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Safe to use GPS in airplanes ?

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  • Safe to use GPS in airplanes ?

    I brought a garmin gps unit on a airplane a few years ago and was trying to get a signal.

    A flight attendant came to me and told me that it could damage the gps chip due to high altitude, since the gps chip is calibrated to be used on the surface and using it in high altitude would result in a much stronger signal and thus can damage the gps chip.

    Any truth in this, or just a confused flight attendant ?

  • #2
    Re: Safe to use GPS in airplanes ?

    I have never heard of this before, sounds like bunk to me!

    There should be no danger in using a radio receiver (which is in essence what a GPSr is) on an airplane or close to the transmitter source, it would be no different than listening to an FM radio in your car and driving past the transmitter tower. Although I can see where getting a signal could be a problem being in what is basically a metal room, shielding the receiver from the signal. Also, there should be no danger to any of the planes aviation electronics as most GPS units do not transmit any type of signal, only receive them, with the exception of some that have BlueTooth, WiFi, or cellular radios (like smartphones or PDA's), and even that is questionable and unproven to cause any real safety issues but the FAA still bans these during flight.
    Last edited by acejavelin; 12th July 2010, 06:59.

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    • #3
      Re: Safe to use GPS in airplanes ?

      Thank you for illuminating me !

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      • #4
        Re: Safe to use GPS in airplanes ?

        Its' total bollocks. I'm a commercial pilot and know a bit about the gps system. The satelites are at an altitude about 1500 times higher than the plane! Your altitude is pretty irrelevant compared to the altitude of the satellites!

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        • #5
          Re: Safe to use GPS in airplanes ?

          Sounds logical, yes

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