CAA undertakes survey to verify PC-aeroplane compatibility

Qantas 747 nearly hits London and begs several questions

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said today that it was sponsoring research into the effects of PCs and CD-ROMs on aeroplanes, large and small. That follows a report in today's edition of The Daily Mail which claimed that a Qantas 747 almost destroyed large parts of London because passengers were playing computer games. The report said that a Quantas flight from Australia to London on September 4th almost crashed because the kit interrupted systems on the plane. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in central London confirmed that there was an incident on a 747 but said it had only been notified out of courtesy. A representative said: "I believe it did happen. It was reported to the Australian Aviation Authority because the plane came under its jurisdiction." But, he added, the jury was still out on whether unscreened equipment could interfere with planes in their flight. He said that onboard equipment, such as Nintendo games on Virgin Flights were screened, and mobile phones were banned because their frequencies interfered with air to ground communications. Computer games, CD ROMs and the like however, were still a matter of discussion. "There have been a few allegations over the last 10 years that such equipment compromised systems," he said. "The CAA is currently sponsoring a survey to find out if this is true." He said: "Because we have only allegations, we've been unable to reproduce the effects." For that reason, the CAA had taken the course of asking airlines to stop people using non screened equipment during take off and landing. ®

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