GPS on a plane?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by yg17, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    Aug 1, 2004
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    St. Louis, MO
    #1
    I'm flying to Cleveland tomorrow, and since I'll be renting a car once there I'm bringing along my Garmin nuvi. Anyone know if I can turn the GPS on while on the plane? Assuming it can lock onto the satellites, I thought it would be interesting to see the plane's speed and route and all that. Not sure if the FAA/airlines allow it. It's Continental on the way there and Delta on the way back.
     
  2. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    Location:
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    #2
    If you're sitting beside a window you can get it to work albeit unreliably. As a receive-only device, there's approximately zero chance it could interfere with anything on the plane. That said, don't do it, because flight attendants don't know anything about how GPS works, and once they have noticed you trying to use it there will be no explaining it to them. That is if they don't outright panic at seeing a passenger pointing an electronic device out the window. Makes no sense, but it doesn't have to.
     
  3. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #3
    Some airlines allow it, some don't but that means nothing because the real issue is that some flight attendants allow it and some don't regardless of the airline. I say give it a shot, see if it works, and if you get scorned by some cranky old Flight attendant put it away without protesting.
     
  4. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #4
    Like the others said - it's gonna depend on the flight attendant. Give it a shot! All they can do is tell you to put it away.
     
  5. pooky macrumors 6502

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    Jun 2, 2003
    #5
    It's generally allowed, but it rarely works. I've tried it. Planes are pretty well shielded, so it's hard to get a signal. Even if it can get a signal, it's hard to get a position lock, since you are moving so fast and generally have moved quite a ways since you last turned it on. Not worth messing with, IMO.
     
  6. oblomow macrumors 68020

    oblomow

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    Apr 14, 2005
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #6
    Not true when you're using a gps with a modern chipset. I've used a garmin gpsmap 60 on several flights and got a good lock on the satellites. It wasn't
    even necessary to hold it against the window, I could hold in on my knee.
    ( which of course made the use of the gps less conspicious ...)
     
  7. DarrenG macrumors regular

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    England
    #7
    Actually it's 'rarely' allowed, often explicitly forbidden and unless you ask and receive permission from the cabin attendants I would caution against it.
    In todays security climate waving anything electronic near a window is very likely to get you a welcome committee when you land.

    I've used them and it works fine in many cases but that was some time ago. These days I don't even bother asking as I know the answer!
     
  8. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    Location:
    Southern California
    #8
    I would hope that most flight attendants would know a GPS receiver when they saw one. Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit. :)

    Also, if the flight attendants aren't being cooperative about GPS and you want to know how fast you're going, etc...just ask. They'll go up to the flight deck and get the answers from the pilots. I've never met a pilot that doesn't enjoy answering questions of that sort.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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  10. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #10
    GPS works in high altitudes but because of the speed you'll be moving at it might now find a good signal. Might be worth a shot though! As others have said it's only a receiver, just be sure to turn off Wifi/Bluetooth on the device.
     
  11. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #11
    i might try this with my iphone on my flight tomorrow, when no one is looking
     
  12. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    #12
    I understand the potential to get busted with a regular GPS, but with the iPhone, it's just going to look like you're playing with your music. As for getting a signal, you should have no problem. GPS works great in the front office of the airplane, odds are it'll work alright in the back.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    GPS works in the cockpit because the antenna is where it needs to be for it to work. As has already been said, whether you get the chance to find out is up to the flight attendants, and they're not sure, the captain.
     
  14. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #14
    well, i'll find out tomorrow
     
  15. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

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    #15
    besides the large metal body of the airplane, there's not much to block the GPS signal. Try getting close to a window.
     
  16. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #16
    My understanding is that there is an external antenna for the "front office's" GPS.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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  18. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    #18
    This is correct. Thus why I said "great" vs "alright". My hiking GPS can get a signal under a thick canopy of trees, inside, under overhangs, etc etc. Inside an airplane will work no problem.
     
  19. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    San Francisco, CA
    #19
    Would that require a cellular signal, or is the GPS active in airplane mode?
     
  20. wfoster macrumors 6502a

    wfoster

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    Plymouth, UK
    #20
    I used to be scared that if I opened up my laptop on the plane that some program would come on screen and let me have the ability to fly the plane. Yes, I know. I'm sad. :cool:
     
  21. benflick macrumors 68020

    benflick

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    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #21
    When I have Airplane mode on and try to use GPS, I get the "Your location could not be determined" message. So I would imagine that it would not work on your iPhone with Airplane mode on...
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #22
    Wirelessly posted (Nokia 5800 Tube XpressMusic : Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.4; U; Series60/5.0 Nokia5800d-1/10.0.010; Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 ) AppleWebKit/413 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/413)

    If you want to hide it, try putting it in your shoe. They love it when people do that.
     
  23. NightFlight macrumors 6502

    NightFlight

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    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #23
    It will work but you better have a window seat and hold it up to the window.

    I've got my TomTom to find a satellite but it takes forever to lock on. 603MPH was the fastest it recorded... :)
     
  24. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #24

    That works until you have to take your shoes off and put them through the X-ray machine ;)
     
  25. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #25
    well i couldn't get a gps signal on my iphone. though i didn't hold it up to the window
     

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