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Seeking Air Phone Info

valis
post Aug 15 2006, 10:04 AM
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It has been suggested that phone calls made from 9/11 flights were made through the Verizon AirFone system. I was wondering if anyone here could elaborate on the temporal and physical restraints for this system - and this hypothesis.

I am wondering about the registration process for both new AirFone users - how long does it take to sign up? and current users - How long would it take to swipe a credit card, log in, - and dial? - And does the AirFone system have a directory of sorts - or did all the passengers know all the numbers they were dialing off of the tops of their heads?

Thanks in advance.

cheers
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Cary
post Aug 27 2006, 07:01 PM
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Valis,

I can only report on my personal experience using Airphone. I had to know the number I wanted to dial. There was no "directory" on the phone when I've used it. The Airphone got through to the number I was trying to contact every time, unless the number was busy. The voice or audio quality was okay with all the plane noise. I had to almost yell into the phone for the other party to hear what I was saying. Others around me could hear pretty much everything I was saying on these calls. I could hear what others were saying on their calls. I've never seen anyone make a cell phone call on a passenger jet. I'll do some research and see what I can find on this technology. Sorry, I can't be of more help now.

Cary
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v2rot8
post Aug 28 2006, 05:37 PM
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Valis,

Regarding the airphones, I can tell you what I remember. I say "remember" because I've been off work since November with a shoulder injury/surgery AND because I've not used the airphone for quite sometime.

On the 767 and 777, there are phones located on the aft wall. I believe there is a phone on each side of the galley. There is also a phone at the very front...usually located at the entry door, above the flight attendant jumpseat. I've used the phone for both personal and job related reasons. When you use the phone, all that is required is a credit card (or debit card). You press a button, and the LCD panel on the handset reads "Swipe Credit Card". Once you swipe the credit card, you will hear a dial tone. You dial the phone number just as you would from a landline phone. Flight attendants also have "hotline" numbers that end in a character sign. We have those numbers in case we need to get in touch with the inflight entertainment service personnel (in case the stupid thing craps out during a trans-Atlantic flight...people get upset when they can't watch a rerun of "Everybody Loves Raymond") OR reservations (for passengers who are freaking out about their ticket) OR the Airphone service people. On the SatCom phones you dial 00+country code+area code+phone number....so, to call New York you would dial 00-1-212-123-4567. There are instructions in the inflight magazines AND on the handset as to how to use the airphone.

By they way, avoid calling on the SatCom phones if you are somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. One minute cost me about $30.00.

And the voice quality is poor due to aircraft noise as stated in the previous post. As far as using cell phones, my Motorola quad-band 'fancy-pants' phone picks up a signal at a fairly high altitude. I can't tell you how many times I've opened up my bag and found my phone still receiving a signal. I would say as high as 10,000 feet.

I hope that long-winded post made sense. Let me know if it didn't.
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rob balsamo
post Aug 28 2006, 06:28 PM
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Some cell phone calls are said to have taken place at 25000 feet.

I never really look at my phone inflight... but, i have left mine on.. shhhh.... biggrin.gif

When i do.. i usually get the voicemail alert going off on short final once it picks up a signal... almost made me go around once.. wink.gif


I can see a cell phone getting service at 10000 if you're flying over high terrain with a cell tower on a peak. I think i may have seen service near 10,000 while flying a King Air.

Not sure about these FL250 calls though... I think Mark Bigham ("Hi mom.. its Mark Bigham. .you believe me, dont you mom?") was reported to have made a cell call from above 25000.
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MichaelMR
post Sep 16 2006, 04:05 AM
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I wish we could get the call history logs.
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bill
post Oct 23 2006, 01:07 PM
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I have turned my cell phones on in cruise above about 20,000 no signal at all
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lederhosn
post Oct 31 2006, 04:34 AM
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My experience with a cell phone is equally. On a flight over Germany from north to south I didn`t get any signal above 10000 ft. Below there were some signal peaks but with severeal tries I couldn`t establish a working connection. Above no signal was recieved at all.

One opposite argument I heard:
"The connections on 9/11 were established successfully because of the use of the older analogue cell phone network." - is that correct? I found out that the first GSM-Network in USA was build up in 2000. Is there any reliable data that substantiates that the old cell phones had been used for the most part on 9/11? And is there any clue that this old technique would have worked better at hight altitude than the GSM?

Thanx!
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rob balsamo
post Oct 31 2006, 12:36 PM
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I have been flying for a long time prior to 9/11. I have had the old Nokia analog phones. They never worked at altitude. I used to make calls from the air, but i would have to descend below 2000 to do it. From what i understand, many "cell" calls were made well above 10,000 feet. One was made above 25,000 IIRC.. .supposedly..
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NJcpaTOM
post Oct 31 2006, 01:57 PM
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Some info here regarding United 93 cell phones:

Physics911 Public Stie

thumbsup.gif
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lederhosn
post Oct 31 2006, 04:40 PM
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Thanks NJcpaTOM!

