Print 60 comment(s) - last by dethrophes.. on Dec 28 at 5:08 AM

  (Source: NBC Universal)
Shutting down electronics while a plane was landing or taking off was always critical, but the FAA now says otherwise -- for pilots

Sorry, Alec Baldwin; you still can't play Words with Friends while a plane prepares for takeoff, because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided Tuesday that only American Airlines pilots in the cockpit can use mobile electronics during that time.

The FAA doesn't allow passengers to use mobile electronics such as smartphones, tablets or Kindles during takeoff or landing because the use of such devices could interfere with sensitive electronics running the plane. They must wait until the plane reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet. However, the FAA announced Tuesday that American Airlines pilots in the cockpit no longer had to use paper flight mauals during those times, but could use iPads instead.

The FAA made this decision after conducting a test of the use of electronics in the cockpit, in an effort to potentially replace the use of paper manuals and charts. But some are wondering why a similar test couldn't have been carried out for passengers.

The New York Times called the rule that passengers need to wait until the plane reaches 10,000 feet "outdated," and even brought up the idea that the rule may just be used to keep passengers' attention during takeoff and landing announcements. The FAA said this is not true because passengers are still allowed to have books and magazines during those times.

The FAA responded to critics of the new rule by saying that only two iPads will be allowed in the cockpit; one for each pilot.

"This involves a significantly different scenario for potential interference than unlimited passenger use, which could involve dozens or even hundreds of devices at the same time," said the FAA.

It seems the FAA has a point, but critics still point out that the two iPads in the cockpit will be inches away from the sensitive airplane electronics in question.

Source: The New York Times

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A load of BS
By jRaskell on 12/14/2011 10:27:07 AM , Rating: 5
because the use of such devices could interfere with sensitive electronics running the plane.

This has always, and will always be a complete load of BS.

RE: A load of BS
By borismkv on 12/14/2011 10:32:21 AM , Rating: 5
I remember a Mythbusters episode testing that theory. The only time they were able to have any affect on the plane's instrumentation was when they held a cell phone right next to an instrument and received a phone call. And even then it was just a slight jump in one of the guages that went away immediately after the phone started ringing.

RE: A load of BS
By mcnabney on 12/14/2011 10:47:39 AM , Rating: 5
If this really mattered you would think that there would be a check beyond looking to see if passengers were using the device. I have left my cell phone on frequently, which really does transmit RF unlike my laptop and MP3 player which you MAKE me turn off.

This whole thing has evolved from a pilot having some technical problems during the flight and seeing a child playing a Nintendo Gameboy (yes, that is how long it goes back). A classic example of 'magical thinking' created a connection that for some reason the Gameboy caused the interference (and not something wrong with the planes actual instruments, sensors, or wiring to the sensors). Since then the airlines have used it as a reason to boss the customer around as a further demonstration of control.

RE: A load of BS
By quiksilvr on 12/14/2011 11:18:59 AM , Rating: 5
Actually, it's one of those "maybe we'll get hit by lightning which will spike the frequency on your device which will cause the flight attendant's silicon implants to vibrate to a resonance frequency which just so happens to match the plane's resonance frequency, causing a rip in the space time continuum and ending the world" scenarios. They think there is one random device that will fcuk up everything in some catastrophic way.

RE: A load of BS
By vignyan on 12/14/2011 11:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
If anything can go wrong, it will - Murphy

RE: A load of BS
By abscode on 12/14/2011 1:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
Icecream man always drove extra blocks away. And I know he's seen us and sh!t, but I think he just be in the car with his friends and say: Watch me how fast I make these motherf*ckers run. - Eddie Murphy

RE: A load of BS
By Samus on 12/14/2011 5:34:14 PM , Rating: 4
It's all just another thing to make air travel that much more irritating. I look forward to being bent over at least half a dozen times within minutes of getting to the airport. The gang raping that happens to each passenger on a plane by staff, airline policy and FAA regulations is just the icing on the cake.

I love flying.

RE: A load of BS
By Hieyeck on 12/14/2011 11:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
Funny you mention that. Mythbusters tested breast implants at altitude as well.

