Print 58 comment(s) - last by omgwtf8888.. on Jan 3 at 3:44 PM

  (Source: NBC Universal)
Passengers are acting out against the rules and even hurting one another

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worries that electronic device use on planes places passengers in harm's way, but the real issue is that the FAA is spreading fear about an issue that hasn't been proven yet.

The FAA has set rules that make it so passengers cannot use electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and e-readers during takeoff and landing on a flight. However, there is no solid proof that electronics affect the way a plane performs. This has been in question for some time, but the FAA continues to impose these rules on passengers, and it has caused panic and even injuries among those who travel by plane.

For instance, a 68-year-old man punched a 15-year-old on a plane when the teenager refused to turn off his smartphone during a flight. According to the man, he was doing it to save the entire plane from any harmful consequences.

Just a couple of months ago, a passenger was arrested in El Paso when he decided not to turn off his cell phone during landing. Last month, another passenger did the same when landing in New York and a swarm of cop cars were waiting for him once he exited the plane.

Of course, many also remember the incident where Alec Baldwin was kicked off a plane in 2011 for playing Words With Friends.

This goes to show that the FAA is causing more trouble by making people believe that electronics are an issue when they may very well not be.

Back in March, the FAA said it would review the effects of tablet/e-reader use during takeoff and landing.

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

The FAA likely put this testing off due to costs and the amount of testing required for these devices to pass. In order for the FAA to approve the use of e-readers and tablets during takeoff and landing, each kind of device needs to be tested. For example, an iPad cannot be tested alone; the iPad 2 and the new iPad must be tested as well. There are already several versions of the Kindle available as well, such as the Kindle Fire tablet, and many other Android-powered tablets on the market. There are now Windows 8 tablets on the market too.

In early December 2011, the FAA raised a few eyebrows when allowing American Airlines pilots to use iPads in the cockpit. The FAA allowed iPads to replace paper manuals and charts, and they could be used during takeoff and landing. The FAA argued that allowing two iPads in the cockpit was a significantly different scenario than several passengers using several devices for longer periods of time.

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pressured the FAA to allow greater use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing because "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."

Source: The New York Times

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By Master Kenobi on 12/31/2012 1:36:44 PM , Rating: 5
The FAA has been riding this train for a long time and will continue to do so until someone with a clue rises to power and ends the idiocy. The current rules on electronics are just a reflection of "we don't want to test electronics, or get with the FCC to mandate a standard that can be checked for as airline approved". Sooner or later the old timers will either be fired (this is the government so thats highly unlikely) or simply retire. Once these fools are out, perhaps someone a few years younger will be less afraid of the modern world.

In the meantime, privately owned & operated airplanes worldwide have been enjoying shit tons of in flight wireless electronics for years. It's good to have the $$.

RE: Idiots
By topkill on 12/31/2012 2:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
I think the proper term here is "idiocracy" here


RE: Idiots
By jeepga on 12/31/2012 2:15:55 PM , Rating: 5
There's another aspect to it. By forbidding electronics it makes it easy to see if someone is doing something that would be disastrous at take-off or landing. I fly often and the take-off and landing ban of electronics is annoying, but nothing more.

A testing system wouldn't help. Who's going to check it? Do we forbid all electronics that aren't tested, or do the flight attendants need to check everyone's electronics before giving them a sticker to indicate they are approved to use them? It's not manageable.

RE: Idiots
By mcnabney on 1/2/2013 9:27:56 AM , Rating: 2
The testing is never going to find a 'bad' device. Only a CB/HAM radio is going to emit enough EM to actually be any kind of risk on an airplane. Neither of those are battery powered or personally portable/usable. Electronic devices (which are generally low-power) just don't emit enough.

RE: Idiots
By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 2:42:30 PM , Rating: 1
Yups and as a former US Air Force jet engine mechanic on very high end helicopters and aircraft I can vouch that in my entire time in service not one incident ever occurred because someone has a cellphone on or in use. No one ever told us to put our phones away lol. During test flights we would sit in a trunk 8-10 people near the helicopter on the ground which would be running tests in case something went wrong we would jump out the trunk and go service the aircraft. What would we do for hours on the truck? Every single one of us on our phones parked next to the running aircraft. This is with communications, navigation, and other top secret systems all running, no issues.
The FCC is just too lazy and cheap to update this archaic rule

RE: Idiots
By Piiman on 12/31/2012 3:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
Why did hey make you sit in the Trunk :-)

RE: Idiots
By sorry dog on 12/31/2012 3:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
The FCC is just too lazy and cheap to update this archaic rule

Dontcha mean the FAA?

I think the rule is partially because of capacity interruption that can be caused by cell phone trying to communicated with 6 towers that it now has line of sight of since it's 10,000+ feet in the air. However, that affects cell providers more than anybody else, so it doesn't make sense that the FCC would say something against the I dunno...