And here are the complete results of Dewdney`s studies ('Project Achilles'):
http://www.the7thfire.com/9-11_cell_phone_hoax.htm

He tested analog and digital phones. The success rate was 13% at 8000 ft. - the probability of establishing a connection above 30.000 ft. is 0.008, Dewdney calculated.
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CrazyBlade
post Nov 7 2006, 02:08 PM
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QUOTE (lederhosn @ Oct 31 2006, 08:34 AM)
One opposite argument I heard:
"The connections on 9/11 were established successfully because of the use of the older analogue cell phone network." - is that correct?

Woah. Who the hell said that??

blink.gif

Hmm. Not so sure about that one. In a previous capacity I worked for a mobile phone company here in the UK, at just the time that things were switching from analogue to digital for the Cell network in the UK. And I can tell you, categorically, that analogue reception is a lot worse than digital reception.

Let me look into this and see what I can find out. I'll get back to you.
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lederhosn
post Nov 8 2006, 04:06 AM
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@crazyblade:

QUOTE
...that analogue reception is a lot worse than digital reception.


That`s what to expect and what can be determined in seconds over the internet. But to devitalise this argument some statistics or other numbers about the use of analog-tech-mobilephones in fall of 2001 would be interesting. I would appreciate it if you`ll find anything therefore.

The analog-story came to me personally from an airline pilot who is no friend of "conspiracy theories". It`s everytime the same: somebody`s not knowing anything in detail so the most implausible argument seems to be the best: the old technology works if the modern technology would lead to a provoking conclusion. doh1.gif So this argument is generally dialectic.
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Beached
post Nov 8 2006, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE (johndoeX @ Aug 28 2006, 10:28 PM)
Some cell phone calls are said to have taken place at 25000 feet.

I never really look at my phone inflight... but, i have left mine on.. shhhh.... biggrin.gif

When i do.. i usually get the voicemail alert going off on short final once it picks up a signal... almost made me go around once.. wink.gif


I can see a cell phone getting service at 10000 if you're flying over high terrain with a cell tower on a peak. I think i may have seen service near 10,000 while flying a King Air.

Not sure about these FL250 calls though... I think Mark Bigham ("Hi mom.. its Mark Bigham. .you believe me, dont you mom?") was reported to have made a cell call from above 25000.

I believe Mark Bingham's call was made via an Airphone. It would be helpful if we could examine the phone records. I'm very surprised none have been released or their existance even confirmed by the phone companies. The best an FOIA request has turned up is a summary of the calls used as evidence in the recent Mossaoui trial. However, the details appear to be sourced by the 9/11 Commission, which given their track record of falsifying and fabricating evidence, the credibility of their summary accounts for very little. They didn't provide their sources so there seems to be no way of verifying these. I would have expected phone records to have been presented as an exhibit in this trial, as these calls amounted to the very flimsy evidence of "Arab looking men" and "boxcutters" etc. To find out if the calls actually took place we need to see the records... if no records existed then no calls could have taken place.

I also remember one call made from either AA11 or UA175 was a 911 call apparently picked up in Illinois. If anyone has more info on this please let me know. I understand when 911 is dialed from a cellphone it will be routed to the nearest call center based on the location of the cell station used. If this is true then it's very strange that it would be picked up in Illinois as neither of these flights were anywhere near that part of the country.
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Beached
post Nov 9 2006, 12:36 PM
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I just found the story of the alleged 911 call being picked up in Illinois. According to the article, the call appears to have been made from UA93...



However, the closest UA93 ever came to Illinois was Ohio, and so it seems very strange that it would have been picked up in Illinois. The link below shows the flight path...

http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/attack/flight93.html
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JerryB9105
post Nov 29 2006, 04:12 PM
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Illinois -- Very, very strange you'd bring this up about Illinois // Tell you why:

Back in early 2002, I made numerous road trips home to Southern Illinois (visiting my mother); and while I'm away like that I like to keep in touch with my wife back home in Maryland. Seemed like my cell phone signal would go blank right at the border of Indiana/Illinois and stay off (i.e, no signal at all -- none) all the way across the entire State of Illinois. At the time there wasn't any towers I could see along I-70 (in Illinois) and I pretty much figured that to be the reason // nothing much along there except wide open spaces and cornfields. And you surely realize, I-70 carries directly across Ohio into Indiana into Illinois -- and onwards.

