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waypoint
08-03-2010, 08:29 AM
Hi, I am not a pilot and this is my first post. I do have a question and am pretty sure ya'll here know the answer.

Is it legal for a patrol pilot to use a satellite phone while flying or is there an FAA law against it? Is this a big no no? If so, could someone point me to the law?

I'm trying to build an argument why we need radios in our patrol planes and why satellite phones would not work. Thanks.


DashDriverYV
08-03-2010, 08:55 AM
Sec. 91.21 - Portable electronic devices.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any of the following U.S.-registered civil aircraft:
(1) Aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate; or
(2) Any other aircraft while it is operated under IFR.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to --
(1) Portable voice recorders;
(2) Hearing aids;
(3) Heart pacemakers;
(4) Electric shavers; or
(5) Any other portable electronic device that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used. (c) In the case of an aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate, the determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be used. In the case of other aircraft, the determination may be made by the pilot in command or other operator of the aircraft.

Cycle Pilot
08-03-2010, 08:57 AM
As long as you're not IFR or an air carrier then you're good to go per the FAA. See FAR 91.121 - Portable Electronic Devices.

Now you have to check to make sure you're not violating an FCC rule. I believe the FCC has a rule that prohibits cel use in the air because it ties too many towers up. I'm not sure about sat phones or where to look it up.

Hope this helps!


waypoint
08-03-2010, 09:00 AM
Thank you.

What is IFR?

Cycle Pilot
08-03-2010, 09:03 AM
Thank you.

What is IFR?

Instrument Flight Rules. If you're patrolling and looking at the ground then you wouldn't be IFR. You would be VFR which stands for Visual Flight Rules. IFR allows you to fly into clouds, basically.

rickair7777
08-03-2010, 09:20 AM
Now you have to check to make sure you're not violating an FCC rule. I believe the FCC has a rule that prohibits cel use in the air because it ties too many towers up. I'm not sure about sat phones or where to look it up.


You are correct about the FCC rule, although modern digital cell phone systems are smart enough to ignore a phone which is visible to too many towers. That's why your cell phone won't until you are fairly low anyway.

Analog phones used to work in the high flight levels. know somebody who called his mom when he overflew her house at FL350.

There should be no technical or legal problem (other than the FAR) preventing the use of SAT phones while airborne. The military uses them in the air sometimes.

jungle
08-03-2010, 10:29 AM
Hi, I am not a pilot and this is my first post. I do have a question and am pretty sure ya'll here know the answer.

Is it legal for a patrol pilot to use a satellite phone while flying or is there an FAA law against it? Is this a big no no? If so, could someone point me to the law?

I'm trying to build an argument why we need radios in our patrol planes and why satellite phones would not work. Thanks.

Sat phones will work, and in fact are installed on general aviation aircraft in both permanent and temporary versions.

See:Iridium satellite phone rentals for general aviation (http://www.worldranger.com/iridium_accessories.htm)


The question is, will a radio work? What type of patrol, the area and the terrain, and of course coverage for VHF radios in that area or the ability to climb to make a report, or postpone that report until in an area with VHF coverage.
Most general aviation aircraft have a VHF radio or two, the question is whether this will meet your needs or if you will require something more exotic like HF radio or Sat Phone.

Part of the answer depends on the type of radio equipment the station being reported to already has and their capability. UHF/VHF or other.

If you are talking about a police patrol then you would need radios with that capability, possibly on another band and perhaps encrypted.

Ewfflyer
08-04-2010, 07:39 AM
I didn't know how to use it, but I've flown a TBM700 with a sat phone installed. If I knew the code I could've called and used it through the Garmin 340 audio panel