RE: Idiots
By Piiman on 12/31/2012 3:26:14 PM , Rating: 2
But you're not @ 10,000 feet at takeoff or landing. And its not like these signals go way just because your phone is off.

RE: Idiots
By Telomar on 12/31/2012 4:58:05 PM , Rating: 4
Military aircraft and helicopters both use shielded electronic systems. I'm still not of the belief that it makes a difference on commercial aircraft but you'd certainly not see an effect on military systems.

RE: Idiots
By mcnabney on 1/2/2013 9:29:40 AM , Rating: 2
Military aircraft are more than 'shielded'. Commercial aircraft are shielded. The military can survive the EMP from a nuclear weapon.

RE: Idiots
By HoosierEngineer5 on 1/1/2013 1:04:32 PM , Rating: 1
I am glad you have the expertise to be able to determine that faulted/out of tolerance commercial-quality equipment won't interfere with cockpit communications, or affect radio navigation. Perhaps you can send your analysis to the FAA and clear it up for all time?

Sorry for the attitude, but nobody ever thinks about these things.

RE: Idiots
By mcnabney on 1/2/2013 9:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
I actually do. And the idea is laughable - even for devices that broadcast.

First, the antennas on commercial aircraft are on the outside of the plane - usually the wings. So the signal is going to have to penetrate the hull and travel a fair distance to even begin to have a chance to be disruptive.

Second, aviation uses specific set-aside spectrum for communications which are highly isolated from the spectrum reserved for wifi and commercial wireless signals. That means that the only thing an airplanes antenna will be sensitive to is 3rd/4th/5th order resonance frequencies.

Third, these devices are low-powered and not adjacent - so Inverse-Square is going to reduce any signal to background static by the time it gets there.

It just isn't possible. It would be like FM radio from New York interfering with VHF TV from Chicago. It just isn't going to happen.

RE: Idiots
By JediJeb on 1/2/2013 1:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
What about the buzzing I hear in my speakers every time I have a call coming in? Could that type of interference bleed into some of the electrical cabling running through the plane?

RE: Idiots
By jdownard on 1/2/2013 10:33:55 AM , Rating: 2
The problem here is not necessarily cell phones, tablets, or e-readers. The problem is that there are types of handheld, battery operated devices that could possibly be used to interfere with the electronic signals in an aircraft (think FM radio jammer). Likewise, they could also transmit relatively low power signals on frequencies that correspond to approach radios or communication radios, confusing the flight computer or disrupting communication at a critical time. These devices could be manufactured to resemble cell phones, tablets, and e-readers. In a plane with 300+ passengers, how can you possibly expect the flight crew to identify the differences? Not allowing the use of any device during the most critcal phases of flight (take-off and landing) is a minor annoyance at best and could help the flight crew identify anybody attempting to use such a device.

RE: Idiots
By Rukkian on 1/2/2013 10:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
If somebody could make something like that and wanted to purposely cause issues, they already could. They would not not use the device just because the flight attendent told them to turn it off.

RE: Idiots
By jdownard on 1/2/2013 11:28:05 AM , Rating: 2
In order for such a device to be effective, it would have to be activated during take-off or landing. If it was on beforehand it would be detected and alternate protocols initiated. In order for it to be activated somebody would need to have access to it, and likely pull it out, to switch it on. If nobody else on the plane is using anything and one person pulls out a device, and then something strange happens to the plane, then it is possible that the flight crew or one of the passengers would put together somebody activating a device and the plane issue as being related. On the other hand, if all 300 people on the plane have some kind of handheld device out and something happened there would be no way for the crew or passengers to identify the cause.

RE: Idiots
By Rukkian on 1/2/2013 11:46:33 AM , Rating: 2
I can attest that on any given flight several people never put away their electronics, and just hide them. If it were disquised close enough to a cell phone, that could already happen.

Basically you are saying that a terrorist will not take down the plane cause somebody told them not to. I guess we should have tried on on 9/11. Maybe if they just told them not to hijack the planes, they would have sat down and stopped the attack.

While I have no problem with the ban, your argument makes no sense to me at all.

RE: Idiots
By 91TTZ on 1/2/2013 11:44:02 AM , Rating: 1
Your post reeks of cluelessness. You make it sound like they're just old and afraid of technology which isn't the case.

I don't think that this is really what it's about. It's really about people paying attention. When the airline crew is trying to explain what to do in case of an emergency, you don't want people ignoring them while they play on their iPad.

In the meantime, privately owned & operated airplanes worldwide have been enjoying shit tons of in flight wireless electronics for years. It's good to have the $$.

The major airlines also have in flight wireless. It's just deactivated during takeoff and landing.

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