RE: A load of BS
By kleinma on 12/14/11, Rating: -1
RE: A load of BS
By mcnabney on 12/14/2011 2:11:14 PM , Rating: 4
It actually took away one of the great joys of life. Accelerating down the runway with music blaring on your audio device is quite the pleasure. No electronics means dead silence and nothing to think about besides how carefully the airline follows Boeing's maintenance schedule.

RE: A load of BS
By arazok on 12/14/2011 3:08:23 PM , Rating: 4
HA! I frequently fly with a co-worker who's terrified of flying. I'm going to plant that one in his head next time we fly!

RE: A load of BS
By Keeir on 12/15/2011 7:17:42 PM , Rating: 2

I'd be more worried about the pilot....

RE: A load of BS
By espaghetti on 12/16/2011 12:02:42 AM , Rating: 2
$1600 for 4 tickets, bought 4 months in advance for myself, wife, 2 kids under 5 years old that slept the whole way there and back from Memphis to Orlando. A bags of peanuts and half a can of soda or water for each of us. Cramped crappy seats....... I should've been left alone, at least to check out DT whenever I wanted.

RE: A load of BS
By Sazabi19 on 12/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: A load of BS
By bodar on 12/14/2011 7:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, why would we blame the FAA, when we can blame the flight attendants? Oh wait, we ARE blaming the FAA. Welcome to the actual argument.

Not to mention, you sound like anyone who defends stupid laws with "Well, if you don't like it, you can move to Canada/Europe/etc."

RE: A load of BS
By Dorkyman on 12/14/2011 10:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
AND he should learn that spell check is his friend.

RE: A load of BS
By sleepeeg3 on 12/15/2011 2:45:26 AM , Rating: 2
I believe it was an 800MHz phone... a frequency that is no longer used.

RE: A load of BS
By chmilz on 12/14/2011 10:56:44 AM , Rating: 3
I don't turn anything off, I just hide it. Keep one headphone in, turn head, pretend to sleep. MP3 player under my leg or in my jacket, no one can tell.

On a flight with 200 people, I'm willing to bet there's 50 phones that aren't turned off at any point.

RE: A load of BS
By nafhan on 12/14/2011 11:10:04 AM , Rating: 2
They will probably justify it by saying pilots are smart and know how to put the iPad in airplane mode, unlike Baldwin. So, yes it is BS. Seriously, if this was at all likely to bring down an airliner, they'd be taking cell phones away from people at the gate instead of pocket knives.

RE: A load of BS
By AmbroseAthan on 12/14/2011 11:26:35 AM , Rating: 5
I used to fly a lot for my old job and my favorite plane conversation involved my Kindle with a flight attendant.

I was not reading yet and one of the background pictures was on the screen. The flight attendant told me to turn it off. I sat there baffled a moment trying to determine what to do besides replying "it is off" and received a very terse "Well I can see the screen is on, so you need to turn it off now sir."

The conversation went a bit downhill from there as I tried to explain E-ink. She just walked away after a few moments in a huff.

RE: A load of BS
By vignyan on 12/14/2011 11:37:52 AM , Rating: 3

RE: A load of BS
By MozeeToby on 12/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: A load of BS
By name99 on 12/14/11, Rating: -1
RE: A load of BS
By Ringold on 12/14/2011 2:11:19 PM , Rating: 1
And navigation signals are used AS THE PLANE TAKES OFF AND LANDS?

If you don't know what you're talking about, just don't post.

Yes, absolutely, navigation systems are engaged from the time the plane comes online.

The modern commercial aviation system would be thrown in to daily chaos if pilots couldn't rely on ILS, GPS-WAAS, to name two systems, to approach a runway hidden in clouds and fog.

Similar situation in take-off, but less life-threatening. Wet compasses are a pain to read while accelerating, nose-up. Yeah, 'UNOS', undershoot North overshoot South, but hard to think of UNOS while doing ten things at once. Rather have a reliable VORTAC, GPS, ADB, whatever signal to help. At times, making an on-course turn takes place just a couple seconds after the wheels leave the tarmac.

Look, it's perfectly obvious what is going on here. Authorities hate admitting they were wrong, and so this farce will continue, perhaps indefinitely.

Absolutely right. It's that, with a side-dish of propaganda. Make us feel like the government is doing something. Like all the other crap at airports; security is still leaky, but making old women get naked and patting down children and celebrities makes us feel safe.

