TAM Airlines Airbus A320 crashed at Sao Paulo

Only 10 month after a GOL 737 crashed in a midair collision, again an airliner crashed in Brazil.
Tuesday night a TAM Airlines Airbus A320 crashed and burst into flames at Brazil’s busiest airport, Sao Paulo Congonhas Airport, killing at least 200 people.

The plane, Flight JJ3054, coming from Porto Alegre to Sao Paulo, skidded off runway 35L on landing during heavy rain, shot across a busy highway and crashed into several buildings including a gas station. Nobody of the 176 people on board survived, at least 15 were killed on the ground.
Sao Paulo’s airport is notorious for having short, slippery runways. The runway was recently resurfaced, but the cutting of grooves to channel rainwater off the pavement had not been completed.

Pictures: http://www.estadao.com.br/interatividade/Multimidia/ShowFotos.action
Story at CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/07/18/brazil.plane.crash/index.html

Date: 17 JUL 2007
Time: 18:45
Type: Airbus A320-233
Operator: TAM Linhas Aéreas
Registration: PR-MBK
C/n / msn: 789

First flight: 1998-02-13 00:00:00
Total airframe hrs: 20000.0
Cycles: 9300.0
Engines: 2 IAE V2527-A5
Crew: Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers: Fatalities: 170 / Occupants: 170
Total: Fatalities: 176 / Occupants: 176
Ground casualties: Fatalities: 15
Airplane damage: Written off
Location: São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, SP (CGH)
Phase: Landing
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Porto Alegre-Salgado Filho International Airport, RS (POA/SBPA), Brazil
Destination airport: São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, SP (CGH/SBSP), Brazil
Flightnumber: 3054
TAM Flight 3054 was a regular flight from Porto Alegre (POA) to São Paulo-Congonhas (CGH). The Airbus A.320 departed Porto Alegre at 17:16. It was raining as the flight approached São Paulo. Initial press reports indicate that the pilot executed a go around after attempting to land on runway 35L. A fire department spokesman said that the airplane cleared the perimeter fence and a busy highway. Failing to gain enough height, it collided with a concrete building, bursting into flames.
Runway: Runway 35L is a 6365 x 147 feet (1940 x 45 meters) asphalt runway. TORA ,ASDA, TODA are all 1940 m, LDA 1880m.
Weather around the time of the accident (21:45Z) was reported as: SBSP 172100Z 34008KT 6000 -RA BKN009 OVC070 16/14 Q1018= SBSP 172200Z 35008KT 7000 -RA BKN008 OVC070 15/14 Q1018=
16th loss of a Airbus A320
The worst accident involving a Airbus A320
The worst accident in Brazil

TAM Airlines Safety Record
Founded: 1961
The airline suffered 13 hull-loss accidents.
Last accidents:
17-JUL-2007 РAirbus A.320 РPR-MBK РFatalities: 176+ 15 РṢo Paulo-Congonhas
08-AUG-2006 РFokker 100 РPT-MQN РFatalities: 0 РṢo Paulo-Congonhas
30-AUG-2002 РFokker 100 РPT-MRL РFatalities: 0 РṢo Paulo-Viracopos
30-AUG-2002 – Fokker 100 – PT-MQH – Fatalities: 0 – Birigui, SP
15-SEP-2001 – Fokker 100 – PT-MRN – Fatalities: 1 – near Belo Horizonte

Airbus A320 Safety Record
First flight: 1987
Production total: 1527+
Hull-loss Accidents: 10 with a total of 440 fatalities (not including current accident)
Other occurrences (hull-loss): 4 with a total of 0 fatalities
Criminal occurences (hull-loss, excl. hijackings): 1 with a total of 0 fatalities
Hijackings: 4 with a total of 1 fatalities

Airport Profile São Paulo-Congonhas
ICAO/IATA designators: SBSP / CGH
Latitude: 23° 37′ 36.09″ S / 046° 39′ 19.35″ W
Elevation: 2631 ft/ 802 m
Runway: 17R/35L (6365 x 147 feet, asphalt, ILS)
Runway: 17L/35R (4708 x 147 feet, asphalt, no ILS)


An airport security camera video of the landing of flight 3054 has emerged on YouTube!

