Definite proof that using a laptop can bring down a plane



  • Check this out!

    Definite, final, and conclusive proof that using electronic equipment on a plane is dangerous and irresponsible, and almost guaranteed to crash the plane. This flies in the face of misguided geek opinion, and those pesky "laws" of physics.


    If further proof were needed, Quantas themselves have issued a statement:

    "Someone had a laptop on, so it was definitely that, and definitely not anything which we can be sued for!"


    I'm paraphrasing.


    Ban those evil laptops NOW!



  •  >the accident, which came as the crew tried to correct a reported
    fault in
    were ignorantly fucking about with the aircraft's elevator control system because we've got PCs at home and know all about computers

    >led to the crew blaming the passengers to cover their own asses

     

    TFTFY



  • Surely it's nothing to do with how Qantas maintains its planes.

    In July an exploding oxygen bottle punched a huge hole in the side of a Qantas
    Boeing 747-400

    Just three days later, a Qantas Boeing 737-800 returned to Adelaide after a
    landing gear door failed to retract

    in early August, a Boeing 767 bound
    for Manila turned back to Sydney after developing a hydraulic fluid leak.




  • @dhromed said:

    Surely it's nothing to do with how Qantas maintains its planes.

    There's a big issue going on with Qantas and aircraft maintenance engineers at the moment. Qantas wants to send a lot of its maintenance work overseas (cheaper), and the local engineers aren't to happy about it (loss of jobs). The trouble is that it has become well known that at least one plane returning from overseas maintenance has come back with more issues than when it left to have the maintenance. Its things like this that has Qantas rapidly slipping down the rankings of various airlines. It used to be ranked as one of the best airlines in the world, but those days are gone. For example, currently Air NZ is ranked as the best trans-pacific airlines for the USA/Australia route.



  • Imagine if a person tried this defense...

    "Yes your honor, I did run over those 4 people on the pedestrian crossing, but one of them had a mobile phone and I believe it caused interference on the computer in my car and caused my car to accelerate and swerve towards them. Therefore I'm not liable..."

    When you read that you really have to wonder how aircraft can get away with these claims... I mean it's fair enough for them to say "We just want to be sure, even though it's practically impossible we'd just like to leave it out when we're flying miles above the ground", but there's a fair jump between that and deciding the first guess when a plane plummets 6000 ft for no apparent reason is that it's probably the first ever recorded case of computer/mobile interference damaging a modern plane's navigation system.



  •  Eh, I trust the FAA's judgement in aeronautical matters a little bit more than random people on the Internets.  Like the time I had to tell a dude to turn his phone off and he argued that since he wasn't talking to anybody, his phone was only recieving radio signals, not sending them, so it was no different.  Clearly he knows more than scientists.



  • @fyjham said:

    "Yes your honor, I did run over those 4 people on the pedestrian crossing, but one of them had a mobile phone and I believe it caused interference on the drive-by-wire throttle module in my car and caused my car to accelerate and swerve towards them. Therefore I'm not liable..."
    FTFY.



  • I ran a wireless network streaming HD video continuously for about 8 hours from one laptop to another on a 13 hour flight across the Atlantic. Yea, sure, laptop wireless cards bring down planes.



  • Ah, the famous N=1 method of scientific testing.



  • @dhromed said:

    Surely it's nothing to do with how Qantas maintains its planes.

    And to think that this airline was considered by Rain Man as the only one that hasn't crashed!

    Heh. I'm expecting Qantas to come out and say that they lost control because some kiddie was playing Flight Simulator and took over the plane.



  • a few thoughts

    1. if your computers can be in any way damaged by mobile phones, laptop wifi, or any other kind of EM waves (they can't), you need to find a better class of computer.
    2. if your computers can be damaged by EM waves, why aren't they crashing all the time due to flying through beams from communications satellites? 'Plane brought down by Satellite TV signals' is one i've never seen
    3. if your computers can be damaged by radio or microwaves, use a Faraday cage! i met some people using a 9T magnet in a low-temperature physics experiment. The whole room was Faraday caged. If you took a cell phone inside, it could get wiped. leave it outside, it's fine. I'm sure if a Faraday cage can stop a 9T magnetic field, it can block out all 'dangerous' signals, stopping bullshitting airlines from being able to blame their incompetence and cheap maintenance policies on someone on the flight wanting to watch a movie, type a letter, write some code, play a game, or generally not be bored on a 9-hour flight.