Cellphone difficulties has been changed since, however; I can testify to that because of a trip I made last month -- there was no problem with signal at all, all was perfect -- all the way from Indiana border to Missouri border. But not back in the year 2002.

typo

This post has been edited by JerryB9105: Nov 29 2006, 05:07 PM
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trvl4freedom
post Feb 5 2008, 06:38 PM
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I can say that the Verizon Airfone's required a credit card to use for anything other than calling our operations control center at Delta (*OCC) or our medical advisors (*PMD)...so if calls were made to relatives of the passengers on board, there would have to be a credit card record of the call. I do not believe you can call 911 from those phones, at least at Delta. We have since have them removed from our aircraft due to complaints about technical difficulties (seemed like they were never working).


I have never seen a cell phone work in flight, although I have seen countless passengers try to find a signal in flight, to no avail. I even tried one myself when I was desperate to get a hold of my mother during an in-flight emergency I wasn't sure I was going to survive. No luck.


This was one of the things that seemed very suspicious to me...cell phones just don't work in flight, no matter the altitude...the speed at which we travel makes it too difficult for the phones to find a tower to route the call through.
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dMz
post Feb 6 2008, 06:03 PM
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Hi honeymoonmemories,

There was a discussion about phones over here that you might want to look at.

http://pilotsfor911truth.org/forum...post&p=10102775

Hope this helps,
d
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albertchampion
post Feb 9 2008, 03:13 AM
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look, everything about these telephonic communications from these aircraft that has been reported are inventions[to put it kindly].

cell phones don't work from commercial airliners moving at cruising speeds unless they are circling a cell tower below 5,000 ft[so as to make and preserve a connection].

most importantly, the cell phone had better be next to a window. even in the most auspicious of circumstances, cell phones may not connect if they are located beyond a window seat.

from inside a lavatory, no cell phone will make a connection, even if the airliner is circling a cell tower at treetop altitude.

as to airphones...i don't find them on commercial airliners these days. why would that be? because they rarely worked. for years i routinely flew from iah to lax to iah. on co. in first class, once upon a time, there were airphones for every seat. i often tried to use them to call my office. in scores of flights, i wager i only completed a handful of connections. it was not a very reliable service.

so unreliable, i think, that the airline industry in 2001 had removed, were removing them, them from their aircraft.

airphones were a gte monopoly. gte became acquired by verizon. a co-conspirator who says that they forgave all these charges. therefore they say that they have no records for airphone usage for those flights on that day.

but you know, that proposition doesn't fly. to use an airphone, the call had to be charged not to verizon, but to visa, mastercard, discover, amexco, diners club. i think that any airphone calls would have been immediately charged to those cc entities, not to verizon.

so, the question is, have any of the cc records for those callers that day been reviewed?

i think not. as is the case with so much about that day, half-truths/un-truths have been proferred and go uncontested, in the main.
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Bruce Sinclair
post Apr 20 2008, 02:09 PM
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I currently fly a medevac King Air out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada and I have been flying with my cell phone left on for years. My experience is that the cell phone acquires a signal as we desend below 3,000 ft AGL fairly reliably. I have it in the top pocket of my flight suit and it vibrates as soon as it is receiving a message so I've had lots of opportunity to experience this. Signals above this height are problematic to say the least. The highest I have ever had a good signal was at 17,000 feet, which was almost 16,000 feet AGL, but this was only once. I think this may be because there is only one cell tower for it to receive in this area (over the tar sands plants north of Fort McMurray).

I have also left it on many times on commerical airliners as a passenger and I have never been able to get a signal at altitude. I also fly a Boeing 727 part time and this is the same experience on this equipment while flying the aircraft and therefore having the cell phone on the flight deck.

So, having had hundreds of hours of flying with my cell phone on, I can say fairly confidently that the chances of being able to use a cell phone in a commerical airliner at altitude are near zero.

Hope this helps.
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787PIC
post Jan 25 2009, 07:54 PM
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QUOTE (valis @ Aug 15 2006, 06:04 AM) *
It has been suggested that phone calls made from 9/11 flights were made through the Verizon AirFone system. I was wondering if anyone here could elaborate on the temporal and physical restraints for this system - and this hypothesis.

I am wondering about the registration process for both new AirFone users - how long does it take to sign up? and current users - How long would it take to swipe a credit card, log in, - and dial? - And does the AirFone system have a directory of sorts - or did all the passengers know all the numbers they were dialing off of the tops of their heads?

Thanks in advance.

cheers


Airphones on commercial aircraft work on limited basis.
The user swipes a major credit card on the face of the phone and dials the number.
On United 757/767s which I flew only six(6) passengers at a time could use the system due to its limitations.
Cell phones generally do not work at all above 2-3000 feet above ground (land based antenna) level.

Ross Aimer
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