View Full Version : Scanners
11-11-2003, 10:22 AM
A while ago, there was a question if scanners were allowed to be operated on a commercial flight. Couple of weeks ago I did a round trip flight between upstate NY and Las Vegas on Southwest. The people at Southwest on the phone were not sure but said to ask the flight attendant. She looked it up and in the back of their magazine you see in the seat pocket it lists scanners as being prohibited. On the bright side, GPS is allowed. Would have made the non-stop on the way back more interesting. We came back at night and over the top of weather, so almost 4 hours of nothing but black.
Jeff S KDTW
11-11-2003, 10:49 AM
I've tried to use a GPS on commercial flights, but unfortunately it was ~very~ difficult to get a lock while sitting inside a metal tube with small windows directed out to the sides.
I've heard of others having luck, but not me.
11-11-2003, 01:07 PM
Next time I go out, I will take the lowrance with the removable antenna. Assuming I get a window seat again!
In the hotel, I couldn't get the GPS to lock up with the notebook computer. Normally no trouble but even with big picture window and facing west, it wouldnt work.
Jeff S KDTW
11-11-2003, 01:40 PM
I was actually using a Bluetooth (wireless) receive that I could wedge between the window and the shade, but to no avail.
11-11-2003, 07:08 PM
Why would you use a scanner on a flight, and how?
Jeff S KDTW
11-11-2003, 09:14 PM
To listen to ATC.
11-12-2003, 12:38 AM
I use them all the time. If you ask it will be a no, only because that is the standard kneejerk reaction. I preprogram the freqs from the internet before the flight. Plug in the tiny ear piece and tuck the unit down by my thigh and the bulkhead. No problem ever, small setup, they never even see it much less know what it is.
11-12-2003, 08:59 AM
Sorry, I can't just flout the regs any more than I can say the heck with it, don't bother putting on the seat belt folks, the only one it matters is the pilot. We aren't gonna crash.
You meet up with a hardnosed cabin attendent and you may regret it. Being polite and asking did have it's advantages. When the captain found out that I have been flying for years, but this was my first commercial flight, I got invited up to the cockpit while we were sitting at the gate waiting. Sat in the left seat checked out the office. Nice view, comfortable seats, just watch the cup holder on the way in and out.
11-12-2003, 09:58 AM
only because that is the standard kneejerk reaction
If you have a scanner that you can guarantee won't cause any form of interference with any of the aircraft's electronic equipment, then you have a rather unique device. I'm not aware of any TSO'd scanners. In fact a scanner, especially when it's scanning, generates more interference than a plain radio receiver -- the scanning circuitry generates some "interesting" signals.
Whether the interference you generate turns out to be harmful depends on a multitude of factors, including how close to radios (they're not necessarily mounted in the cockpit), to antennas, to antenna cables, to aircraft wiring, atmostpheric conditions, what specific piece of equipment is being used how, whether someone else on the aircraft has another scanner they are using, and other things.
All radio receivers have oscillators which do transmit radio signals, though not very powerful signals. Scanning circutry makes it a bit worse. So it's not a "kneejerk reaction," but rather a rule made because of the potential harm. It may work out OK ninety nine times out of a hundred, but that one hundredth time...
11-12-2003, 12:24 PM
Nicely put Larry!!
Good info re: oscillators. Everyone things because your basic scanner is a "receiver", that it doesn't transmit anything. WRONG!!
However I must confess out of guilt, that I used to slide mine in my pocket with an earphone attached and listen to almost the whole flight, wherever I was going..bad boy that I am...
Now, I just don't want the hassle with the security anymore, and after spending time reading this post - I am feeling a sense of guilt :-lol
11-12-2003, 12:42 PM
Two wackey incidents in GA airplanes impressed on me how the avionics and electronic devices can interact. The first was when I was doing a final checkride with the head instructor in a C152. I was dutifully following a VOR radial. He did charter work for the FBO. His cell phone went off and he answered it. The VOR nuts until he finished the call.
The second was the time I tried a Lowrance Airmap GPS and its power cord. I have two sets of batteries but throught I would plug the adaptor cord into the cigar lighter socket and try it out. My buddy was trying to do an NDB approach. About every 45 seconds the ADF needle would turn through a full 360 degrees. Needless to say being under the hood this really screwed him up. It wasn't till I unplugged the GPS that it stopped doing the wheel for fortune bit. We figured it was the regulator in the GPS that was interacting with the electrical system. If this happened in the clouds, it could have got tense.
When it comes to aviation, being overcautious is the lesser of two evils. Airlines are now allowing you to turn on the cell phones while the aircraft is taxiing to the gate. Getting a signal out can be tough.
11-12-2003, 12:48 PM
Actually, what Larry said applies to all electronic devices, not just scanners.
I used to own a CX-2 electronic flight computer, and I would use it consistently in the airplane. My instructors and I would always wonder why I was coming out of an NDB approach well left of the desired track. I inadvertently answered that question when I forgot my CX-2 and used an E-6B one day...all my approaches tracked straight!
Every electronic device creates some sort of interference in the radio spectrum, so its not just a "knee-jerk" reaction when they say you cannot use cellphones, CD/MP3 players, etc. in an aircraft.
11-12-2003, 12:52 PM
Yes... not a photo scanner, but a radio scanner. :)
(my presumed take on the confusion)
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