Accident sequence
TAM Flight 3054 was a regular flight from Porto Alegre (POA) to São Paulo-Congonhas (CGH). The Airbus A320 departed Porto Alegre at 17:16. It was raining as the flight approached São Paulo. Initial video images from the airport suggest that the airplane landed fast on runway 35L. It failed to stop and went off the runway. Since the runway is at a higher elevation than the surrounding street and residential area, the A320 probably became airborne, cleared the perimeter fence and a busy highway and collided with a concrete building, bursting into flames.
According to TAM one of the thrust reversers had been deactivated before departure.

TAM confirmed that one off-duty first officer had boarded the flight at the last moment.
This brought the number of occupants to six crew members, 160 passengers+2 small children and nineteen TAM employees.
All 187 passengers and crew were killed. The number of people killed on the ground has not been established yet.

TAM A320
Normal seating arrangement for TAM A320’s is 168 passenger seats.
The maximum certified number of seats by the U.S. FAA is 179
The landing weight was reported to have been 67.200kgs, which is below the certified maximum landing weight (not taking the actual conditions at Congonhas into consideration).

Statistics by aviation-safety.net

TAM Crash – Investigation blames Government and Airline Officials

Accident Digest Boeing 737-200 TAAG Angola

Status: Preliminary
Date: 28 JUN 2007
Type: Boeing 737-2M2
Operator: TAAG
Registration: D2-TBP
C/n / msn: 23220/1084

First flight: 28 JAN 1985
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A
Crew: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 7
Passengers: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 71
Total: Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 78
Airplane damage: Written off
Location: M’Banza Congo Airport (SSY), Angola

Phase: Landing
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Luanda-4 de Fevereiro Airport (LAD/FNLU), Angola
Destination airport: M’Banza Congo Airport (SSY/FNBC), Angola

taag280607.jpgThe TAAG Boeing 737 departed Luanda on a domestic flight to M’Banza Congo Airport (SSY) and Negage Airport (GXG). Initial press reports indicated that the airplane crashed on landing. It either touched down short of the runway or went off the runway while attempting to land at M’Banza Congo.
The airport has a single asphalt runway (16/34) which is 1800 m long.

Zaire: TAAG Airliner Crushes, Kills Six People (ANGOP)
* Last fatal Boeing 737-200 accident : 29 OCT 2006 ADC Airlines 5N-BFK, near Abuja, Nigeria- 97 fatalities
* Last Boeing 737-200 write-off: 13 JAN 2007 Gading Sari Aviation Services, PK-RPX, Kuching, Malaysia – 0 fatalities
* Last fatal Boeing 737 (all series) accident : 05 MAY 2007 Kenya Airways B737-800 5Y-KYA, near Douala, Cameroon- 114 fatalities
* Total number of Boeing 737-200 hull-losses: 103 (92 accidents, 11 other occurrences (sabotage, hijacking etc.) ), of which 54 losses were fatal
* Total number of Boeing 737 (all series) hull-losses: 135 (124 accidents, 11 other occurrences (sabotage, hijacking etc.) ), of which 75 losses were fatal
* 42nd worst B737-200 accident
Angolan national airline, originally formed in 1938 as DTA by the Portuguese Colonial Government. In 1974 the airline was renamed TAAG РLinhas A̩reas de Angola. On the day of the accident, just before the accident happened, it was announced that the EU would banning TAAG from flying within the EU over safety concerns, effective July 4
* Fleet: Boeing 737-200 (4), 737-700 (4), 747-300 (2) and 777-200 (2)
* DTA and later TAAG suffered 16 losses: 11 accidents (5 fatal) and 5 criminal occurrences (3 fatal), totalling 207 fatalities
* ICAO/IATA designators: FNBC/ SSY
* Latitude: 06° 16′ 11.63″ S / 014° 14′ 49.29″ E
* Elevation: 1860 ft/ 567 m
* Runway: 16/34 (5905 x 98 feet , asphalt, no ILS)
* Last fatal civil hull-loss accident: 17 MAR 2001 SAL Express Beech 1900, near Quilemba – 16 fatalities
* 32nd worst aircraft accident in Angola
* The country is not yet rated in FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASA)

Accident Digest created by Aviation Safety Network
News Source: http://www.angolapress-angop.ao/noticia-e.asp?ID=541591

Children’s cell phones worry airlines

(yomiuri.co.jp) As the summer vacation season approaches, airlines are growing increasingly concerned about children bringing cell phones, portable video game consoles and other electronic devices onto planes, as they could interfere with navigation systems.

