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  • 33

Disruptions: The Real Hazards of E-Devices on Planes

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Over the last year, flying with phones and other devices has become increasingly dangerous. In September, a passenger was arrested in El Paso after refusing to turn off his cellphone as the plane was landing. In October, a man in Chicago was arrested because he used his iPad during takeoff. In November, half a dozen police cars raced across the tarmac at La Guardia Airport in New York, surrounding a plane as if there were a terrorist on board. They arrested a 30-year-old man who had also refused… (bits.blogs.nytimes.com) Altro...

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pilot62
Wow do really need to go over this again .... PEOPLE ! The departure and arrival is the most critical part of the flight , the crew wants your Attention so they can save your LIFE maybe.
If a phone could bring down the plane they'd be taken at the door.

And passengers punching kids for having them on ? The only time the crew wants your help with this kinda of stuff is if the safety of the aircraft or someone on it needs your help , not getting up, reclining your seat at the wrong time, or leaving your bleeping phone on!

This riding on a aircraft thing is not that difficult .....
pdixonj
pdixonj 4
AMEN!!!!!!!!!! **Thunderous Applause**
RichPasco
Rich Pasco 1
If the passengers' attention is what matters then why is it illegal to read a book on a Kindle or Nook but not the same book in its paper edition?
davis1926a
Why fight it? If there is ANY possibility of negative reactions to current electronic gadgets that we mostly all possess, why fight it? What could be so important that we couldn't live without our 'toys' for a few minutes?
zachariekd06
THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE !
benin
benin 7
I really don't think that tablets and what not can really crash a plane, the worst that could happen really is POSSIBLY the cellphones signals may disrupt the Radio, but it's not like the cellphone is going to alter the aircraft's controls and nosedive just after takeoff. Didn't the Mythbusters do a myth about this a year or so back?
preacher1
preacher1 9
You are probably right, BUT, you don't make the rules. The FAA does, and we ALL have to abide by them while they are in effect. Just because you disagree with them does not give you the right to disobey them. Turn your oppositioon to the FAA, not the Airlines. They are just following the rules.
anselmp
The FAA is pretty useless. The airlines make the rules and the FAA just approves them.
JetMech24
JetMech24 2
You got it backwards, FAA made the rule, the airlines made their policies, then the FAA approves. That's how everything is done.
sparkie624
sparkie624 5
The small electronics won't interfere with the planes system. This is a real myth that the FAA has been poring out for years. I am sure there is another reason they want them off. As a Mechanic specializing in avionics I went on a personal mission with an a/c (on the ground) to cause interference. I did succeed, but my methods were extreme and would not be possible in flight. I am not going to share how I did it however.

Rules are rules and we all have to abide by them however... Even if they are bull you now what.
anselmp
If it was such a big deal there would be no cell towers around airports. I'm an old avionics troop myself.
zachariekd06
Actually you guys might be right about it. Or maybe not...

The certification regulations of present aircraft NEVER asked them to take care of it. Because these devices dind't exist at the time the regulation was written or those aircraft were engineered, built and tested!

Thus:::
- You don't have any technical fact to prove your saying.
- aircraft manufactures can't garanty that you guys are right when you say Edevices-ON is armless.

But what I think we shoul be happy for, for the time..., is to have passengers allowed to use those gadgets inflight, excpet close to the ground !
ilikerio
ilikerio 0
Unless you mess up the autopilot and set the vertical speed to -4000... :P
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
What about the compass system... In my experiment... I had both compasses to move in access of 20 degrees together. Think of flying from California to Tokyo with a 20 degree heading error :), But again, I used extreme measures.
cmp5n
cmp5n 6
I think we all can agree that the FAA is an excellent example of government inefficiency.

As mounting pressure proves, maintianing this rule because the agency hasn't tested the issue clearly isn't acceptable.
kb271
Just what I want a four hour flight with a woman on the phone seated beside me. A little sanity please.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 5
I'm too damn important to abide by these silly rules and everyone else are just sheep and not VIP's. I have money and I'm special. I have an Iphone 5 and an Ipad. I wear Polo clothes. I don't have to act like unimportant people. I have so many "friends" that "need" me on facebook right now. I really need my own jet because I deserve it. I, I, I, I,ME, ME, ME, .....
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
And I have a medallion around my neck that says "on this spot the big bang occurred" demonstrating that I am the center of the universe.
preacher1
preacher1 1
me too.LOL
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 2
Such an insignificant problem - we have enough genuine worries, don't we? Have we become so attached to our electronic toys that turning them off for 10-15 minutes is going to ruin our day? Come on people - who cares? Grow up and quit griping - rules are rules, whether you agree with them or not. Turn your electronic goodies off, sit back and relax. You'll be fine.
distar97
If the rules are going to continue and compliance is problematic how about a creative tech fix. A new mandate would dictate new consumer devices deemed to be a potential radiation hazard be capable of remote control of their radiated signals.

