Powering portables

From:         kwd@netcom.com (Kurt W. Dekker)
Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 241-9760 guest)
Date:         26 Jan 94 04:12:58 PST
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Regarding powering portables, I recently heard about an incident where an
aircraft was advised by ATC that they were several miles off their
assigned route, and to check their heading, position, etc., to find out
what was up.  They checked everything and even cross-checked with some
other navaids, and found their position to be correct. 

Radar insisted they were off course, and advised them to climb to maintain
terrain clearance.  Then they sent someone back into the passenger area
(I'm not sure how large an aircraft this was, I heard it second hand) and
saw someone using a portable computer.  They had them power down, and all
of a sudden their nav instruments indicated that they were something like
20 miles off their victor airway, and in an area where there was rising
terrain. 

I'm not sure you'd want 400 people all powering up their AST Premium Execs
in the cabin!  Not all portables radiate, but many do, and having several
all in use at one time could spell disaster.  Plus if there was any type 
of radiation back along the power lines, it could use the entire power 
bus as an antenna.

Kurt