Airlines are especially concerned about children’s cell phones, which contain a built-in crime prevention function that automatically restarts the phone if it is switched off.

In March last year, NTT DoCoMo Inc. introduced the Kids Keitai, which includes a built-in global positioning system that allows the handset to send e-mails or transmit a signal notifying parents of their current location.

About 390,000 units had been sold by NTT DoCoMo as of April this year, and KDDI Corp. has also introduced similar models with the same function.

With the number of young passengers set to increase over the holiday period, airlines are planning various measures to warn passengers of the need to restrict the use of such devices.

Though the crime-prevention function on the children’s handsets can be suspended by inputting a preregistered code, many passengers turn the phones off without doing so, meaning the cell phones can restart during the flight.

All Nippon Airways has called on passengers to suspend the function, and since July has been displaying posters that instruct passengers on how to switch off the power properly.

But many passengers forget their suspension codes, meaning they are unable to switch the phones off at the boarding gates.

ANA and Japan Airlines have held talks with cell phone companies over the issue and airlines now have tools onboard planes enabling the removal of batteries, so phones can be switched off without the code.

ANA said the phones have not caused any serious problems. But a company official said if passengers do not know how to switch the phone off they should notify check-in staff or flight attendants.

The latest portable video game consoles, such as the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PlayStation Portable, also are potential sources of trouble for airlines as they are equipped with wireless communication devices for online gaming.

Airlines currently have flight attendants ask passengers using such consoles to turn off the wireless communication function.

You also may want to read this related article: Why to switch off your cell phone during flight

Accident Digest Boeing 737-800 Kenya Airways

Status: Preliminary
Date: 05 MAY 2007
Type: Boeing 737-800
Operator: Kenya Airways
Registration: 5Y-KYA ?
C/n / msn: 35069/2079
First flight: 2006
Crew: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers: Fatalities: 105 / Occupants: 105
Total: Fatalities: 114 / Occupants: 114
Airplane damage: Written off
Location: South of Douala (Cameroon)

Phase: En route
Nature: International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Douala Airport (DLA/FKKD), Cameroon
Destination airport: Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO/HKNA), Kenya
Flightnumber: KQ507

Kenya Airways flight 507 is a scheduled flight from Abidjan Airport (ABJ), Ivory Coast to Nairobi (NBO) via Douala (DLA), Cameroon. The plane departed Douala at 00:05 and was to arrive in Nairobi at 06:15. Contact with the plane was lost.
The wreckage has not yet been found and the presumed accident location was unclear for some time. Search efforts now focus on the area around Lolodorf where locals reported hearing an explosion. A second site being searched is a mangrove swamp area, where fishermen were reported to have heard a loud bang. This area is 10 minutes away from Douala.
The plane’s identity was rumored to be 5Y-KYA, the first of Kenya Airways’ three brand new Boeing 737-800 planes. This has not been confirmed however.
The weather over two hours after the accident happened (ca 23:20 Z on May 4) was reported as:
FKKD 050200Z 00000KT 9999 TS BKN013 SCT020CB BKN120 24/24 Q1009 NOSIG= [a.o. thunderstorms with 5-7 oktas cloud at 1300ft, 3-4 oktas cloud at 2000ft with thunder clouds and 5-7 oktas cloud at 12000ft, temperature 24C, dewpoint 24C, QNH 1009hPa]

Kenya Airways press release
Kenya Airways plane crashes in Cameroon: radio (AP, 5-5-2007)
* Last fatal Boeing 737 accident : 07 MAR 2007 Garuda Boeing 737-400, Yogyakarta, Indonesia- 21 fatalities
* Total number of Boeing 737 hull-losses: 134 (123 accidents, 4 hijackings, 7 other occurrences (sabotage, ground fire etc.)), of which 74 losses were fatal
* 13th worst Boeing 737 accident (if all 114 on board have not survived the accident)
* Second Boeing 737-800 accident
* started operations: 1977
* web: http://www.kenya-airways.com/
* 4th hull-loss accident
COUNTRY PROFILE CAMEROON (country of accident)
* Last fatal civil hull-loss accident: 03 DEC 1995 Boeing 737-2K9 Cameroon Airlines, Douala / 71 fatalities
* Second worst accident (if all 114 on board have not survived the accident)
* The country is not yet rated in FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASA)
COUNTRY PROFILE KENYA (country of opertor)
* Last fatal civil hull-loss accident involving a Kenyan airliner: 18 AUG 2004 Cessna 208 Transworld Safaris, near Goma, DR Congo / 3 fatalities
* Second worst accident (if all 114 on board have not survived the accident)
* The country is not yet rated in FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASA)

Report provided by Aviation Safety Network

Switch Off Your Cell Phones!

