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The New York Times called the rule that passengers need to wait until the plane reaches 10,000 feet "outdated," and even brought up the idea that the rule may just be used to keep passengers' attention during takeoff and landing announcements.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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What's the use?
By Paedric on 12/14/2011 10:50:34 AM , Rating: 3
Why do they even need ipads during takeoff?

If they have a problem during this phase, pilots don't have the time to use books or tablets.

Moreover, i doubt they will get rid of the paper documentation anyway, the risks are too high.
Tablet can fail, they can be hacked, and it's much easier to steal a tablet compared to 15kg of books.

RE: What's the use?
By Tony Swash on 12/14/11, Rating: -1
RE: What's the use?
By vignyan on 12/14/2011 11:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
You are quicksilver!

RE: What's the use?
By danjw1 on 12/14/2011 12:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
I have seen news about iOS hacks. It is a computing device and it can be hacked. But, I agree with you on the front of weight savings. I really think the FAA is way off on not letting passengers use their electronic devices. It would have been reasonable (and more cost efficient, too) if while they ran the test they did, to check on main cabin device usage as well.

But, you are right about the weight savings on manuals, maps, checklists, etc. What I don't get is why this isn't all built into the existing cockpit.

Last I read, American Airlines is planing a complete upgrade to its fleet, this should be part of that upgrade. Even some single engine props are getting most of this integrated into their systems (see Cirrus Aircraft). Most newer Mid size to Large business jets already have this. I see tablets as backups in case of a catastrophic failure of avionics, not as a primary piece of gear.

RE: What's the use?
By Paedric on 12/14/2011 12:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
You don't really seem to know the industry.
You don't trade security for 30kg in a 500,000kg jet.
If you really want to reduce weight, there are far better areas to do so.

As for faillures, what are the chance that four engines fail together?
It's basically 0, except for exceptionnal events. And yet, those sometimes happen, and you can't bet the life of hundreds of people on this.

Yes, the chance of two tablets failling together are slim, but it exists, and must be taken into account.
On the other hand, once you've got the books in the plane, they will never fail (unless they are destroyed, but then you've got other problems).

Battery is also a problem, what if for some reason you have no more battery left?
I don't know if you have ever been in a jet cabin, but you're not going to charge it there.

I'm not saying tablets add nothing, but they're not going to use only tablets anytime soon.

RE: What's the use?
By its tom hanks on 12/14/2011 1:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
When was the last time an iPad was hacked (here is clue it involves the word 'never')

really? you're gonna take apple consumer's intelligence to THAT level? i'd be ashamed to say I was in the same consumer group as you if i used any apple products (but don't worry, every day you reassure me why i shouldn't be in that category).

RE: What's the use?
By Ringold on 12/14/2011 2:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
Why do they even need ipads during takeoff?

Here's how take-off works.

Captain has his hands on the physical controls. First Officer has check-list in hand.

Tower says taxi in to position and hold (or cleared on to the runway cleared for immediate departure, etc). XO reads and calls out that part of the checklist. Captain executes.

Tower says cleared for take off. XO calls out take-off checklist. Captain executes.

Various 'v' speeds are reached; XO announces them, Capt takes note.

Vr, or rotation speed, is hit. XO reads off climb check-list and any after-departure plans. Captain executes.

Say something goes wrong at any point: XO reads off the appropriate checklist, Captain executes.

Things happen quickly, but usually not THAT quickly. Except in extreme circumstances, the checklists are best to ALWAYS be read, for safety.

But note the overall idea: Constant two-way communication, one person repeating what the other says to ensure proper understanding, and read checklists. Checklists, checklists, checklists.

Just much easier to do it on an iPad. To save money, I've given up recreational flying for a while, but when I get back in to it I'll have a tablet and better bet it'll replace my traditional kneeboard and ridiculous mess of IFR approach plates, etc.

Thats what its really about I think, too. Organization, plain and simple. Replacing a dufflebag worth of books and charts with a single device. I'll keep charts and a basic paper checklist handy, but will definitely primarily use a tablet. Sure, tiny chance of a tablet failing, but also a .01% chance a Cessna's door pops open and woosh, there goes your maps (what pilot hasn't seen a sectional disappear out an old Cessna's window or door?), or BUMP, turbulence, water gets knocked over, now my charts wet. It's all just an exercise in risk management.

RE: What's the use?
By Paedric on 12/15/2011 7:38:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a glider pilot, so i don't really use all those things, but when i did some vfr with my dead in a small plane, i always had the map on the legs, the checklist either in my hand or on the map, and the navigation board (or whatever it's called in english) in the other hand.
Basically, i'd still need 3 tablets to do the same thing, so i don't see how it is a big improvement.

But then, i've never used tablets, so i can't comment on whether it is better or worse than a good old pen and paper.

As you still have to carry all the paper, i don't really the use.
On this subject, i know of at least one glider pilot that was only using an ipad for navigation, and had no map. Of course, the ipad once failed, and he was lost. He had to be helped using radio for about 30 minutes before he managed to get back to known areas.
I don't know if you know gliders, but that's not the funniest thing that can happen when you have no engine.

RE: What's the use?
By TakinYourPoints on 12/18/2011 6:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
Your logical and well reasoned posts have no place here

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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