Just before an airplane takes off or descends below 10k feet, a secure signal generated by a black box is automatically transmitted in the cabin. The consumer devices receive it and radiated power is shut down (shortly after it gives a polite notice). The consumer chooses in preferences how the notice is given , such as a audible signal or on-screen display.The system will detect and shutdown a device radiating because a cheater just turned it on from a cold start or kept it in a shielded bag bag of some sort.

Devices will revert to normal unless the signal is repeated at some interval, lets say five minutes.

What about a hostile 9/11 style takeover where people need to communicate? In that case the FAA can send an override signal to the black box. These days the FAA will know quickly if something is wrong with a flight. Maybe it can be tied into an existing upload data link or some other system in the development pipeline.

There's a number of technical ways of doing this for both the consumer devices and airplane based black box. Hand the project to a group of avionics engineers to work out the details and implementation. It would take a while to implement but it appears this argument is not going away any time soon.

Note I have not taken a position either way. That's the point, we need ideas like this ends the bickering once and for all. Everyone wins, the rules-be-damned folks get to use their devices right up to the critical phase of flight. The rules-must-be-followed folks will feel their concerns have been addressed.
DennisH
jwills8606
Before anyone dismisses the interference question out of hand, I would like to relate what happened to me:

I have a 1962 182 Skylane, with upgraded avionics, including a Garmin GNS 530 and a Garmin Aera as a backup device, also wired into its own external antenna. Last spring I had noticed that my 530 would fail, seemingly randomly, and nothing would bring it back online. After I purchased the Aera, I realized that both units were failing simultaneously.

After a few phone calls, the owner of a larger avionics shop nailed it: His first question was, "Do you keep your cell phone with you, and is it on?" I did. "Try a couple of flights without it and call me back."

Several flights later I called him for the explanation.

The GNS 530 antenna is an "active" unit, which is to say it contains its own amplifier. There was a recall on certain models of antenna, which under certain circumstances go into oscillation, blanking out the unit in question and also any nearby, due to radiated energy.

Long story short: new antenna, no more problems. It turns out that the cell phone frequency is very near that of the gps satellites and "front end overloaded" the amplifier, driving it into oscillation. Now multiply that by three hundred cell phones, all on automatic HI power as they search for towers.

Was my antenna defective? You bet. Do I turn off my cell phone on commercial flights?

Absolutely.
anselmp
Commercial avionics are different. They use inertial navigation as primary and GPS just updates the INS for precise navigation. They could lose GPS altogether and still navigate.
mrbill767
mrbill767 1
Not sure of your background but the main aircraft the air carriers have use either IRUs or GPS. IRUs update using VORs. Without VOR updates the IRUs can get way off. So IRUs can navigate by themselves but eventually without the VORs, they become ureliable, especially for terrain avoidance and approaches, though once your'e on the localizer for an approach, you don't need even one IRU. GPS is even better since its self contained and doesn't need ground based nav aids. But.....unlike an IRU, if satellites fail, you're down to the old VOR for navigation so you can't navigate to waypoints should satellites go down or you lose all your GPSs. Retired captain, B767/757,737,727,717. If its not a Boeing, I ain't going. Oh yeah, flew the S80 for 6 years and hated every minute of it.....except the pay!!!
quizzard
Rules wouldn't be so bad if they were at least consistent and uniform. But flying passengers these days are subject to such a bewildering array of local by laws, it's hardly surprising the whole experience of flying leaves many looking like bewildered stags caught up in headlights.

Security check-ins are a law unto themselves. Remove your shoes/jacket, don't remove them; take out your iPad but not your iPhone; take out your iPad but not your iPhone; put your toothpaste in a separate plastic bag; leave your toothpaste where it is, you're delaying other passengers; go through the same process 100 metres further on, in spite of remaining in a sanitised security cordon.

An ex Battle of Britain pilot once said to me, after we'd passed through multiple security checks at Charles de Gaulle: "Hitler never had us running around like this and he was dropping thousands of bombs on our heads day and night."

We were in the air that day, travelling to the UK when the news came through about the Concorde tragedy. So do we now send out a truck after each departing flight to check for debris? Of course not. Or perhaps we should send a security detail to every passenger's home to check them out there. Where will this craziness end?

A couple of days ago, I was flying home to Australia from Hong Kong with Qantas. I settled myself in, inserted earplugs, blindfold and fastened my seatbelt as I curled up waiting for the interminable delay of take-off. My bag was stowed and I was sitting on my paperback after being told on a previous flight that it was a potential hazard (a moot point since it was A Brave New World) when I was awoken to be told to keep my seatbelt off until the seatbelt sign was lit. I suppose the theory was that while a passenger jet is being readied for take-off (it had already been refueled), some calamity could overtake us and the second taken in removing the belt would be critical to my survival.