This posting is dedicated to all those people that refuse to follow the security instructions to turn off their cell phones during flight! (Scroll to the end for incidents reported by pilots.)

You want a safe flight, you want to arrive safely at your destination, you even clap after landing but you accept to risk your life and the life of all others just because of some unimportant calls or stupid text messages or just because playing around with it to kill time!?

What’s wrong with you people?

Why do you ignore the instructions to turn your cell phone off? Why do you think those announcements are beeing made? Just to annoy you?

Think again!

Let’s do a little test. Turn on your cell phone and place it near your speakers or stereo. Now wait a few minutes. Hear the annoying static-y clicking noise? What if I tell you that the pilots do hear the same annyoing static-y clicking noise in their headsets? Constantly. Interrupting the radio transmissions! The radio transmissions that define position, altitude, speed, traffic sights. The radio transmissions that are inalienable to provide a safe flight.

You think your seat is placed far enough away from the cockpit? Wrong! Sensitive systems are placed everywhere throughout the aircraft. Even if placed in the overhead compartment it’s only one foot away from top of the fuselage, where most of the antennas are mounted! Again, it’s not only interfering with radio devices it’s interfering with the whole electronic system. And not only Cell Phones are interfering! Even Laptops, Portable Electronic Game Devices (Gameboy, Nintendo DS, PSP), Radios, CD Players, MP3 Players, Movie Players, Pagers and Handhelds!

This year in January a Boeing 737-400 over Europe lost most of it’s intruments, autopilot changed heading by it’s own to a wrong direction, increased altitude by it’s own and could not be switched off. Navigation instruments showed wrong data and the crew lost control of the airplane. The whole electronic system acted up! 5 times the announcement to switch off cell phones was repeated, and was just ignored! Then the flight attendants checked the passengers and found some guy texting. They switched it off and all the problems were gone! The crew gained back control and all systems worked normally again.

Do you want this to happen to your next flight?

How about some statistics?

Top affected aircraft systems
1. Navigation
2. Communications
3. Autopilot
4. Yaw Dampers
5. Engine Fuel Control
6. Speed Brake Auto Deploy
7. Autothrottles

When incidents occurred
53% Enroute/Cruise
26% Approach/Landing
18% Takeoff/Climbout
3% On Ground

In which altitude
62% 10000 ft or more
38% Less than 10000 ft

Discovered by
76% Flight Crew
24% Air Traffic Control

“But I’m only texting” – It doesn’t matter what you are doing! If it’s ON it’s interfering and so it’s a security concern!

“But my cell phone has an integrated MP3 player I want to use” – If your cell phone doesn’t have a “Flight Mode” you can’t use it and you need to turn it off completely. If your cell phone does have a “Flight Mode” you need to activate that mode! Using this setting all phone functions are beeing disabled and it’s safe to use the MP3 player or play games. But you need to activate this mode, it doesn’t do it by it’s own!

“My seat neighbor is using his phone, what should I do?” – Tell a Flight Attendant. They will appreciate your notice.

So, next time you fly, don’t be an ignorant dork, follow all instructions and turn your phone off during the whole flight.

After I made this blog post, I received a few messages from some people, claiming the information to be wrong or urban myth. Let me add some lines to clarify:

  • Some time ago I personally heared reports from some pilots about cell phones causing abnormal behavior of aircraft systems and how they had to deal with passengers not willing to stop using it according to the security guidelines.
  • These true(!) stories made me write this article.
  • The primary information in this article is based on several proven reports and information provided by airline pilots.
  • The statistics and facts are based on research made by NASA.
  • Interferences of electronic devices with aircraft systems have been proven by Boeing
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit the use of cellular phones and other wireless devices on airborne aircraft. This ban was put in place because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground.

