembers the flight attendants' remarks when they start to take off or land, saying, "Turn off your mobile phone and handheld electronics, open the window cover, straighten up the back of the chair, fold the table and seat belt”. Why are we asked to do so? 

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Mobile phones are strictly forbidden on the fly. When the power is turned off or set to Airplane Mode, the device must be completely disconnected from the radio connection. The rules for turning off cell phones as well as personal devices for the highest flight safety were issued in 1991 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 

The take-off and landing phases of the aircraft are considered the two most important stages for each flight and require crew to be highly focused, maintain contact with the ATC air traffic control station and ensure operation of all equipments on the plane. Therefore, turning off the phone or switching to Airplane Mode is really necessary. Because when the plane starts to take off, the phone waves strike the high-rise buildings and generate stronger signals. This will cause congestion on the underground transmission. 

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In 2011, ABC News and the Boeing Company organized an experiment on the impact of mobile devices on flights.  The research showed that, in older planes that own non-modern sensors as well as first-generation equipment, mobile waves could alter the dynamics of the plan, disable the ability to locate in the air as well as sometimes disrupt the pilot's ability to control. 

In fact, there has been no crash in commercial airplane due to not switching off the mobile phone, but it will reduce the safety of the flight, causing interference and distraction for the crew in the most important moments of the journey. 

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Another reason why you should turn off the phone is that if you use it, it is easy to ignore all safety instructions of the flight attendant such as tightening the seat belt or opening the window. In addition, fear of terrorism is the reason that airlines are concerned and banned from using the phone. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has warned hijackers could use the phone to trigger a bomb or attack a flight control system. 

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In brief, turn off your phone or at least switch it to Airplane Mode for safety, first of all for yourself. Instead of glancing at the phone, pull the window shutter and look outside, which is also a way to keep track of the situation. If there are any abnormalities in the wings or outside of the aircraft, things will be detected and handled in time. 

By: Mithrine Smith

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