FAA Electronics Ban on Planes Causes More Harm Than Good
December 31, 2012 1:15 PM
comment(s) - last by
(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
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."
The New York Times
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RE: Glad to see so many electrical engineers in the forum.
1/1/2013 1:54:17 AM
I guess the worry is if you have 120-200 people all using their devices at once, the aggregate EM interference would start to become a problem. Surely no one cell phone could be trouble, but a hundred in a cramped space?
I doubt it, but it is a pertinent question. I don't think the FAA needs to look at every device ever, but if they could take devices with the most powerful radios and simulate every passenger having one, for a absolute unrealistic worst case, that should be a sufficient test to put this issue to bed.
RE: Glad to see so many electrical engineers in the forum.
1/2/2013 4:45:37 PM
Don't mix basic mathematics with EM science. Having a large saturation of low power EM devices on specific bands is not the same as having a single higher power device in the same or another EM band. The only issues you might encounter would be with devices that operate right next to bands utilized by the aircraft itself. The "bleed over" effect that might happen depending on how well made the device's transciever is would be greatest point of concern.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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