Print 24 comment(s) - last by Voodoochild54.. on Aug 29 at 1:36 PM

  (Source: NBC Universal)

The committee will be formed this fall with recommendations due in March 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be forming a committee soon to investigate whether the use of electronic devices can be increased on planes.
The FAA will form the committee this fall with the intention to study the issue for six months. Recommendations should be available in March 2013, but any real actions could take longer. 
The committee will consist of pilots, airplane makers, airlines, flight attendants, mobile technology companies, passenger associations and even the public. 
This study focuses on whether passengers on an airplane can use tablets and e-readers during takeoff and landing. The FAA was adamant about passengers not using electronics below 10,000 feet because of concerns regarding interference with aviation systems needed to fly the plane. Since there are so many types of tablets and e-readers, where each individual gadget would have to be tested, the FAA banned them all
However, many argued that there is no scientific proof that these devices cause interference. Also, American Airlines pilots were allowed to use iPads in the cockpits starting in December 2011, which raised further questioning. 
Back in March, the FAA said it would review the rules regarding the use of tablets and e-readers on airplanes during takeoff and landing. 
"With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cell phones, on aircraft," said Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the FAA.

Source: The Federal Aviation Administration

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Stupid stupid stupid
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2012 1:22:53 PM , Rating: 4
It's about power and control.

Based on the remotest of chances that a consumer device could cause interference to the old VOR navigation system, the Feds showed how macho they were by banning.

In fact, there is no evidence that any such interference has ever happened, and even good ol' Mythbusters had to resort to extreme measures to get ANY interaction (Okay, so dropping a cigarette into the toilet can't ignite sewer gas? So let's replace the toilet water with gasoline and the cigarette with a blowtorch...).

That's not to say a bad guy couldn't bring on board some special terrorist that looks like a laptop but that intentionally blankets the airwaves with noise, but that's a different scenario.

Years from now the old-timers will smile when someone mentions "Remember when you had to turn off your phones on takeoff and landing? Man, what sheeple we were then."

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2012 1:25:05 PM , Rating: 3
"terrorist device"

An edit button would be nice.

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By geddarkstorm on 8/28/2012 1:32:19 PM , Rating: 4
Didn't you know, the edit button was put on the list of "terrorist devices".

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By eBob on 8/28/2012 2:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the edit button is a very special terrorist.

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By inperfectdarkness on 8/28/2012 3:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. It's also funny to note that 99% of all electronic devices come with a label that says it has to abide by FCC regulation in two ways.

1. It cannot cause harmful interference.

2. It must accept external harmful influence, including that which may cause undesired operation.

So the question is, why exactly has the FAA decided that the FCC isn't competent enough to do it's job...and why have they gotten away with it for decades?

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By Solandri on 8/28/2012 4:58:19 PM , Rating: 3
Because if, despite the promises of the FCC, the radio in your MP3 player doesn't work due to interference, you get upset and shake your fist.

If the radio on a plane doesn't work due to interference, it misses a TCAS transmission from another plane on a collision course, and hundreds of people die.

I agree the FAA is erring too far on the side of safety. But it's not entirely unwarranted.

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By Amiga500 on 8/28/2012 5:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you are aware of the stringent standards that need to be passed for certification.

A few dinky mp3 players or mobile phones aren't gonna screw up any aircraft communications gear.

By smackababy on 8/28/2012 1:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
I was always under the impression that the devices weren't banned because of interference, but because people were highly more likely to not pay attention to the safety brief and instructions during the times when they are most likely to contain information needed.

RE: hmm
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2012 1:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
The safety brief doesn't last until 10,000 feet.

Still, there is merit to the argument that if bad things are going to happen, they will happen on takeoff and landing, so everyone should pay attention. But if I see flames bursting out of the #2 engine, it's a safe bet that folks will remove their earbuds.

RE: hmm
By Myrandex on 8/28/2012 2:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
Still they don't ban books and magazines on takeoff, and someone reading an ereader or reading a bookw ould have the same amount of attention leftover to retain the same message repeated over and over again every flight.

RE: hmm
By lennylim on 8/28/2012 4:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
I've also heard that it is to prevent laptops / other heavy devices becoming flying bricks in an emergency.

By tayb on 8/28/2012 2:16:51 PM , Rating: 2
If these devices interfered with planes there would have already been issues because most people don't actually turn these devices off. This "study" will conclude with what we already know... people using devices are annoying but the devices aren't dangerous.

Next time you are on a plane just look around and watch. "Turn off your cell phones and electronics" is simply "turn the screen off on your cell phones and electronics."

By Solandri on 8/28/2012 4:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, cell phones do interfere with navigational and communications equipment. In my car, if I place my cell phone in front of the radio (I put a holder there so I can use it as a GPS), I can hear random blips and bloops over the radio.

The proximity has to be very close though. I suspect cell phones in the cabin wouldn't interfere, unless you're on a transoceanic flight and the pilots are relying on radio signals from land bouncing off the ionosphere to reach them.

By Camikazi on 8/28/2012 7:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure that airplane electronics are much better shielded and resistant to interference than a car is. If a car can resist a phones interference until it is right on top of the navigation I am sure a plane will be much more protected plus the fact that a phone won't get that near to the cockpit anyway :P

By tayb on 8/29/2012 9:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
That might be true if Boeing went to Walmart to buy navigational and communications equipment and then placed the equipment inside the cabin without any shielding. While you are correct in theory in practice the equipment is properly shielded against any interference. Boeing has tried to replicate supposed "anomalies" caused by cellular interference and was completely unable to even remotely interfere with equipment.

Reality check
By Beenthere on 8/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: Reality check
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2012 1:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, let's just ban all electronic devices altogether on planes, and also ban any use on Sundays.

Also, there is NO interference. As a pilot I've followed this issue from the beginning.

RE: Reality check
By Amiga500 on 8/28/2012 1:41:03 PM , Rating: 2
There are no electronic issues.

If someone wanted to actively try to screw with the plane, they would have concealed devices running far more electronic noise that the cabin crew could never spot. Its ridiculous.

What annoys me is not being able to listen to music when sitting bored on the flight waiting to go or get on the ground.

RE: Reality check
By chmilz on 8/28/2012 1:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm willing to bet all my money that every single commercial that takes off has a massive number of phones simply turned to silent and stuffed into pockets or carry-on. Tablets, laptops, phones, Nintendo DS, with wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, or cellular capability are on and simply out of sight, and nothing is crashing.

It's simply pointless. Make it illegal to talk on the phone or video chat simply to avoid annoying people, but let me watch my video or listen to music, it doesn't, will not, nor ever will harm anyone.

RE: Reality check
By 440sixpack on 8/28/2012 3:02:48 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Reality check
By Myrandex on 8/28/2012 2:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing to do with electronics...People read books and magazines on takeoff and landing, do they need to put them down as well?

Plus with the screaming child behind me while landing just last week, I would have much preferred to put in the headphones and crank up the volume.

And if Pilots can use an iPad during a takeoff, then there is no interference. Plus an e-ink ereader is practically off while displaying the page, leaving the e-ink in place for reading purposes. Much less interference then that allowed iPad would cause...

RE: Reality check
By tayb on 8/28/2012 2:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
Well, we wouldn't want wittle beenthere to feel unsafe now would we... even if the monsters under the bed aren't weal.

RE: Reality check
By TakinYourPoints on 8/28/2012 4:20:41 PM , Rating: 1

Plus I'm not about to start carrying books or newspapers when I have my Kindle, that's ridiculous. :)

RE: Reality check
By Voodoochild54 on 8/29/12, Rating: 0
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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