In regards to the mobile phone situation….it is becoming more and more difficult to enforce the whole ‘phones must remain switched off until after the engines are shut down’. It is hard to justify as a ‘safety’ measure when a passenger flying any US or Australian airline for instance has carte blanche to use their phone once the aircraft turn off the runway. Does that mean operators of these nations are encouraging ‘unsafe practices’? I doubt it.
The CAA does tend to lag a bit when it comes to modifying safety requirements. An example of this is gate-to-gate IFE. This has been happening elsewhere in the world for years and although the technology was available for BA to offer the same it’s hands were tied on safety grounds. BA took a case to the CAA, asked them to review it. BA also hosted a number of safety trials in conjunction with the CAA in order to find a way forward. I guess the mobile phone scenario is similar.
Any pilot i’ve ever asked has dismissed the notion of mobile phones being a safety hazard. And I guess the proof is in the pudding really. If you take into consideration that a proportion of passengers are going to have their mobile phones on for landing on every flight (either deliberately or inadvertently) well I guess we aren’t seeing planes falling out of the sky on a regular basis.
Apparently the last time the CAA looked at the mobile phone issue was back when the UK networks (and most worldwide) operated on an anologue system (remember when sometimes you would hear other peoples conversations?). So the concern wasn’t so much an interfering with systems one, more an interfering with communications between ATC one. With the digital mobile networks we now use, apparently this isn’t an issue.