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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 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
quote:
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.


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