February 2008 Issue

The Wireless Cockpit: It (Mostly) Works

The Bluetooth standard is found in many aviation gadgets, but will it tame the tangle? For data, yes, with some pitfalls. But you still need power cables.

You just got a new cellphone equipped with a slick Bluetooth headset. You love the wireless freedom and you idly wonder if the same technology could alleviate the tangle of wires from your portable cockpit gadgets. While you dream of this luxury, you realize that your cellphone headset doesnít always work quite right and you question if Bluetooth in the cockpit is the best idea. Youíre right in both views. Bluetooth wireless is one of those great ideas that works well most of the time and can be quite useful, especially with a hands-free cellphone headset. But itís tender enough to cause frustration for some users, especially if the equipment isnít well designed or thereís electromagnetic interference where you happen to be. (These days, that can be everywhere.)

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