Can GPS jammers bring down a plane?

I always wondered if we’re putting to much faith in modern technology, but this article trumps all. A New Jersey man wanted to hide his movements from his employer by using a GPS jammer, but he ended up interfering with operations at a busy airport instead. He was tracked down, fired, and faces a fine of almost $32,000.


According to the article this was the device he was using.

OK, the guy was doing something wrong, but there are a few things bothering me.

  1. The range of these devices generally won’t exceed 10 meters. How on earth could this interfere with airport operations?
  2. How did authorities track down such a marginal (and probably fast moving) signal?
  3. If these devices are so dangerous, does that mean that terrorists can bring down planes in the future by buying a truck load of these things?

I’m puzzled. Something doesn’t make sense here. If it does, it might be wise not to put too much trust in these technologies.