Print 16 comment(s) - last by sorry dog.. on Dec 10 at 7:24 PM

FCC pledges to help the FAA in the review

Everyone knows that electronics we commonly use such as smartphones, tablets, and digital readers don't really interfere with the electronics inside an aircraft. This fact was proven accurate when some airlines began issuing pilots iPads containing manuals and other content with approvals to use them during any aspect of flight.

Despite the fact that the pilot in the cockpit can use his or her iPad during takeoff, flight, and landings, passengers in the back of the plane had to turn off all of their devices until the aircraft reached cruising altitude. The FCC is now pressuring the FAA to allow greater use of electronic devices during flights. FCC Chairman Julius Genachkowski recently called on the FAA to "enable greater use of tablets, E-readers, and other portable devices" during flights.
Considering that these devices are already approved for use while aircraft are at a safe cruising altitude, it only makes sense that the expanded usage privileges would extend to takeoff and landing as well.

 Pilots can already use iPads during the entire flight [Image Soure: The AirplaneNut]

The FAA previously launched a study group to review policies on in-flight use of electronic devices. However, the study did note that the FAA was not considering allowing voice communications during flights on smartphones and other mobile devices.

"This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives," Genachowski writes. "They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

Genachowski placed in the letter that the FCC would work with the FAA, airlines, and device manufacturers during the review.

Source: The Hill

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By quiksilvr on 12/7/2012 9:26:55 AM , Rating: 4
The last thing I need is someone yapping away next to me about crap I don't care about.

True I have noise cancelling earbuds but not everyone has them. Some people can't even wear them due to the cabin pressure.

If it's a dire emergency, obviously you can turn it on and make your call, but for any other scenario, just chilax.

By RufusM on 12/7/2012 10:19:00 AM , Rating: 2
Once at altitude I think the signal is lost so it's only during taxiing, takeoff and landing that it would even be possible to use them anyway.

I think this is geared more towards some people/airlines not letting people use them for reading, music, video, games, etc. On most flights I've been able to use my phone to play music or watch video during the flight if it's in airplane mode, but there have been some flights where the flight attendants won't let you have a phone on at all, no exceptions, not even in airplane mode.

By tng on 12/10/2012 9:36:31 AM , Rating: 2
Once at altitude I think the signal is lost
No, not always, just depends on where your plane is in relation to the nearest cell tower. Remember that cell towers typically have a 8 mile range (?), and that is plenty of range to get to most commercial flights.

I have had the pleasure of putting my cell into my briefcase and then halfway though the flight my briefcase starts to ring because I forgot to turn the phone off.

By sorry dog on 12/10/2012 7:24:49 PM , Rating: 1
You might get lucky sometimes, but tower antenna is aimed towards 30,000 foot traffic and the reception angle isn't that wide (maybe 60 degrees-usually less). In fact, through out the day, an antenna often will be tilted to follow traffic...and the tilt isn't that much...10 degree max usually.

Now, if calls were universally allowed...then another sector could maybe be added at some sites aimed for sky traffic, but there would still be call quality issues. At interstate speeds you can usually use a tower 4 or 5 minutes before handoff but at 500mph that will be 40 seconds or less which the system won't like. Which brings up what I guess is part of the real reason your not supposed have your cell on. In urban areas more towers will be able to see your phone (even if at shitty signal levels) compared to ground use and that ties up more frequencies and reduces capacity/increases networks errors. So, I suspect the ban has more to do with that issue than any safety deals.

First-hand experience
By eBob on 12/7/2012 9:44:47 AM , Rating: 3
I think that I experienced a possible future about 20 years ago. At that time, the airlines had installed "Airphones" in the seatbacks that allowed one to make incredibly expensive phone calls. I had been bumped up to first class for a 3-hour flight and was looking forward to a nice flight. The person next to me, however, made it impossible. He was on that airphone almost the entire flight. I guess that he was the owner of the company because he was berating employees and being loud and obnoxious with associates and friends. He made several phone calls and the more he drank, the louder he got. It was non-stop hell for the entire flight. I hope that voice calling is never allowed on flights.

RE: First-hand experience
By Lanister on 12/7/2012 1:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
When that happens in any circumstance (Plane, store, etc) I just join the conversation, obviousley they want me to be a part of it by talking so loud that I have no choice but to listen. You should have offered your opinion on whatever topics he was talking about.

RE: First-hand experience
By FishTankX on 12/8/2012 4:53:29 AM , Rating: 2
Simple solution is just to make sound dampened phone booths in the plane.

Forcing your POV on the rest of us
By Dorkyman on 12/7/2012 10:58:37 AM , Rating: 1
So let me get this straight. Because a few of you were once offended by someone using a phone, you insist that phone use be banned? How about showing a little flexibility instead?

You know, it really irritates me when someone nearby is talking on the plane. I'm not referring to phone use, I mean all talking, period. It breaks my concentration on the article I'm reading, and it's very rude. I think we should mandate that no conversation of a non-emergency nature should be allowed.

As an aside, headphones (noise-canceling or conventional) are your friend. Me, I use canalphones, and enjoy my flights in blissful silence, free of the roar of the engines.

RE: Forcing your POV on the rest of us
By Beenthere on 12/7/2012 11:43:56 AM , Rating: 1
There is no legitimate reason for using a phone during flight. If you have an real emergency that would be different. For most folks on or off an airplane, a cellphone is entertainment because they are bored. Yes business people do have a legitimate reason to use a cellphone and it should be used discretely when they are not on the plane.

Loud conversations are not appropriate either when on a plane and you can ask the stewardess to ask the offending party to lower their voice.

FYI - Noise canceling headphones only eliminate some noise, not all noise. Airline passengers should not be forced to fork out big bucks for noise canceling headphones because other passengers are ignorant and inconsiderate with their electronic toys.

RE: Forcing your POV on the rest of us
By semiconshawn on 12/7/2012 2:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
There is no legitimate reason for ME TO USE a phone during flight

Fixed it for you. As you have no idea if anyone has a legit reason for using a phone. If i want to call and wish my kids goodnight its legit enough for me.

By Camikazi on 12/8/2012 9:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
I would agree IF there was a way to move awya from the noisy and inconsiderate constant talkers but on a plane there is no way to get away from them. That lack of being able to move around makes it so the only way to deal with constant talkers is to not let them talk.

It's outright abuse
By Beenthere on 12/7/2012 11:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
Inconsiderate fellow passengers annoying their seatmate and other passengers in flight should not be tolerated, let alone encouraged. In addition no one knows for sure what effect all of these electronic devices might have on fly-by-wire, sensitive cockpit instruments and sensors. Hopefully after the first plane crash from "unknown causes", all electronics will be banned for use during flight. Anyone who can't wait until the flight is over to use their electronic toys, should take the bus...

RE: It's outright abuse
By Dorkyman on 12/8/2012 4:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
We already know for sure what effect they have on "sensitive cockpit instruments"--none. I refer you to Mythbusters and numerous other studies.

And it's good of you to decide for the rest of us how "annoying" is defined. Use your headphones--at the very least, they will help protect your hearing from the constant roar of the engines.

thank god
By mm2587 on 12/7/2012 9:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
"however, the study did note that the FAA was not considering allowing voice communications during flights on smartphones and other mobile devices"

I could care less what sort of BS excuse they give for not allowing this as long as I don't have to listen to some idiot next to me babble on the phone for my entire flight

By Chaser on 12/7/2012 11:08:45 AM , Rating: 2
I fly regularly. It irks me when I am reading an ebook off my tablet and am told to "power it down" why the guy next to me remains immersed in his book or newspaper.

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