    In March 2007, the FCC terminated a proceeding that it began in late 2004 to consider potentially lifting this ban. The FCC determined that the technical information provided by interested parties in response to the proposal was insufficient to determine whether in-flight use of wireless devices on aircraft could cause harmful interference to wireless networks on the ground. Therefore, it decided at this time to make no changes in the rules prohibiting in-flight use of such devices.

    In addition to the FCC’s rules, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits in-flight use of wireless devices because of potential interference to the aircraft’s navigation and communication systems. For this same reason the FAA also regulates the use of all portable electronic devices (PEDs), such as iPods and portable DVD players, during flight.

    The FCC has approved rules that allow in-flight voice and data services, including broadband services using dedicated air-to-ground frequencies that were previously used for seat-back telephone service. Air-to-ground service providers are in the process of rolling out new in-flight services, such as high-speed Internet access for laptop computers. Because these services will operate in frequencies that are dedicated to air-to-ground communications and are separate from those used for wireless services on the ground, they do not pose an interference risk to wireless networks on the ground. Providers of in-flight wireless broadband and other communications services using the air-to-ground frequencies must coordinate with airlines and comply with any FAA rules in order to offer such services.

  • The FAA published an advisory. “… These include cellular telephones, citizens band radios, remote control devices, computers with wireless network capabilities, and other wireless-enabled devices such as PDAs, etc. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently prohibits the use of cell phones while airborne. Its primary concern is that a cell phone, used while airborne, would have a much greater transmitting range than a land mobile unit. Their use could result in unwanted interference to transmissions at other cell locations since the system uses the same frequency several times within a market or given operating area. Since a cell phone is capable of operating on various cellular frequencies, unwanted interference may also affect cellular systems in adjacent markets or operating areas.

    b. The FAA supports this airborne restriction for other reasons of potential interference to aircraft systems and equipment. Currently, the FAA does not prohibit the use of certain cell phones in aircraft while on the ground. An example might be their use at the gate or during an extended wait on the ground while awaiting a gate, when specifically authorized by the operator. A cell phone will not be authorized for use while the aircraft is being taxied for departure after leaving the gate. The unit will be turned off and properly stowed to prepare the aircraft for takeoff as per the operator’s procedures. Whatever procedures an operator elects to adopt should be clearly spelled out in oral briefings prior to departure or by written material provided to each passenger.”

  • Of course not every use of a cell phone or other electronic device leads to a serious incident. It’s a matter of several unknown factors. That’s why their use is generally prohibited and not just eq. on particular seats.
  • If you still don’t believe, it’s a matter of your ignorance, not a matter of facts.

For those still unwilling to accept that cell phones present a potential hazard, here are some examples of cell phone interferences with aircraft systems – source FAA, NTSB, NASA & other research organisations:

Pilot of a B737, flying for a major US carrier

  • “[…] One day departing Portland Oregon we noted that the FMC [Flight Management Computer] Map display showed a disagreement with the “raw data” VOR position. Our training is such that we would normally immediately switch over to “raw data” and assume the FMC was in error.

    We would have done that except that it was a beautifully clear day and I looked out the window and was able to determine that the FMC seemed to be right on. I called back to the cabin and asked the flight attendants to check for someone using a cell phone or computer. A few minutes later they called back to say that a man had been using his cell phone and it was now off. Strangely (?) our VOR and FMC map now agreed.”