RE: A load of BS
By MrBlastman on 12/14/2011 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 5
And navigation signals are used AS THE PLANE TAKES OFF AND LANDS? I have to tell you --- if the pilot doesn't know which way to point the plane while it's taking off, there are much bigger problems with that flight that too many iPads being switched on.

I can tell clearly by your post you know absolutely nothing about aviation. Nothing, not a single thing.

Aviation is all about protocol, following rules and procedures. We've come a long, long way from the days of barnstorming pilots in the early 1900's, when very few aircraft were up in the sky at a given time.

Here's news to you--aviation is a regulated mode of transport, much like driving, except far more so. In fact, the amount of regulation isn't even close. The stakes are also much higher.

Pilots are required to follow checklists and procedures for every single flight--even before they flip on the APU/JFS or whatever to begin spooling up the main turbine. These checklists and procedures aren't just limited to the cockpit as they also encompass airport/airbase procedures, tower operations, ATC protocols and more. They also govern transitional flight from the runway to just after takeoff. Pilots can't just go wheels up and point their plane to wherever they want in the sky. Well, they could--but if they did, I can sure as heck assure you they'd receive a visit from the FAA--unless of course the tower and airport have set themselves to pure VFR (visual flight rules).

The same goes for landing, if not moreso. Yes--you have to see the runway to land on it. Yes, any pilot worth a darn can land a plane visually as they practice this for hours and hours. Yes, many of them were previous military pilots and some of them were hot-shot fighter jocks. When you're flying a 737 though, you aren't flying a fighter plane nor a cessna. You've got strict parameters you have to obey coming from a variety of sources. At times, you're required to follow preset patterns and at other times, perhaps in bad weather, you might have to switch to backup instrumentation in a heads-down, instrument only situation.

Sure, in this age of GPS systems, Inertial Navigation Systems and so on, you might not have to rely on a TACAN beacon (in the Military) or VORTAC/VOR/DME system in civilian situations. Some of these signals can be very weak and guess what--it IS NOT UP TO YOU, THE PASSENGER what rules or regulations they follow. Your ONLY priority is to sit your butt down on the plane, follow the rules and let the Pilots do their jobs to get you from point A to point B, safely.

Oh, and one other thing--most of these pilots aren't exactly numbnutzes either. The amount of dedication, information and learning required to become a major airline pilot is astonishing. I'm not saying they are geniuses--and some aren't nearly as sharp as others... but they are far more capable than your average bus driver.

I honestly don't care if I have to put down my cell phone or electronic device for a few minutes. Big freakin' deal. Who cares? It isn't like the world is going to end and all our dolphins are going to steal the world's supply of fish in an instant, flying off into the cosmos and if I'm not connected at that instant... I can't prevent the world from being bulldozed. No, I find it refreshing. I take that time to sit back, clear my head, inhale a deep breath and relax--as I enjoy the large amounts of thrust the plane is exhibiting as it barrels down the runway and up into the skies above. It's quite pleasant. People should try it more often.

RE: A load of BS
By inperfectdarkness on 12/15/2011 10:51:50 AM , Rating: 2
Don't Panic!

RE: A load of BS
By lowsidex2 on 12/14/2011 12:25:44 PM , Rating: 1
It's not one or two devices that cause problems. It's 134 devices, all in high power mode searching for a tower, whose signals amplify, cancel, and mix in unpredictable ways that have interfered with other external signals. Even new generation aircraft with glass panels still rely on old ground based analog signals.

Cockpit ipads come with its own regs. regs like turning off external antennas before flight.

RE: A load of BS
By Dorkyman on 12/14/2011 11:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, good theory, now show some evidence.

Modern electronics do NOT cause any interference. Years ago, some people thought a rogue device could be an issue, so they banned everything, in great knee-jerk fashion.

Cellphone towers once had an issue with a cellphone signal showing up in multiple locations, now they don't.

I never turn off any devices I use, including my cellphone. I just tuck them out of sight.

This iPad approval will finally break the dam. Gee, passengers are so pissed about having to turn off their iPads, why not let them leave them on? Gosh, now everyone else is complaining about iPad favoritism. Okay, We will allow everything on, and we will monitor the situation.

Another stupid rule finally eliminated.