I mean, does someone sit in an office all day dreaming up new regulations for Chrissake? The only injuries Qantas have on their outstanding safety record has been from people NOT wearing belts.

I do not see myself as an anarchist (anarchy takes youth and vigour), but I do tend to agree with those who rail against the absurdity of these myriad rules. The people who maintain if its a rule, we must obey it are the same as those pre-war Germans who accepted it was perfectly acceptable to confiscate the property of Jews because it was the law, and you must follow the law at all times.
anselmp
How about just getting of an 8 hour flight and having to go thru security again without leaving the secure area of the airport.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I spent some time in Germany as a kid not that long after the war, and was around a lot of German people that went thru it. Whether German or anyone else, people will go with the crowd and be sorry for it later as those folks were. At some point and time, all you folks out here that are basically lawless and have no regard for anyone but yourself, will realize that you are on the wrong side of this thing. If we have no law, there would be anarchy. Change the rules but do not look down on or usurp the rights of the ones that try to follow them while they are in effect, and please do not compare me to a Nazi or that mentality just because you happen to disagree with something. Come to Western Arkansas and we will give you a proper education, right damn fast!!!
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 0
I was with you up until your last paragraph. That's insulting and ridiculous.
JC1901
I need to be first on to the aircraft, I need an aisle seat, I need to be first off the aircraft, I am important, therefore, I need to use whatever electronic devices whenever I want. I need all my baggage to be carry on even if it is oversize and over weight, I need to be catered to even if I arrive later than the other passengers. I travel several times a week, therefore I am more important than the other passengers - Really . . .
ntc
Neal CLARY 2
I've experienced radio interference when an old Nextel phone rang. It was hardly catastrophic, but it did occur.

That said, I've used my cell phone from the cockpit numerous times for voice, text, and data transmissions and never experienced any interference. The only instance of interference I ever had was with that Nextel phone when it actually rang.
skykingh09
I agree about cell phone use in the cockpit. I call my wife regulary on my Trac phone when I cross the house heading for the airport. She knows II will be home in an hour. The 3G on my IPad Doris interfere.
Sailboss
Here's the real facts;
1. Neither the FAA,FCC, Airlines, nor manufacturers fully understand the problem.
2. They all have spent a lot of money to figure it out.
3. You and I don't know either.
4. If you guess wrong a lot of people could die.
5. No cellphone call is ever THAT important.

Since the first four are indisputable facts and the fifth is empirically verified each time I walk buy a moron in Walmart, Locking up arrogant, narcissistic jerks (like Alec Baldwin) is a totally reasonable response. All arguments to the contrary place you squarely in the Baldwin?Walmart camp.
rem47
Walmart sells morons?
Chuckekl
Chuck Ekl 2
After reading all the threads there was only one that mentioned the limitation of turning them off during "sterile" portions of the flight. Isn't that what is at issue here. Have you ever tried to get a cell phone signal at 36,00 ft, good luck, spotty at best. I would rather know what is going on with my plane when a major problem is most likely to happen, take off and landing, then playing a game or sending and email. They can wait! I see this same sort of problem with kids today. They have to be on some type of electronic device. You know what put it down sit tight and hope that your butt gets back down on the ground in one piece. Man wasn't designed to fly, yet we figured out how to. Get over the fact that there is a pig next to you paying his GEICO bill online and fly.
Ace917
I was copilot on an MD-80 from Newark to Bermuda. The navigation needles suddenly diverged 45° each way. The captain immediately asked the flt attendant to check for cellphones. She found a man in 1st class using his. When he turned it off, the needles went back to normal. Five minutes later, the same thing happened. The captain asked me to go back and check it out, and sure enough, the same jerk was back on his phone. We gave his phone back to him in Bermuda. Maybe not scientific evidence, but certainly empirical.

