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> Unless its changed recently, it is not legal to use cellular phones in
> airborne airplanes regardless of who is piloting in Canada, except when
> have experienced an in-flight communications failure. In that scenario
> pretty much covered by use-anything-in-an-emergency. I believe this is
> covered by the cellphone license and is (or was) covered in the CARs.
COPA (Canadas version of AOPA) did a study a few months ago and published
the results in their November 2000 newsletter:
AIRBORNE USE OF CELL PHONES OKAY
The April 20, 2000 amendment to the Aeronautical Information Publication
added paragraph COM 5.14, encouraging cell phone use during radio
communications failures in aircraft.
This lead your COPA staff to do some digging to find out exactly what the
rules are for using cell phones from aircraft in flight.
Industry Canada, which regulates the use of the radio spectrum in Canada,
indicated that there is no law prohibiting cell phone activity from aircraft
Their technical representative indicated that most airlines ban cell phone
use because of potential interference with the airliners avionics.
There is also the potential for problems within the cellular network, due
the high altitude airborne cell phone hitting several different network
cells at one time.
In checking with one of the countrys largest cell phone service providers,
they indicated that they have no rules prohibiting cell phone use from
They also indicated that they have had no problems with multiple cell "hits"
from a single airborne phone causing problems but were unaware that airborne
calls were being made.
Checking with Nav Canada, they are quite happy if pilots experiencing a
total radio failure use a cell phone to call ATC or FSS, rather than fly on
incommunicado but they were quick to add that Nav Canada does not want to
see pilots in non-emergency situations phoning while airborne to get
clearances or talk to FSS.
Nav Canada phone numbers now appear in the Canada Flight Supplement.
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