RE: A load of BS
By BSquared on 12/15/2011 4:23:48 AM , Rating: 2
Place a modern cellphone next to a modern amplifier or an old amplifier, connected to a loudspeaker, and every so often you will actually hear the signals go out asking for PCS notifications and updates. Tell me that's not interference.

Most electronic devices inherently eminate radio waves through oscillations in different stages of their circuitry. Some of those oscillations may be in rf frequency range with other devices, causing destructive interference. Improperly designed or unshielded devices can have more unintended effects, look at how microwave ovens can disrupt computers or wireless.

You may be sure of your device, that doesn't mean Grandma May down the aisle doesn't realise that oversized adult massager she has for her ailing neck can cause static RF that could disrupt a lot of other devices.

I am peturbed about putting my electronic devices away or powering them down, but for the blanket safety of myself and other passengers, I'll do it as compliancy. Because if you refuse, it just reinforces why someone who DOES have a device that DOES cause interference would argue they shouldn't have to either.

RE: A load of BS
By dethrophes on 12/28/2011 5:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
But you just mentioned the reason why these rules are BS. If there is a clear danger from these devices the security protocols are insufficient. If it really was considered a problem then there would be an automated detection system. What sense does a visual inspection make for RF interference sources. Its stupid. So by their own lack of interest in preventing RF signal sources it is clear there is no real discernible risk.

RE: A load of BS
By MrTeal on 12/14/2011 12:56:23 PM , Rating: 5
I worked at an electronics assembly company where the production workers had to have ESD wrist straps connected whenever they were handling or getting components. That extended even to components like resistors or connectors, even though you can't damage those devices with ESD. The reason the company made those arbitrary rules even though they don't make sense in that case is that it's cheaper and safer to have all the workers spend the extra time strapping in for everything they do rather than try and teach them which components are ESD resistant, which are susceptible, and which are very sensitive.

My iPod classic is almost certainly not going to bring down a plane. I shouldn't have to turn it off. That doesn't mean every piece of electronics is safe, and moreover is doesn't mean that even ones that would normally be safe aren't out of spec or damaged and transmitting in bands they shouldn't be. Flight attendants are there to give an annoying speech about emergency egress and serve you drinks, not to serve as a judge of which devices are safe and which could cause a problem. There's probably a pretty small chance of a plane coming down from this, but it wouldn't take much if you had some cheap Chinese knockoff phone broadcast on Verizon @ 787MHz but due to crappy design letting enough energy out at a second harmonic of 1575MHz, which is right about where GPS L1 is. It might not bring down a plane, but you're not leaving the tarmac if the GPS signal is being jammed.

RE: A load of BS
By drycrust3 on 12/14/2011 3:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
Flight attendants are there to give an annoying speech about emergency egress and serve you drinks, not to serve as a judge of which devices are safe and which could cause a problem.

As I understand it, the origin of this sort of rule was the fact that at one time the 455KHz Superhetrodyne intermediate frequency used in an AM radio, or the modulations of it, is very close to one of the frequency bands used in the aviation industry.
Essentially, anything that transmits or receives has built in oscillators, and as you say, there is no guarantee that some fluke combination of the oscillator modulation output won't interfere with the aircraft navigation.

RE: A load of BS
By NellyFromMA on 12/14/2011 3:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
Get over it. And FYI, I fly quite a bit and am constantly told to turn off any WIRELESS RADIOS or devices containing them if they can no tbe shut off. Most iPads don't have 3g connectivity, and if so, Airplane mode (mysterious name, huh) exists to shut off all radios and therfor meet this requirement. This entire article is hence pointless, as well as anyone flaming about it.

RE: A load of BS
By callmeroy on 12/19/2011 11:35:11 AM , Rating: 2
I agree and I guess a lot of very gullible people don't think it through logically either....if having electronic devices SERIOUSLY was that dangerous don't you think they would be *ALOT* more strict on checking and making sure people have them turned off.

I flew just 2 1/2 weeks ago PHL to ATL...the Flight Attendant just about half heartedly walked by my row and with just a glancing look said "Please turn your electronics off"...that was second inspection....

So you mean to tell me our lives could be in jeopardy if my cell phone is on -- and all you do is ask me nicely to turn it off..that's it?

WoW....makes me feel safe...because we know everyone just does what they are told...without failure.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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