With the increased sensitivity of GPS systems and fly-by-wire flight controls, great care must be taken before relaxing the rules.
anselmp
Probably was a radio issue since the primary navigation system is completely self contained and requires no outside signal. GPS is just used to update the position. Some of the older birds use an automatic direction finding system that tunes into to radio broadcast/signals but this is only used at airports lacking modern gear.
MarkJernigan
Very few ADFs in use anymore. All being phased out of service when they break.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You know one thing that is not out in any of this. In the early days of cell phones, probably into the early 2000's, everything was mostly analog signal rather than digital and that would put us back into the time these rules started being promulgated. Just a thought.
Pilotguyr6
Pilotguyr6 3
It is soley the passengers, whether or not we all know cell phones affect airplanes, rules are rules. And if people don't want to follow them and think they know more than everyone else, they will suffer the consequences. The FAA should lax the rules on electronic devices but until they do, put them away and give the flight attendants a break.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Rules is rules and as you say, until they are changed, you fly, you follow. Just because you may disagree with them DOES NOT make it alright for you not to follow them.
bishops90
Agreed. Didn't I read somewhere a few months ago that they may relax the rules somewhat? Seems like we had this discussion here before.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I remember having the discussion but can't remember the details. Seems like they were getting off the interference kick but were on the "loose projectile" during takeoff/landing.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
I read that some where, seems like about a year ago... Haven't heard anything since.
Av8nut
So, the real hazard is getting arrested??
Av8nut
If you were to go to someone's house and they asked you to take your shoes off first, would you demand to keep them on because you "have rights".
quizzard
Yes, I withdraw the last paragraph. I was just trying to think of the lessons learnt in the last century which illustrate that blindly following the law because it is the law does not pave the way for progress. But I am sure there are better examples.
RichPasco
Rich Pasco 1
After years of insisting that the WiFi function on laptops must be disabled in flight, American Airlines (and others) started offering WiFi internet access (for a fee) on their flights. There was no redesign of the avionics, just a chance to make some money.
skykingh09
I use Foreflight for my charts and approach plates. Recently I forgot to turn the 3G off before takeoff. I got an annoying Beep,Beep, Beep in my audio of my headset. It drove me crazy . I turned the volume of every radio I had down and it didn't go away. Finally I thought about the 3G. I am glad I wasn't in busy airspace.
andromeda07
Just to note, there is a big difference between cell phones and wifi, which whose function is to transmit radio signals, versus iPads, iPods, kindles, games, and other gadgets that do not transmit.
jwills8606
Anything that has WiFi transmits - iPads, Kindles included. Gaming devices transmit as well, thought not intentionally. All computer-chip equipped devices have "clocks" that synchronize their state changes as they do their calculations. Manufacturers try to minimize this RF, but it is still there.

What is the big deal with shutting your toys off while you are low, slow, and often in bad weather in order to keep 300 people safe? Sometimes I think Al-Queda is right - we are so pampered and petulant that there is no hope for us.
JetMech24
JetMech24 1
Some of the WiFi systems on the aircraft use cell towers for internet signals, but at the same time, it will not operate below 10,000'.
mrbill767
mrbill767 1
Urban legend all those cell phones getting pilots lost because of their interference!!!!

