Thirteen craft vanished from Austria's air traffic control computers during two separate incidents earlier this month. The authorities are looking into the cause of the incidents.
With as many as 50 planes in the air at one time, the radar black outs could have had catastrophic consequences. 4,000 planes fly over Austria every day.
Is has been claimed that the black outs were caused by interference between the aircraft’s transponders and devices on the ground.
What were these? Standing waves in air columns? Sound wave interferences? Stray radio waves?
Meanwhile big business exploits air waves. Last week, Globalstar reported reaching an agreement with the cable industry over technical standards that would allow its satellite phone service to coexist with Wi-Fi antennas in the 5 GHz band.
What about mobile devices? Their discharge must affect the air around each user in societies all over the world. Claims have been made about the emissions having an affect on insects and even people's brains.
Many species of bee and other pollinating insects including butterflies, moths and hoverflies have experienced reductions in their population in recent decades, raising concerns about the impacts on food supplies, gardens and the countryside.
Factors including use of pesticides, loss of habitat and more intensive agriculture are thought to be to blame. Could the radio wave interference be a contributor? Societies would address this problem with a little more urgency if our food chain was affected.
Navigation of insects is believed to be composed of rather simple, isolated sensory-motor routines that solve quite complicated navigational tasks. For example, bees and ants learn the directions and distances of their travels between nest and food sources by memorizing landmarks on their path in relation to the sun.
I'm lucky enough to live away from a built-up area. I don't own a mobile phone. Maybe there are fewer bees and bumble bees hovering over the flowers in my garden. The big nest of wasps has disappeared from under our roof. Wasps fertilize crops too. My upstairs neighbor confessed to killing the queen. Okay, they should have found another hive, but I'm saddened by their loss. But could there be another reason for their absence?
Maybe sound waves interfere with the insects' survival. If so, we need to wonder how unseen emissions effect people.