  • @stewieatb said:

    someone on the flight wanting to watch a movie, type a letter, write some code, play a game, or generally not be bored on a 9-hour flight.
    I have flown a decent amount in the last few years, and, each time, I have been able to use my laptop during the flight, just not during takeoff and landing.  I wouldn't be able to use them during takeoff and landing anyways, as "all carryon articles must be stored in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you."  I did make sure to turn off the WiFi, though, and if I had bluetooth, I would have turned that off as well.

    Are some airlines not even letting you do that?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @stewieatb said:

    someone on the flight wanting to watch a movie, type a letter, write some code, play a game, or generally not be bored on a 9-hour flight.
    I have flown a decent amount in the last few years, and, each time, I have been able to use my laptop during the flight, just not during takeoff and landing.  I wouldn't be able to use them during takeoff and landing anyways, as "all carryon articles must be stored in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you."  I did make sure to turn off the WiFi, though, and if I had bluetooth, I would have turned that off as well.

    Are some airlines not even letting you do that?

    What i was trying to highlight was that if Quantas can find someone using a laptop on the flight, laptops will be scapegoated, despite their 'effects' being in direct contradiction of all laws of comp-sci and physics, rather than Quantas actually admitting that their 'maintenance' changes and four downed flights in a year are (shock muthafunglin' horror) connected. And no-one will ever be allowed to use a laptop in-flight again



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @stewieatb said:

    someone on the flight wanting to watch a movie, type a letter, write some code, play a game, or generally not be bored on a 9-hour flight.
    I have flown a decent amount in the last few years, and, each time, I have been able to use my laptop during the flight, just not during takeoff and landing.  I wouldn't be able to use them during takeoff and landing anyways, as "all carryon articles must be stored in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you."  I did make sure to turn off the WiFi, though, and if I had bluetooth, I would have turned that off as well.

    Are some airlines not even letting you do that?

     

    Given that even some people in the computer industry are unaware of such basic concepts of computing, I'd have to say "yes."



  •  50 People injured? I guess that could also be read as "50 more people who now understand why you should keep your seatbelt fastened in flight."



  • These are ordinary lap belts, not five-point harnesses with helmets and head restraints. They'll keep you from flying across the cabin, but they won't protect you against whiplash or banging your head against the seat in front of you.



  • The cause of the accident, which came as the crew tried to correct a reported fault in the aircraft's elevator control system, is being investigated by the the Air Transport Safety Bureau, with a computer problem considered a more likely explanation than air turbulence or human error.

    "The aircraft departed normal flight and climbed 300 feet," said Julian Walsh, director of aviation safety with the ATSB.

    "The aircraft did that of its own accord and then, [b]whilst the crew were doing the normal actions in response to that not normal situation, the aircraft then pitched down[/b] suddenly and quite rapidly," he said.

    So while they were fucking around with the settings, it went down. Hm. Yep, must have been interference.



  • @lolwtf said:

    The cause of the accident, which came as the crew tried to correct a reported fault in the aircraft's elevator control system, is being investigated by the the Air Transport Safety Bureau, with a computer problem considered a more likely explanation than air turbulence or human error.

    "The aircraft departed normal flight and climbed 300 feet," said Julian Walsh, director of aviation safety with the ATSB.

    "The aircraft did that of its own accord and then, whilst the crew were doing the normal actions in response to that not normal situation, the aircraft then pitched down suddenly and quite rapidly," he said.

    So while they were fucking around with the settings, it went down. Hm. Yep, must have been interference.

    Normal procedure in response to uncommanded movement by the airplane is to disconnect the autopilot and restore level flight, something that any pilot with more than a dozen hours of flight time can do with ease. There's no "fucking around with the settings" involved.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    @fyjham said:

    "Yes your honor, I did run over those 4 people on the pedestrian crossing, but one of them had a mobile phone and I believe it caused interference on the drive-by-wire throttle module in my car and caused my car to accelerate and swerve towards them. Therefore I'm not liable..."
    FTFY.

     

    Fair's fair, I'm not a car enthusiast, but are you trying to say that I was factually inaccurate on the build of a car or that once you correct it to that you think it makes sense and is a fairly common occurance? :P





  • @PSWorx said:

    Mandatory cartoon (sfw)
    Translation?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @PSWorx said:

    Mandatory cartoon (sfw)

    Translation?



    A new device has been detected.

    Device: AIRBUSA310

    Should the auto-configuration procedure be initiated?

