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Wireless Mouse and Airplanes

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September 25, 2007 11:37:10 PM

Greetings!

On a recent Frontier flight from St. Louis to Denver, I was told by a flight attendant that I could not use a wireless mouse with a laptop. After flying more years than I care to count, this is the first time I had ever heard THAT. As far as I know, the typical (Microsoft) wireless laptop mouse has an RF range of about 3 feet, so it sounds like more airline BS.

I'm not an expert on RF interference. Can anyone enlighten me? What's the skinny?

Thanks,

AlbusD
September 26, 2007 12:35:04 AM

G'day mate,
The simple reason for asking people to switch off their RF devices is this: Yes your device was manufactured and complied under specific data and RF interference when it left the factory and SHOULD not interfere with any of the aircraft devices. But who tells you that your device is not malfunctioning at that point or will not malfunction while flying? How about a wire in your mouse that shorts and creates an unpredictable electromagnetic field? They are not saying that your equipment WILL cause trouble, they are just minimising the risks by AVOIDING trouble. And that is by keeping everything switched off. I don't think people will die if they do not use their mobiles for a few hours on a flight! People have become very dependent on mobiles and laptops (not to mention smoking! LOL). Sit back in your airplane seat, relax and enjoy the flight.
September 26, 2007 1:03:11 AM

Nope, there is no truth to what the flight attendant told you, especially with the range of the mouse taken into consideration. I am a private pilot and the only reason the cell phone ban exists is because of the load it puts on the cellular infrastructure. There is not enough energy in a mouse to disrupt aircraft systems.

oh, and expelliarmus albusD!!
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September 26, 2007 1:58:13 AM

I think a zero tolerance policy is best because no flight attendant will ever know everything about every wireless device... would you rather they just said "Hey, anyone doing **** that'll crash the plane... STOP!" Because that's pretty much what you're suggesting. I totally agree your mouse is harmless... but for simplicity's sake, you have to draw the line.
September 26, 2007 2:21:48 AM

rayzor said:
Nope, there is no truth to what the flight attendant told you, especially with the range of the mouse taken into consideration. I am a private pilot and the only reason the cell phone ban exists is because of the load it puts on the cellular infrastructure. There is not enough energy in a mouse to disrupt aircraft systems.

oh, and expelliarmus albusD!!


rayzor.. your talking out of your keester. So just stop please. The cell phone deal goes way back... The rules are from when a cell phone was the size and weight of a car battery. Those were relatively powerful transmitters and potentially could interfere with the airplanes avionics. Now a days a cell phone is about a 1/2 watt transmitter and will not interfere with modern or probably even older avionics but the rulz still exits for what was said earlier. Its to eliminate any POTENTIAL interferance.

As for the flight attendants words being true or not. Of course her words are true. IF they say you cant use it ...then you CANT use it. On the flight they ARE god. Put it this way. When they tell you you cannot use a wireless mouse on the flight, just keep using it. See what happens.
September 26, 2007 2:28:13 AM

Yes, it's BS.

If it was not BS, we would not be allowed to carry on electronic gear.
It would be far easier to design a high-powered RF debive to crash a plane than blow it up with a shoe :>

However, it's not possible to crash a plane with a high-powered RF device, so we can all relax. The rules are based on urban myth. However, nobody is going to put their tail on the line to get the silliness changed.
September 29, 2007 8:19:08 PM

Many thanks to all who posted. I actually never intended to disobey the flight attendant. As it happens, my sister flew for Delta for 23 years and I have a pretty good idea of what they have to put up with from passengers on occasion. Unless they are blatantly out of line (rarely), I'm on the side the flight crew.

This was just in the way of a technical inquiry; consider my question answered!

BTW, rayzor, "Accio supermodel" to you, too!

October 16, 2007 11:31:12 PM

rodney_ws said:
I think a zero tolerance policy is best because no flight attendant will ever know everything about every wireless device... would you rather they just said "Hey, anyone doing **** that'll crash the plane... STOP!" Because that's pretty much what you're suggesting. I totally agree your mouse is harmless... but for simplicity's sake, you have to draw the line.


hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha that sh$ was funny lmao :pt1cable:  :lol: 
October 17, 2007 12:48:50 AM

little_Scrapper, have you ever designed a piece of radio equipment - whether for aerial navigation or communications? Constructed one? Tested it under varying conditions?

If so, when you designed it, did you design a faraday cage around it in the form of a metal enclosure, so that it wouldn't interfere with the other navigation and communications equipment installed in the same dashboard?

And did you remember to put a shielded connector to connect the device to an antenna mounted on the exterior of the airplane?

Of course you did, because you know full well that otherwise the device wouldn't work very well at all, and could not be installed in an airplane dashboard next to another device of the same design.

So let's leave rayzor's keester out of this.

And, oh yeah, Expelliarmus!
October 17, 2007 12:50:06 AM

TeraMedia said:
little_Scrapper, have you ever designed a piece of radio equipment - whether for aerial navigation or communications? Constructed one? Tested it under varying conditions?

If so, when you designed it, did you design a faraday cage around it in the form of a metal enclosure, so that it wouldn't interfere with the other navigation and communications equipment installed in the same dashboard?

And did you remember to put a shielded connector to connect the device to an antenna mounted on the exterior of the airplane?

Of course you did, because you know full well that otherwise the device wouldn't work very well at all, and could not be installed in an airplane dashboard next to another device of the same design.

So let's leave rayzor's keester out of this.

And, oh yeah, Expelliarmus!



ouch!!!!
July 31, 2012 3:42:18 PM

I fly every week and it is now to the point where I can't use ANY mouse at all....wired or wireless. Why? Because of the little red LED or laser on the bottom of the mouse. I've also been told t turn off my calculator while cruising at 30,000 feet. Why? Again, because I happened to have a calculator with the red LED display instead of one with the black LCD display. Apparently, the laser and LED's will potentially interfere, or so we're told. Supposedly the FAA is doing new tests to determine what is reasonable and what is not and they will publish a list similar to the TSA list of items you can not bring on board. I was stunned to read that the ban on cell phones, headphones, calculators, LCD's, etc. was all based on theory and that the FAA had never actually done tests. Geez. And to my knowledge there is no such thing as an "FAA compliant computer mouse" since they stopped making them with trackballs.

a b D Laptop
July 31, 2012 11:17:22 PM

... MS makes a blue laser mouse. The MS wireless 5000 is my go to mouse. And yes it does work on the carpet, the arm of the couch...

edit- on 'sale' at staples for $30 (i bought mine from them for 25 well over a year ago)
http://www.staples.com/Microsoft-Wireless-Laser-Mouse-5...
!