Having been a captain flying across the Atlantic for 3 years and the Caribbean for over 10 years for a major airline, I can't tell you how many times I've left my cell phone on. Never a problem. It was only about 2 years ago that the company incorporated the turning off of electronic devices on our checklists. Otherwise guys would try to remember if they could since it wasn't on the checklist. It was quite humorous requiring flight attendants to remind passengers to turn off electronic devices yet pilots had no reminders. I guess the number one could have taken on that responsiblity........just kidding. The bad part about leaving your phone on as a pilot, is that the battery would go dead looking for a signal for so long. Heck, I've had the darned thing start ringing just as the airplane was in the flare during landing. Same for takeoff. About 30 years ago cell phones did pose a problem but that was back in the day with different technology. IF you were around back then you might recall those old clunky bag phones that you'd carry around with you and plug into your vehicle's cigarette lighter. Those phones indeed caused electrical interference but how many folks carry those around these days??? I think the only place you can find one is in a museum. So much in aviation happens because "that's the way we've always done it"!!! The FAA is extremely slow adapting to a changing world. A classic example is the requirement of pilots carrying their paper copy of their medical and license even though there's computers with the same data available from a person's phone!!!! IF a pilot doesn't have these documents its a $10,000 fine, you could lose your license for 6 months and of course lose your job as well during that time equating to a potential loss of $120,000. Its such a threat to safety not having those two pieces of paper. Give me a break. Now if we could only talk someone into having wind socks at the end of every runway.......... Did you know that pilots are required a physical twice a year but their hearing isn't even tested???? If you can walk in and walk out under your own power and your urine is nice and yellow, free of poppy seeds and what have you, you're good to go!!!........providing you pay your $120
preacher1
preacher1 1
Any case listed in the story, and countless others, can go into court, and the charge will be upheld because there is a clear violation of regulations that are written by the regulatory body that is charged with governing that entity. In this case, the FAA. As with any other law, we may not feel that it is applicable to us or whatever, but we are still bound by it, or at least should be, until it is changed. There are feelings on both sides of this particular argument, BUT, the flight crews are bound by these regulations and must enforce them. They are well known and one has a choice to fly or utilize some other transport mode. If you choose to fly, you know they are there and by boarding, you are agreing to abide by them. I personally think this is very simple but it apparently is not to some people.
mrbill767
mrbill767 1
Urban legend those electronic warnings. As a captain flying over the Atlantic for 3 years and the Caribbean for over 10 years for a major airline, I can't tell you how many times I've left my cell phone on. Never a problem. It was only about 2 years ago that the company made electronic devices turned off on our checklists. Otherwise guys would try to remember if they could since it wasn't on the checklist. The bad part about leaving your phone on is that the battery would go dead looking for a signal for so long. About 30 years ago cell phones did pose a problem but that was back in the day with different technology. IF you were around back then you might recall those old clunky bag phones that you'd carry around with you and plug into your vehicle's cigarette lighter. Those phones indeed cause electrical interference but how many folks carry those around these days??? So much in aviation happens because "that's the way we've always done it"!!! The FAA is extremely slow adapting to a changing world. A classic example is the requirement of pilots carrying their paper copy of their medical and license even though there's computers with the same data available from a person's phone!!!! IF a pilot doesn't have these documents its a $10,000 fine, you could lose your license for 6 months and of course lose your job as well during that time equating to a potential loss of $120,000. Its such a threat to safety not having those two pieces of paper. Give me a break. Now if we could only talk someone into having wind socks at the end of every runway..........
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
Could a small part of the paper copy issue be because servers are known to go offline sometimes? It's been my experience one can be left without substantiation when relying solely on electronic copies. In the instance you cite, if medical and / or license documentation is required, and the server is offline it could create a rather serious problem. Just a guess.
mrbill767
mrbill767 1
Airlines have their own computer systems. I don't think they use "servers" per se. The Feds ought to check a guy's license B4 they even show up at the airplane. All they have to do is check with his company's dispatch folks for whatever info they need. Substantiation??? The Feds can substantiate anything within seconds if they want. Its just that the system they use is antiquated and they refuse to get with the 21st century.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
The same could be said, I suppose, for the cop who stops you on the highway and asks for your license. If you can't produce it, you are in deep trouble. And they could go back and check, just as you say the Feds can. If the policy, rule, law, whatever says carry it - you carry it.
mrbill767
mrbill767 1
You are NOT in deep trouble if you get stopped by the law and don't have your license. They can find out in a New York minute who you are. They have more data on you than you know. All you need to do is give them a few pieces of verification like your birthday, your address, what other cars you have, etc. You usually have your insurance papers in the glove box as well. With the technology in place, they could produce a picture of you from your license which they have in their data base and compare it with your face. I've been stopped in the past and it really hasn't been a problem. I tell them I have a concealed weapon permit, they see it in their data base, and all that's left is a discussion why they stopped me. Really not a problem. Papers are old school. The FAA needs to get with the program.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
It depends on what state you're in. And I understand they have the technology to find all of this out, as I alluded to - perhaps you missed that part which is too bad, because that was my point. Anyway, this is off topic, so that's it from me.
mrbill767
mrbill767 1
Sorry. You made a statement, "you are in deep trouble", followed by "And they could go back and check, just as you say the Feds can." Either a person is in deep trouble or they're not. I said they're not in deep trouble. Don't forget, you're the one that got off topic bringing in the police. But the same is NOT the case in aviation. If you don't have a license ON YOU for flying an airplane, in this case you are in deep trouble. But the thing is that you don't have to be in deep trouble just because you don't have some stupid piece of paper on you. But the government has decided to have idiocy reign. We have the technology but the FAA continues to bury their collective head in the sand not only when it comes to paperwork but with electronic devices as well. As an aside, if you misplace your medical or your license, a pilot can call dispatch at his company (depending on the airline) and have them print out a copy of it on a piece of computer paper. I should know since that happened to me a couple of times in the past. If that's good for the FAA, I don't see why they can't just contact the company themselves when its time for a checkride. But they continue to operate in the past unwilling to change from their old ways of doing something. Kinda like the postal service. Its old school, those letters being sent in the mail yet we still have the post office, and we still have those little pieces of papers in our wallets or some other billfold. Same goes for government run schools. They're still operating with 19th century policies. Classrooms with teachers, textbooks, ringing of bells, the entire operation shut down for the summer. All that is antiquated and actually harmful in today's society. But that's what often happens when you get government in the mix. Its a problem in aviation and a problem in other areas of the culture as well.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
It's a revenue producer here. Ticket for failure to have license. $159 or go to court. If you go to court, no fine but court cost is $129. Lol
kevcapoz
I fly Emirates using both my mobile phone and my wi-fi tablet or laptop. Not during the sterile portions of the flight- below 10,000 feet, but any other time. And you can turn your phone once the a/c has landed and is still taxiing. If it ok for the worlds largest airline by miles flown, not sure why it isn't for the rest!
zachariekd06
that's it... there talking about this "sterile portion of the flight".
MarkJernigan
Rather than debate the real or imagined effects of electronics on aircraft systems, how about we debate the slow, ineffective rate of change within the FAA and airline industry as it relates to technical change? The use of GPS on air carriers is a great example. Some airlines allow it. Some will crucify you as though you are Satan himself. It is more than a bit ridiculous.The FAA chooses to wash their hands of the issue by leaving it up to the air carriers, who are not about to act as a group in a reasonable way. Why change if not forced to? Therefore I think that simply accepting the "rules are rules" attitude is a bit naive. Someone needs to step up and question why things are as they are? The airline flight experience is often, at best, an exercise in endurance of rather outdated rules and procedures inflicted on the "cattle" in the cabins. Not sure if in the end FAA or the industry is to blame.I suspect much of both.ie: The resistance to change from the spineless thought and concern for implied liability that has eaten the soul of innovation...