Pilot of a B737, flying for a major European carrier

  • “In our company we recently had a Localizer deviation (out of tolerances) on a B737-200 related to a GSM (mobile phone) being operated by a passenger (who was disregarding our company regulations). When requested by the cabin crew to switch off his GSM, localizer indications became normal. Is this scientific proof? Certainly not, but good enough for me as a captain to insist that all the electronic toys, computers, mobile phones, etc., are OFF during critical phases of flight. […]
  • I had fuel indications on the FMC going crazy on board the B737, that returned to normal when all electronic stuff in the back was switched off. I suspect a “Gameboy” electronic game device to have interfered, but this is no more than a guess. No, I did not ask to switch the toy back on again and investigate more in depth as I was responsible for the safety of 140 passengers and this would have been extremely irresponsible! This is not a situation in which to do such testing! This [ever-present responsibility accounts for why] there is no “proof” of the relationship.
  • I also recall experiencing *impossible* mode annunciations on the FMA (flight mode annunciator) on B737. Having both the autothrottle AND the pitch channel of the autopilot trying to maintain speed (both in MCP SPD mode) for example, not programmed by the pilot (you cannot program that). After an expensive in-depth troubleshooting session by our maintenance department, the incompatible mode annunciations were traced to a … faulty cockpit window heat wiring. This caused electronic interference with the auto flight system.
  • B737-300: *Verify position* was indicated on the CDU. Both IRS and radio position were correct, the FMC position was not. The difference rapidly increased to 8 nautical miles. After switching a GSM in the cabin from STBY to OFF, the FMC updated normally. FMC was correct for the remainder of the flight and on the return flight.
  • B737-400: During level cruise, the AP pitched up and down with ROC/ROD of 400 fpm indicated. Other AP was selected: no change. Cabin was checked for PC’s and other electronic devices: nothing was found. Requested passengers to verify that their mobile phone (GSM) was switched OFF. Soon after this request all pitch oscillations stopped.
  • B737-200: During approach to MAN (Manchester International, UK), the LOC for landing runway 24 oscillated and centered with the aircraft not on track (but offset), confirmed visually. Ground equipment was monitored and working normally. When a GSM in the cabin was switched off, all indications became correct.”

NASA Research

  • Boeing 757, flying from Seattle to Covington/Cincinnati, experienced loss of all three of its autopilot systems. Flight attendants checked for a passenger using a portable electronic device and discovered a man wearing headphones, which were part of a hearing aid. The passenger was allowed to continue using the device, but was moved forward several rows. The autopilot system then regained full operational capabilities and was later checked by maintenance, with no problems being found.
  • A Cessna 340/A pilot experienced erroneous readings when attempting to determine his location because of a passenger using a cellular phone. After the passenger turned off the phone, the pilot was able to locate his position and continue on with no problems.
  • A regional jet was flying from Salt Lake City to Eugene. The flight crew received three separate warning messages stating that there were disagreements between the captain’s and the first officer’s instruments. The three warnings were for discrepancies in heading, airspeed, and altitude indicators. After flight attendants checked the cabin for passengers using portable electronic devices and had the devices turned off, all problems ceased.
  • An aircraft making its approach to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston was advised that it was 4 miles off course. Because the course director indicators had been scalloping left and right of center, the captain ordered the flight attendant to check the cabin for any passengers using a portable electronic device. Within 15 seconds, problems with the course director indicators disappeared. The captain later learned that a passenger had been using a portable computer.
  • The electric compass indicators of the first officer of a Boeing 737 gave erratic readings. After a sweep of the cabin was made for portable electronic devices, which resulted in flight attendants asking a passenger to turn off a compact disc player, the first officer’s instruments returned to normal working order.
  • Shortly after takeoff from Baltimore, an aircraft was advised by ground control that it was 10 miles off course, though the plane’s instruments indicated nothing abnormal. It was found that a passenger in first class was using a portable computer. After the computer was turned off, navigation instruments returned to normal.
  • A turboprop aircraft flying government officials from Lake Havasu, AZ to Yuma, AZ experienced trouble with its navigational radios. Ground control showed that the airplane was off course and gave corrections. However, the plane’s navigation system had been checked earlier in the month and was said to have zero error. After the flight, the pilot learned that at least one passenger was using a cellular phone while the plane was in the air.
  • A turbojet aircraft was notified three times, by two different control towers, that it looked to be off course. All instruments in the cockpit were showing the plane’s position to be correct. Flight attendants searched for portable electronic devices and found a tape machine and a hand-held video game unit in use. The devices were turned off and there were no other navigational discrepancies during the flight.
  • A plane travelling from Boston to Youngstown/Warren, OH was advised it was off course and was issued a new heading. The plane’s navigational instruments showed it to be on course. After checking the cabin for portable electronic devices, the lead flight attendant informed the captain that 23 passengers were using AM/FM cassette players and one passenger was using a personal computer. The passengers were asked to turn off the devices and the flight proceeded without further incident.

NASA research: NASA Personal Electronic Devices and Their Interference with Aircraft Systems
Boeing: Interference from Electronic Devices
German research: Electromagnetic Interference with Aircraft Systems: why worry?