“Please switch of all wireless equipment as these interfere with our navigation and safety systems”. All of us have this mantra down pat. But incredulous or hilarious as this may sound, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was forced to issue a Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) 9003, to remind flight crew to have their mobile phones turned off while on duty.
During a routine inspection, a loud warbling sound was heard within the cockpit during take-off just before V1 (decision speed), which distracted both the flight crew. Even though in this instance the take-off was continued, the sound could have prompted the crew to unnecessarily reject the take-off, that too at high speed.
It was later determined that the warbling sound came from the first officer’s mobile phone!!!,
The FAA rates the incident as potentially serious hazard. (No kidding!!!!!)
To top this off, the operator did not have procedures in their standard operating procedures and manuals requiring the flight crew to turn-off their mobile phones or preventing them from turning on the phones while operating a flight.
The FAA requires, that mobile phones must be turned off and stowed properly away while the airplane is being taxied for departure after departure from the gate.
Read the SAFO here.