LAWMAN GROUNDED – Friday May 3 2013

– The nation’s top lawmaker has been ticked off for breaking flight rules in a high-flying phone drama.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has issued a red-faced apology after Qantas called in the Australian Federal Police when he refused to turn off his mobile phone on a flight.
Mr Dreyfus was determined to check emails on his smartphone during the take-off of a Sydney to Brisbane flight last week.
After he ignored recorded warnings about turning off all electrical equipment, an angry fellow passenger complained to Mr Dreyfus.
Moments later a flight attendant admonished the former barrister, later reporting the situation to the plane’s captain.
The airline took the incident so seriously it then alerted the AFP. Officers asked to meet the plane and the Attorney-General at its destination.
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association secretary Steve Purvinas said yesterday that Mr Dreyfus’s mobile phone could have interfered with navigation systems, increasing the chances of a crash.
Mr Dreyfus confirmed he had been told to turn his phone off, and said he apologised to those on board.
Mr Purvinas said mobile phones were banned during take-off because they could affect the aeroplane’s altimeters.
“The radio altimeters tell the aircraft systems what height it is at,” he said. “If the aircraft is driving towards 30,000 feet but it thinks it’s already at 40,000 feet then it would tend to want to decrease altitude. That’s not what you like to happen just after take-off.
“This is the first case I have heard of the AFP being called out to talk to a passenger who refused to turn off their mobile phone.”
Mr Dreyfus had been at the opening of a Sydney legal centre on April 23rd before boarding the aircraft.
Gia Metherell, a spokeswoman for Mr Dreyfus, said the Attorney-General was met by security when he arrived in Brisbane – Stephen Drill


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