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Airlines ordered to change cockpit screens

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Mobile phones may interfere with display units

Airlines have been ordered to change or replace cockpit display units in hundreds of Boeing aircraft, after tests showed that mobile phone and computer signals can cause the screens to go blank.

The tests were carried out by the US air travel regulator Federal Aviation Administration, with affected planes typically fitted with several screens, each of which costs thousands of dollars. However, the display’s manufacturer Honeywell, stressed that the problem had not been experienced inflight.

“The only known occurrence was during a developmental test conducted on the ground,” Honeywell spokesperson Steve Brecken said. “We worked with Boeing and addressed any concerns in 2012 with new display hardware.”

Boeing first issued an alert in November 2012 when interference was noticed during the installation of an inflight internet system. The display units were found to be susceptible to the same radio frequencies used to transmit data via Wi-Fi. The FAA argues that the displays provide pilots with information on speed, altitude, heading and pitch and roll, and warned the fault could cause a crash.

TTG Digital / BBC

[pictured: Boeing 777 cockpit]

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