However I might add that approval of electronic flight bags is accepted on many air carrier aircraft. The FAA has accepted specifically the use of the iPad, tested and discovered that in all aspects, it is safe in the cockpit. If safe there, then why not the rest of the aircraft? What about the acceptability of Bluetooth devices, many of which are also approved on the flight deck. Cell phones are a different beast it seems. However I have given mine plenty of opportunities to interfere without an issue.Not that it is in any way a scientific process. It just tends to make me think at a higher level than the average lemming.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Well, I am like a lot, without the experience to argue technicalities. That said, your comment about the "slow, inneffective rate of change"really strikes home. If we will just look around us at what has transpired(exploded might be a better term)in the last 20 years or less.Shoot, most of us hadn't even heard of the Internet in the early 90's, let alone have it. Only in the last couple of years has the FAA started talking and moving a little toward Next Gen but is so far behind with that that manufacturers aren't real sure what to build and Airlines are real sure what to buy, as it may change before it gets in it's final form. I for one, lugged around a 50# flight bag for years. As I get back into part time now after a couple years off, the Ipad is absolutely wonderful. Most here are probably right here in saying that these are useless rules, BUT, the ire should be adressed to the FAA rather than taking it out on the flight crew that HAS to enforce the rules, whether good or not. Until they are changed, we must live with them.
MarkJernigan
Agreed. The point is to live with rules while working for change where warranted.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 0
I haven't any knowledge or expertise on this issue, however, your comment "The resistance to change from the spineless thought and concern for implied liability" strikes me as an emotional response rather than one arrived at via solid fact.

I have no problem with the FAA choosing to err on the side of safety.
MarkJernigan
I was FAA for 16 years. Seen the beast from the inside. Know how it works. And nothing wrong with emotion when it is correctly placed. erring on the side of safety can be just as extreme as putting on 3 pair of underwear, just in case...
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 0
Of course you're entitled to your opinion. I stand by mine. I don't care if you wear 3 pairs of underwear, but I do care if you don't turn off your electronic toys when asked to.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I think everyone on here who is opposed to turning off their electronics should just leave them on and tell the crew you refuse to turn them off because you already know it doesn't hurt anything. Then you will have the chance to convince the judge you are right. Lol
nigelites
Nige Lites 1
I read the NYT Article, and then scrolled down to their Comments, interested to see what opinions the 'General Public' might have, In there I saw and followed a link to the IEEE Spectrum report, and crawled through that too.
Then I returned to this forum to see what a presumably well informed and knowledgeable crowd had to offer.

Nothing seemed to lead to any absolute conclusions;
Some PED's could potentially/probably interfere with some Flight Systems, in some circumstances.
Some PED's probably don't interfere in most circumstances.
Some PED's couldn't interfere in any circumstances.

Now, consider the Cabin Crew, who have to try and enforce the regulations. They already have to be knowledgeable and proficient in many skills and subjects in order to carry out the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of their jobs. How can they be expected, on top of all this, to be experts in an ever changing multitude of products that may, or may not, be more, or less, safe to use on-board at various times.
How can they tell if the Passengers Tablet is enabled for Cellular Data, or WiFi only, and without inspecting the Set-up Menu, how can they know if it has it's RF functions disabled.
Even that Compact Camera (not a Camera-Phone, just a little 'Happy Snapper') may not be so innocuous, these days such cameras may have WiFi to instantly upload pix to a Laptop or the Web.

So, supposing that there was some comprehensive Black/White List of Approved/Prohibited Products, it would have to be updated almost daily and then memorised by the Crew. That's a lot to ask.

Even then, as the Crew work their way through the cabin making their safety checks, there is bound to be the inevitable Smart Arse who wants to debate the case for their particular PED, or the Petulant PAX whining that the person next to them is allowed to use a PED, so why can't they use theirs too.

Whilst it may seem unfair to have a Blanket Ban on all PED's, until such time as all Aircraft Systems are Provably Hardened against all PED's, or all PED's are Certified Not To Cause Interference and Everything is Allowed. then "No" is the only Practical Answer.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
Hear Hear! Perhaps this could be made into a huge poster and hung over the door of the jetways everywhere. Flight attendants can hand out flyers with this message. Just like the Reagan administration - WE JUST SAY NO TO ALL ELECTRONIC GOODIES! Turn them off or have them confiscated never to be returned.

