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Aeronautical Engineering/Wireless Intercom service in Commercial Aircrafts.



Do you recommend to install Wireless EPABX Systems within commercial aircrafts?.


ANSWER: EPABX or more commonly known as PBX in North America was used on commercial aircraft from about 1990 to 2000. It is no longer used because the majority of people are carrying a cell phone. The most likely candidates would be business class and it is almost unheard of for a business person to not have a cell phone.

If a EPABX system where on an aircraft it would be competing with unlimited minutes most cell phone company's provide. Or, to put it another way, it's hard to make money on something that someone else is giving away for pennies.

The airlines would have to make thousands of dollars to compensate for the additional maintenance, credit card processing, wiring, antennas, and power supplies of the equipment. It is estimated that each extra lb of weight on an airliner costs $250,000 annually in fuel and lost revenue. I see no way for an airline to make money.

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Do you feel it is feasible and useful to implement Wired or Wireless Intercom systems within commercial aircrafts for intercommunication between aircraft crew members, staff and passengers?.


That's really a good question and I can't really answer it. But, the reason I decided to answer it I think would be of interest to you.

In order to answer this question research would have to be done on...
1) The need for flight attendants & crew to communicate with each other.
  a) How often and how much really would be saved by not using the phone.
  b) Does the need justify the price.
2) What are the security concerns of the signal being jammed, listened to, or a potential hijacker getting a headset.
3) What would the marketing impact be? Do passengers care if crew members wear a headset and talk as they are being served?
4) Would this effect union contracts, efficiency, safety, or employee moral?
5) Would it effect hairstyles, uniforms, etc.
6) how might it effect emergency procedures, what are the costs and what happens if it fails?

My best guess is it might cost $50,000 per airplane and there is not enough of a need to justify it.

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Jan Zumwalt


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FAA certified commercial pilot FAA certified (A&P) Air-frame & Power-plant mechanic Aeronautical Engineer - University of Anchorage (Alaska) High school instructor, computers, robotics and aviation Current president of EAA chapter 837 (Payette, ID) Past Director of Maintenance (two airlines) Past Continental Airlines maintenance shift supervisor (Anchorage, Alaska)

Current president of EAA chapter 837 (Payette, ID)

FAA certified commercial pilot, FAA certified (A&P) Airframe & Powerplant mechanic, Aeronautical Engineer - University of Alaska (Anchorage), FCC MROP-Marine Radio Operators License, FCC GROL-General Radio Operators License, FCC RADAR endorsement, GEN FAM certificates MD aircraft, GEN FAM certificates Boeing aircraft, State Instructor License, High school instructor, computers, robotics and aviation

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