    Start / Cancel

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Carnildo said:

    Normal procedure in response to uncommanded movement by the airplane is to disconnect the autopilot and restore level flight, something that any pilot with eyeballs functioning well enough to see the big "DISCONNECT" bar on the autopilot control panel and basic hand-eye coordination to make the VSI go to 0. There's no "fucking around with the settings" involved.

    FTFY. A dozen hours is overkill.



  • @stewieatb said:

    a few thoughts
    1) if your computers can be in any way damaged by mobile phones, laptop wifi, or any other kind of EM waves (they can't), you need to find a better class of computer.
    2) if your computers can be damaged by EM waves, why aren't they crashing all the time due to flying through beams from communications satellites? 'Plane brought down by Satellite TV signals' is one i've never seen
    3) if your computers can be damaged by radio or microwaves, use a Faraday cage! i met some people using a 9T magnet in a low-temperature physics experiment. The whole room was Faraday caged. If you took a cell phone inside, it could get wiped. leave it outside, it's fine. I'm sure if a Faraday cage can stop a 9T magnetic field, it can block out all 'dangerous' signals, stopping bullshitting airlines from being able to blame their incompetence and cheap maintenance policies on someone on the flight wanting to watch a movie, type a letter, write some code, play a game, or generally not be bored on a 9-hour flight.

    That's the thing that always bugged me, the idea that somehow cell phone/WiFi/etc. signals IN PARTICULAR are bringing down planes. Those are some discriminating computers. (Isn't light just EM waves of a particular frequency?)



  • light is indeed EM waves, but of course not all EM uses the same frequency.

    It just happens to be that the transmissions of early US cellphones were in roughly the same frequency range as that used by navigational beacons for aircraft (but at lower signal intensity) and could thus cause interference in receivers for those beacons if used near those receivers.

    With GSM that problem doesn't exist.

    As already said, the claim by QANTAS that the problems were caused by someone's laptop are almost certainly an attempt to defuse any liability claims brought on by their current sloppy maintenance procedures, or by Airbus to prevent similar claims about their shoddy automated control systems.
    If it were really possible for someone's laptop to cause the control system to go haywire it would have happened hundreds of times already, even if it were only possible because of a shoddily designed Airbus system (which is installed in hundreds of these aircraft and possibly thousands more of other types).



  • @fyjham said:

    Fair's fair, I'm not a car enthusiast, but are you trying to say that I was factually inaccurate on the build of a car or that once you correct it to that you think it makes sense and is a fairly common occurance? :P
    I'm saying that a car computer, proper, can't cause a car to accelerate or swerve, since it's not connected to those systems. (Although your dashboard would light up like a Christmas tree.) However, many accelerators in new cars have gone digital rather than having a mechanical linkage, introducing a new system to be interfered with. I'm pretty sure in the near future your situation would be plausible, but mine's plausible today. Or as plausible as Qantas' steaming pile of WTF.



  • Well ok: The reason why they don't want you to use cellphones is because in an airplane when you are so high up you can communicate with hundreds or thousands of cellphone towers. The cell companies do not want their bandwith so overused by your one cellphone so they have an agreement with the airlines.

    A laptop can THEORETICALLY hack into the plane's communication. Of course this is granted that we have quantum computer laptops capable of cracking very large encryption keys.

     

    And defence should be "your honor, i am not guilty of killing those 4 pedestrians because one of them had a cellphone who's radio waves hit certain molecules in my stomach turning them into alcohol causing me to immediately get intoxicated and in a drunken rage run over all of them, then come out the car, pee on their heads, and start saying that I am jesus come to kill the infidels over a megaphone!"



  • @astonerbum said:

    Well ok: The reason why they don't want you to use cellphones is because in an airplane when you are so high up you can communicate with hundreds or thousands of cellphone towers. The cell companies do not want their bandwith so overused by your one cellphone so they have an agreement with the airlines.

    A laptop can THEORETICALLY hack into the plane's communication. Of course this is granted that we have quantum computer laptops capable of cracking very large encryption keys.

     

    And defence should be "your honor, i am not guilty of killing those 4 pedestrians because one of them had a cellphone who's radio waves hit certain molecules in my stomach turning them into alcohol causing me to immediately get intoxicated and in a drunken rage run over all of them, then come out the car, pee on their heads, and start saying that I am jesus come to kill the infidels over a megaphone!"

     

    Before mobile phones we had cosmic rays ...



