Early last week a Qantas Airlines Airbus A330 surprised (and injured) its passengers with an inexplicable 300ft climb, followed by an even larger drop. Initial reports seemed to place blame on interference from personal electronics — something that Qantas had claimed before. After the news made the rounds the situation became muddied, with Qantas claiming that the initial news reporting misrepresented their claims and reporters backing away from the story. In any case, rest easy, Australian in-flight gadgeteers — it wasn't your fault.
The Air Data Inertial Reference System, which supplies position and attitude information to the plane's electronic instrumentation system, starting producing bogus data due to an internal error, not external interference. As funny as the ideas of an A330-controlling iPhone app or an Autopilot-B-Gone are, the general consensus of experts that spoke on this issue is that commercial jets are unlikely to be affected at all by personal electronics, let alone driven into the ground. [ABC AU via Slashdot]