PS - Yes, I'm being facetious but only a little.
jimquinndallas
Jim Quinn 1
Years ago when portable cell phones were first introduced there were much fewer towers, and operating under the analog system the switching was not entirely without glitches. The cell company I worked for occasionally had problems with phones confusing the system because a number of towers would fight over the connection, thus causing multiple hand-offs and problems with the switch. At least, that's what the techs told me....
jmlisle
jeff lisle 1
I always thought that passenger distraction by their devices during critical phases of flight was one of the original issues. There are concerns passengers would not hear or pay attention to flight attendant safety instructions in an emergency.
HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 1
Just listen to your Flight Attendants and Pilots. And Don't worry about the rest. Sit Down, Buckle up, and shut up!
38tango
38tango 1
It's simple folks. It is the rules. Airlines do not make rules like that but are expected to enforce them or be levied a fine. What passengers are failing to realize, especially lately it seems, is that they do not own our airplanes, we do. You do not have a right to be there, you have the privelage. If someone can't follow simple instructions like turning off a phone then how are they going to act when things get hairy. Simply put, if you argue with my crew you can be excused back inside. We've got much better things to do, like safely flying the plane, than arguing with all of these grown up children who think they know better just because they would rather have their way. If you have such severe separation anxiety disorder with your phone, you can always drive!
jimquinndallas
Jim Quinn 4
Amen! Arrogance and self-importance are rampant attitudes these days, and I'm with you 100% on this topic! Spoiled brats grow up to be... spoiled brat adults.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Agreed... I may not agree with all of them, but I still have to follow them... We see this in our country all the times laws that we do not agree with, but we still have to follow them....
preacher1
preacher1 0
Go get 'em boss!!!!!!
AccessAir
AccessAir -1
Please find me that FAA Regulation(s) and post them here that says explicitly that small electronic devices can disrupt flight deck systems....I am not talking about Radio receivers...Im talking digital cell phones or cameras and Ipads or voice recorders or video cameras..
Honestly, I think that it is more an Airline Policy rather than a Regulation. So since its a policy of the airline's making and part of the agreement implied when you buy the ticket in the contract of carriage, we are hopelessly bound by that.....
deberg
Sec. 91.21 — Portable electronic devices.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any of the following U.S.-registered civil aircraft:

(1) Aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate; or

(2) Any other aircraft while it is operated under IFR.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to—

(1) Portable voice recorders;

(2) Hearing aids;

(3) Heart pacemakers;

(4) Electric shavers; or

(5) Any other portable electronic device that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.

(c) In the case of an aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate, the determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be used. In the case of other aircraft, the determination may be made by the pilot in command or other operator of the aircraft.
preacher1
preacher1 1
As in another post from last year when a discussion on this very topic got hot and heavy, somebody came up with a regulation , quoted chapter and verse, BUT, flying on memory, it had nothing to do with interference. It was about said items needing to be stowed so as not to be loose projectiles on takeoff or landing. Seem like there may have been mention about not hearing or paying attention to the flight crew but not sure....????
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Bottom Line... Rules are Rules. In my house I DO NOT ALLOW SMOKING... If you do not abide by the rule then leave. Like wise, where I am not going to pull it up on the website (but it is on faa.gov, feel free to dig in). The Airlines says to TURN IT OFF... you do have a choice. Turn it off and Fly or get up and leave the plane. There are other modes of transportation. Air is only one of them. Boats and Buses do limit your use of small portable electronics will departing or arriving.
Yazoo
Yazoo 0
I'm always said....When it comes to the FAA rules ....Well that's not how we did in on the DC3!!
pilot62
Uh - insert depends on it , yea proof read ok
lmberry423
AMEN to that.
Xedom
Xedom 0
what i don't understand is you can make a phone call from one of the phones in the headrest in which you get charged and almost all of the flights I've been on recently they have WIFI for a price which is fine they have to find some way to get more money out of us,for those services,But how come you don't hear about any of that interfering with the planes radios ? heck you can get XM radio sent wireless headsets to passengers in small aircraft but that doesn't dirupt anything .just a thought.
chalet
chalet 0
This thing of small electronic devices distruption radio and vav equipment is nothing but the invetion on the part of some bureaucrat who wanted to grab attention. These things do NOTHING to cause any problems, it is time that the FAA cleans up its act on this.
tradi
I use an iPad as an EFB and an iPhone to receive text RW info in a light A/C. The iPhone does occasionally produce a brief static noise on the VHF COM, probably when it switches ground stations. Also I once heard as an airline passenger the captain on the PA saying he could detect passengers using their cell phones and requesting that they be switched off. I can hardly call this interference a disruption coming from a single phone, but I would if it came from many.
Hoppy3634
For those who travel on trains within the UK and other parts of Europe, PAX appreciate the need for a 'Quiet'carriage as at times listening to several conversations at one time and each conversation starting to becoming louder and louder as signals fade. Do we wish to have this on aircraft? Do we want other PAX to be angry? the FAA, CAA and all other aviation authorities need to act NOW and assist the airlines with clarity. After all, it's the actual Cabin Crew who are the one's at the front-end having to sort out the inconsistancies caused by those who make or not make the regulations.
Lunarstorm777
(v)e Same -1
God I love people that "Lay down the law" in forums. So stern and commanding and reminding us of the rules and how we all must follow them... I'd love even more to ask a few guys their opinion of that notion, in regards to taxes a few hundred years ago.... Oh well, guess the world has changed.. Guess were not willing to all stand up anymore and demand the powers that be stop screwing with us... I personally think if a rule is stupid, its your DUTY to disobey it every chance you get (In effect or otherwise). And since the airlines have the FAA in their pocket, I kinda see them as one in the same these days. Just my 2 cents.
preacher1
preacher1 3
BACK IN THE DAY, people were raised to have respect for rules/regulations and the bodies that formulated them. It is a MAJORITY RULE in this country and just because you do not like something does not give you the right to disobey or infringe upon it. Your failure to follow that particular rule may infringe on my right to hear the FA or anything else for that matter. The rule is in effect for a reason and instead of just arbitrarily disobeying one because you don't like it, you should direct your energy at the rule making body and try to have it changed, rather than spreading your immaturity and self centeredness across the rest of us.
JetMech24
JetMech24 2
Turning off your device for 10-15 minutes hardly even comes close to unlawful taxes, leave apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
" I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Do you really want to do that so you can be annoyed by a transcontinental cell caller in the next seat? Be careful what you ask for.

