GPS on a plane

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by dgdosen, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. dgdosen macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2003
    Has anyone flown with the new gps iPhone? Does it pick up your position in Google Maps?
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    That's it! I've had it with this *%$!@ GPS on this *%$!@ plane!

    I'd imagine that it would work, but you'd be moving fairly quickly...
  3. a27 macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    I've never used GPS on a plane.
    I've not even seen Snakes on a plane.
  4. WWWMAC macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008
    I was in a sales meeting last December and one guy said he turned on his TOM TOM on his flight, everyone looked at him as if to say, "WTF is wrong with you"

    I doubt anything would happen, but some things are just best left alone. :cool:
  5. southerngeordie macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    I've had it on in a plane although it was only light aircraft at about 2000ft. The GPS worked as normal although the dot was moving a lot faster!
  6. vandozza macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2006
    how would you download the google maps data though?

    you would have to be on a flight with in-flight wi-fi?
  7. southerngeordie macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    The height I was at it was able to pick up 3G and at points GPRS and EDGE however if you were higher you would need in flight wifi, although I tried the GPS out of signal and it seemed to come up with a dot but no map :confused:
  8. vandozza macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2006
    probably can't load the data fast enough to keep up with the speed you are travelling at!
  9. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Don't know about the iPhone but I tried a Garmin one time at 35,000 feet and never got a signal. Basically, it didn't work.
  10. markgamber macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2005
    Redneck, PA
    I've never had any GPS unit work for me in a plane and not for a lack of trying. Or most other vehicles such as a train. I'm guessing the reason is the metal body, wiring, insulation, frame, bulkheads, etc. Even if you sit by a window, the signals would be so weak or so few that it wouldn't work. Probably the best you can do is to book a flight on an airline that shows you where you are on a map on the little TV screen in front of each seat. I know United and BA have that on international flights.
  11. viggen61 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    Exactly. The metal body suppresses the already weak GPS signals, and the little antenna in the unit can't pick it up. I have a Lowrance AirMap 600c, which is made for aviation use, and it still needs the external antenna stuck to the window to have any hope of picking up enough satellites, even in a single-engine plane.

    I don't see any reason why a GPS unit can't work at those speeds, unless the programmer didn't allow for a large enough number for the speed! Supersonic fighter planes use GPS, as does the Space Shuttle, and even the Space Station!


  12. dodonutter macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2004
    Deep South UK
    Also like to add that using GPS on a plane is fine (someone said about getting strange looks) because it doesn't transmit (well AGPS sorta does but if you have airplane mode on it doesn't) so its fine to use on a plane.

    Only issue, as people have said, is the fact that your in a large aluminium tube which doesn't work too well with GPS signals. It would work through the window but you need to be able to see at least 4 satellites to get a fix and the windows are only small on planes!
  13. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    It doesn't work.

    1. The airplane's roof will probably break the signal.
    2. You won't have map data because you'll have no signal.
    3. It can't locate you without cell service. Turn on airplane mode and open Google Maps. Try locating yourself. It doesn't work. It can't find the satellites on its own, it needs assistance from the cell towers.
    4. It's against the rules and you will be kicked off the plane mid-flight! :D
  14. John A macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    When you put the iphone in airplane mode, the gps is disabled anyway.
  15. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC

    Ok, this isn't an iPhone, but it's a GPS working on an airplane! This is a USB GPS unit stuck to the window. Worked great. If you can't read it, that's 406 mph at 41,000 feet.

    Check out the two photos.

    Attached Files:

  16. fedup flyer macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2008
    I use occasionly use my Garmin Nuvi while airborne ( I am a professional pilot) just to see what it will do.
    Mainly I use it for a more accurate parking position for the INSs. where the Lat-Longs aren't posted. The main problem with getting a workable signal is the penetration through the laminar glass. Most passenger windows are 2-3 pains thick with an addition interior plastic pain. I can usually get a signal in the back with very little problem. Now in the cockpit is a different story. The glass is thicker and the windshield heat causes the loss of all signal.
  17. ubersalad macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2008

    I am calling FAA and Home Land Security on your ass...
  18. carfac macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
    Sorry- you would be wrong there....

    FAA and HS do NOT decide if you can use a cel phone or not- that is up to the individual carriers. In fact, FAA has told carriers they can if they so choose. Some are testing now, but none have chosen to.

    Why you would think HS would have something to do with this is a mystery...
  19. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    I used a Garmin on a commercial jet. Worked fine. I held the thing to the window to catch enough satellites. That was pre-911 and I'm no longer in the mood to attract attention on flights doing "strange" things.

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