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Airline pilots told to switch off mobile phones

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The US Federal Aviation Authority has issued an alert to airlines reminding them that its not just passengers who should keep their phones switched off, but pilots too.

The alert follows an incident where an air-safety inspector was observing take-off, moments prior to which the crew heard a "warbling sound" which turned out to be the First Officer's phone ringing.

Worse still, the Airline's General Operations Manual - the bible of procedures - contained no prohibition on crew leaving their phones switched on, unlike passengers who can't even use an MP3 player during take off and landing.

Flight Global, who reported the story, points out that FAA guidelines state explicitly that mobile phones "will not be authorized for use while the aircraft is being taxied for departure after leaving the gate", making no distinction between crew and passengers.

The alert to airlines recommends the director of operations for each company review the General Operations Manual and ensure that crew are required to switch off their mobile phones, at least until proper in-flight connectivity is available to everyone.

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