My $.03 - adjusted for inflation.
Lunarstorm777
(v)e Same 0
Or, just a thought, we could grow up and stop applying stupid rules?

"Any fool can make a rule, and ever fool will follow it". Thank you Mr. Thoreau.

Seriously, you can't hear the flight attendant giving out instructions over someone's fingers pressing down the keys of a text message or playing words with friends on an Ipad? This has nothing to do with being able to hear or projectiles or EM radiation, or anything else logical. Books fly in a cabin just as easily as a cell phone, and babies are MUCH louder than any mp3 player will ever be, but you deal with those now don't you? Also, back in the day those bodies that formed the rules used to be somewhat reputable and at least outwardly intelligent entities, now they are a joke most of the time. So by all means, everyone keep hiding from the boogie monsters that lurk in the pseudo logic the FAA has given as reasons to ban everything electronic. Me personally, I really don't care if everyone else is scared of the giant EM cloud my 2 aa's are putting out or not. If they are, they'd better never fly through a thunderstorm. And furthermore, if you think my actions are self centered and immature, then by all means, you don't have to fly either. You can drive just as easily as I can. So, when they eventually do repeal this stupid rule, will you still blindly follow everything else the FAA tells you just because it is the new current rule? I personally don't talk on a phone when I'm on a plane, but its still officially my choice when at cruise. So yeah, I think I learned enough maturity to make a concious ADULT decision on when something is appropriate and when its not... Thats what responsible adults do, not just blindly follow and trust someone else to keep us safe from all harm.

Oh, and as for the trans con caller... I dunno man, I think if he could stay glued to his laptop the whole time, he would probably be quieter honestly.
JetMech24
JetMech24 1
"Seriously, you can't hear the flight attendant giving out instructions over someone's fingers pressing down the keys of a text message or playing words with friends on an Ipad?"

Why are they doing these things when they should be paying attention to safety instructions? If you have an issue with turning your device off for 10-15 minutes, you really need to examine your life.
Lunarstorm777
(v)e Same 0
Oh and furthermore, if AA pilots can get rid of their flight manuals and have them on an IPAD!!!!! in flight!!!!! IN THE COCKPIT!!!!, then...... really?
preacher1
preacher1 2
Even on takeoff/landing the rule specifies how they are to be secured, which is what these rules are about, not interference
philliphammond
Don't all these so called disruptive signals come from and go to satellites? Are aircraft flying over the satellites? Don't think so! All air traffic is subject to these same signals in all phases of the flight. The FAA is just another government waste of money like the EPA or TSA!
bajajoes
Baja Joes -1
I find it incredulous that an airplane is protected from a LIGHTNING STRIKE yet they are concerned about an IPAD, Kindle, or PHONE!
It does not pass the laugh test for me! I CALL BS!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
Electricity and radio waves are not the same. Electrical strikes are given a path away from the navigation gear thru the use of a conductor. That said, I doubt cells, etc interfere with navigation. The argument is with the rules, not the flight crew. Disruption of a flight over a cell phone should and does land dumbasses in the pokey. When the other pax knock the hell out of the offender is just a little icing so to speak.
quizzard
Did you know that Turkish Airlines offer free in-flight wi-fi to their passengers? They simply cannot keep your bags with you during connecting flights (5 trips and 4 times bags lost) but they're certainly spearheading the communication revolution.
anselmp
They don't fall under the FAA like most other carriers that allow inflight wi-fi, etc.
JetMech24
JetMech24 1
Several US carriers have in flight WiFi. Just not FREE WiFi.

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