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    @fyjham said:

    Fair's fair, I'm not a car enthusiast, but are you trying to say that I was factually inaccurate on the build of a car or that once you correct it to that you think it makes sense and is a fairly common occurance? :P
    I'm saying that a car computer, proper, can't cause a car to accelerate or swerve, since it's not connected to those systems. (Although your dashboard would light up like a Christmas tree.) However, many accelerators in new cars have gone digital rather than having a mechanical linkage, introducing a new system to be interfered with. I'm pretty sure in the near future your situation would be plausible, but mine's plausible today. Or as plausible as Qantas' steaming pile of WTF.

    Car computers seem to go haywire already without any external intervention, as these guys found out. Though "my PC made my car run over pedestrians" is still too far away to be plausible.

    Of course, it also could be you learned to drive by playing Carmaggeddon...



  • @cklam said:

    Before mobile phones we had cosmic rays ...

     

    Well, it's a darn good thing that the mobile phones managed to eliminate that particular risk.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    these guys
    Linking fail!  How do you switch the title and href attributes and not catch your mistake?  Or are you just testing me?

    FIXED:

    these guys



  • @rc_pinchey said:

    Ban those evil laptops NOW!

     

     

    Thankfully there will be no need as the real truth has surfaced!



  • @jwenting said:

    the claim by QANTAS

    Hey, I have a new slogan for them.

    QANTAS: We've stopped paying attention to U altogether, and nobody's even noticed.

    I apologise for that.



  • "Passengers whose belts were not buckled, including babies and young children, were thrown against the cabin roof, smashing into roof panels and luggage lockers."

    TRWTF. I would go over and slap them, but they've (hopefully) learned their lesson.



  • @Liquid Egg Product said:

    "Passengers whose belts were not buckled, including babies and young children, were thrown against the cabin roof, smashing into roof panels and luggage lockers."

    TRWTF. I would go over and slap them, but they've (hopefully) learned their lesson.

    Heh, 2 years ago I was being mocked because I always buckled up. This particular day, my friend didn't heed my advice to merge right at about 1 km before taking the exit on a 10-lane highway. The reason I told him this was because the 5-lane road would split into 2 inner/3 outer just before the exit, with a dividing curb separating about 100m, then the 2 center lanes would go underground.

    He thought he was smarter, and did what could've qualified as a Darwin: he did a last-minute swerve from the leftmost lane to the rightmost lane ... jumping over the divider (which he didn't see), which obviously destroyed all 4 tires, part of the suspension, hydraulic pump and other stuff. Oh, and the car jumped (of course); everyone except me was thrown to the roof, and got a nice headbump.

    That was just a small jump at 130 km/h. In an airplane, you're usually travelling at 800 km/h and any sharp move is bound to be painful. People who don't buckle up while seated deserve getting slammed in these cases! However, I do hope no-one was in the toilet when this happened. That would be gross!!!



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    I'm saying that a car computer, proper, can't cause a car to accelerate or swerve, since it's not connected to those systems. (Although your dashboard would light up like a Christmas tree.) However, many accelerators in new cars have gone digital rather than having a mechanical linkage, introducing a new system to be interfered with. I'm pretty sure in the near future your situation would be plausible, but mine's plausible today. Or as plausible as Qantas' steaming pile of WTF.

    Yeah, I was more referring to the more modern cars where there is actually a computer involved. I know in that older cars it's almost all mechanical and very little computerized.

    I'm pretty sure a lot of modern cars do some processing of the driver's steering/accelerating/breaking... I mean otherwise I'm completely wrong about how ABS and traction control work (Which would surprise me, but wouldn't really shock me :P). If they can build those systems to be safe, surely the same logic could be applied to the aircraft.

     

    PS: The reports have come back on this one and they're blaming an issue with the autopilot and not interference anymore... not that it's any more comforting but it's more believable.



  • @CDarklock said:

    @jwenting said:

    the claim by QANTAS

    Hey, I have a new slogan for them.

    QANTAS: We've stopped paying attention to U altogether, and nobody's even noticed.

    I apologise for that.

    What are you talking about? That's always been their name - there's never ever been a "u" there at all.



  • @Kyanar said:

    @CDarklock said:

    @jwenting said:

    the claim by QANTAS

    Hey, I have a new slogan for them.

    QANTAS: We've stopped paying attention to U altogether, and nobody's even noticed.

    I apologise for that.

    What are you talking about? That's always been their name - there's never ever been a "u" there at all.

