View Full Version : Does GPS work onboard aircraft (civil)?

April 21, 2002, 07:25 PM
Just out of curiosity, will a GPS reciever work on an airliner? Does the metal skin interfere with its ability to track satelite signals?

April 21, 2002, 07:30 PM
worked for me

Christopher II
April 22, 2002, 09:31 AM
Yup, and nope. My Dad's Garmin GPSIII works great on airplanes. Some commercial pilots buy handheld GPS units to back up the equipment on the aircraft.

- Chris

April 22, 2002, 04:47 PM
My Garmin 12XL and E-map both work just fine on commercial aircraft. Its slick reading the airspeed and direction off the data page along with the estimated time of arrival.

April 22, 2002, 09:59 PM
The greater the altitude of the receiver the more satellites it can track due to less obstructions including the horizon. The greater number of satellites being tracked as well as increased signal stregnth due to lack ground clutter will increase the reception exponentially. This explains why the receiver works better in an aluminium aicraft than it does in the aluminium tool shed in your back yard.

May 5, 2002, 05:00 PM
I was recently on a Southwest flight; one of the forbidden electronic devices on an airplane (along with cell phones and radios) was a GPS receiver.

May 5, 2002, 08:50 PM
query: forbidden to have turned on during certain portions of the flight, or forbidden period? I haven't had a reason to fly since 9/11, but that will be changing shortly.


May 6, 2002, 12:34 AM
It was classified with cell phones and other such devices - you can bring them on but they must be turned off during the duration of the flight (according to the safety manual in the seat pocket). Before the plane pulls away from the gate and after it arrives at the new gate they are ok to have on.

May 6, 2002, 06:27 PM


May 9, 2002, 04:27 AM
The Reason that GPS is not allowed on civil flights like all cell phones is the possibility of electrical interference (sp?) with the flight insturments and Electronics.......

I have used mine in Both Helicopters and Fixed Wing Light Planes and it works great, Garmin 12xl

May 9, 2002, 05:14 AM
I have used my civilian GPS and issue GPS (PLGR) in the back of Marine helicopters on numerous occasions, the accuracy goes down when you go inside the bird, because the skin of the aircraft can block the signal and cause multipath errors, if used in aircraft it is recommended you use the external antenna if you don't have a LOS of the sky through say a canopy.