    I believe that in Rain Man they write QUANTAS, and I do remember seeing that writing in other media as well. I actually thought it was written that way, but Wikipedia says otherwise. (That, or someone had a photoshop-fest on the Qantas article.)



  • @curtmack said:

    @stewieatb said:

    a few thoughts
    1) if your computers can be in any way damaged by mobile phones, laptop wifi, or any other kind of EM waves (they can't), you need to find a better class of computer.
    2) if your computers can be damaged by EM waves, why aren't they crashing all the time due to flying through beams from communications satellites? 'Plane brought down by Satellite TV signals' is one i've never seen
    3) if your computers can be damaged by radio or microwaves, use a Faraday cage! i met some people using a 9T magnet in a low-temperature physics experiment. The whole room was Faraday caged. If you took a cell phone inside, it could get wiped. leave it outside, it's fine. I'm sure if a Faraday cage can stop a 9T magnetic field, it can block out all 'dangerous' signals, stopping bullshitting airlines from being able to blame their incompetence and cheap maintenance policies on someone on the flight wanting to watch a movie, type a letter, write some code, play a game, or generally not be bored on a 9-hour flight.

    That's the thing that always bugged me, the idea that somehow cell phone/WiFi/etc. signals IN PARTICULAR are bringing down planes. Those are some discriminating computers. (Isn't light just EM waves of a particular frequency?)

    1) We're not talking about permanent damage, just incorrect navigation data.  In some cases the aircraft instrument goes haywire and it's obvious that there's a problem.  There are other documented cases where the instrument was only 10 degrees off the correct course, which is difficult to detect but can put you in a bad situation (imagine flying to Hawaii and missing the island by 10 degrees.)

    2) The aircraft designers do actually think about what they are designing.  That is why the problem is rare.  The main instrument which is known to be affected by phones was invented before WW2, when interference was not considered to be a high risk.

    3) Navigation instruments (including GPS) rely on receiving radio waves with antennae.  If the antenna is inside the cage, it doesn't work.

    4) Devices that intentionally radiate radio energy inside an airplane fuselage (faraday cage) are really not a good idea at the moment.



  • @Kyanar said:

    What are you talking about? That's always been their name - there's never ever been a "u" there at all.

    I'm implying that Qantas, from its inception, was overtly continuing a trend of poor customer service in the entire airline industry.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    Heh, 2 years ago I was being mocked because I always buckled up.

    People laughed at you for wearing your seatbelt?  Is Mexico still in the 1950's when it comes to automobile safety or something?



  • @Soviut said:

    @danixdefcon5 said:

    Heh, 2 years ago I was being mocked because I always buckled up.

    People laughed at you for wearing your seatbelt?  Is Mexico still in the 1950's when it comes to automobile safety or something?

    Dude, Mexico's in the 1950's when it comes to just about everything. 



  • @Soviut said:

    @danixdefcon5 said:

    Heh, 2 years ago I was being mocked because I always buckled up.

    People laughed at you for wearing your seatbelt?  Is Mexico still in the 1950's when it comes to automobile safety or something?

    Seatbelts are there alright, but there are still a bunch of idiots that don't buckle up just because. At least some cities have explicitly changed driving laws; Mexico City did it last year, so at least over here most people are wearing seatbelts now. The aforementioned incident was before the "seatbelt law", though many people were already using them; it only reduced the number of idiots that still refused to do it.

    One big complaint I still have, though, is that some people (including taxi drivers) remove the backseat seatbelts. It seems like the "backseat is safe" myth isn't quite gone yet.



  • @Liquid Egg Product said:

    "Passengers whose belts were not buckled, including babies and young children, were thrown against the cabin roof, smashing into roof panels and luggage lockers."

    TRWTF. I would go over and slap them, but they've (hopefully) learned their lesson.

     

    Liquid Egg Product: you are coming over as being an arrogant prick.

    Babies/Infants are secured during take-off and landing with an additional belt threaded through and adult's seat belt subsequently stay on the adult's lap while belted in. Otherwise they stay in their bed (which is hanged on the bulkhead). (Small) Children over the age of 2 have their own seat and subsequently their own seat belt but:

    However, how long do you think your 2-4-year-old toddler stays belted in ? Based on my own experience with my daughter not very long at all .... unless you rohypnol or some other shit like that on them (I have observed parents do that on even not-so-long flights).

    My decision is for my daughter and against rohypnol. If turbulence strikes I just have to be fast to catch her (I am constantly belted in, though - unless I chase after with my wife being a bad flier).


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