FAA to study airplane electronic usage, thankfully won't consider voice calls

FAA to study airplane electronic usage, thankfully won't consider voice calls

Summary: The FAA has heard the vocal opinions of mobile devices users and will setup a study to evaluate the use of mobile devices at different stages of your flight. Voice calls are not being considered and should NEVER be allowed.

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It looks like the FAA is reconsidering the ban on mobile devices being on during flights and is assembling a government-industry group to study the issue. Thankfully, the study will NOT consider voice calls on flights. I don't need to hear the life story of the idiot who doesn't understand the public doesn't want to hear their conversation and get enough of this inconsiderate behavior during my daily commute.

As you know you are currently told to turn off all portable electronic devices before takeoff. I completely understand phones, tablets, and computers, but this ban doesn't make much sense for an eInk reader that doesn't use any power unless you are turning pages and doesn't emit any signal if WiFi is off. I try to always comply because there is no reason to risk your safety or those of others to keep a stupid device turned on. With the proliferation of mobile devices it is good to see the FAA is at least taking a good look at what, if anything, can be safely used on plans and when they can be used during the flight.

The study group will be formed this fall and work over the next six months. The FAA stated they may not make a widespread policy, but leave it up to airline carriers and operators. This seems like it would cause more confusion as people fly different carriers, sometimes even during the same trip.

Topics: Mobility, Government US

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9 comments
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  • Electronics during takeoff are harmless

    "As you know you are currently told to turn off all portable electronic devices before takeoff. I completely understand phones, tablets, and computers,"

    Why? What's understandable about that? The ridiculous notion that electronic devices can magically produce "interference" that will cause a plane to crash if they're on during takeoff or landing has been debunked multiple times since the 1980s, and there is exactly ZERO scientific truth behind it.

    And in case science isn't convincing enough, how about politics? Anyone who's used a laptop knows that it's possible to close the thing while it's still running. If the fan isn't particularly noisy, no one would know it's on at all. Bearing in mind how easy it is to have a laptop running without anyone noticing, if it was truly possible for a laptop that's running to produce magical interference that would cause a plane to crash, why hasn't some terrorist done it yet? That would be far easier than trying to smuggle explosives aboard, afterall, and yet for some strange reason, it's never happened.
    masonwheeler
    • More about paying attention to flight attendant than technology

      I should have clarified my statement and said I understand because the airlines want travelers to pay attention to flight attendants and safety briefings before taking off and landing. I agree with a policy that attempts to keep people focused on safety rather than ignoring flight attendants and playing games.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • It is not really about paying attention to them..

        If it was then, my paperback, magazine, newspaper, etc. would have to be stowed as well. Not to mention me not napping through the announcements. I do see your point as far as people in exit rows that have specific roles in the event of a issue and they are made to acknowledge their responsibilities.

        I truly believe that this is a bit of technophopia on the part of the airlines. Now there are issues such as testing devices that should be incorporated into each vendors devices, but they should be doing that already.
        xds9mm
    • How about the fight attendant...

      who sits at the front to the plane facing aft, not wanting an iPod 3 embedded their forehead, because the plane blew an engine on takeoff, had to make an emergency stop and the passenger couldn't hold on to it!
      pmcgrath@...
      • Ipod in the forehead?

        In that senario, the ipod flying through the air is the least of your problems.
        Putertechn
  • Its about money.

    as the table given here shows,
    http://www.airportwifiguide.com/airlines-in-flight-wifi-access-fees-table/
    reconsidering this at this point in time is about maximizing the inflight revenue streams.
    Laurence Cuffe
    • Yep.. can't play your Walkman through mp3 player

      It might cut into their $10 disposable headset they sell you. unless of course you pay extra for business class or first class, then you will have enough room to set your laptop up to work during flight.
      I wonder how many private\Gov't flights have taken off without eveyone having to turn off everything and they laptops continued being used through the entire flight? Hmm, and how many of those were brought down by the "commercial electronics"?
      Putertechn
  • the moron factor

    "if WiFi is off"- that alone is reason for a blanket proscription. No matter how many times the stews and stewettes tell folks to do something, there ALWAYS the few who 'didn't hear it' or just don't care.
    wizardjr
  • Better safe than sorry.

    They should be turned off just in case of a crash. The less sparks and hot wiring the better.
    As far as causing a crash? I don't think so because the important electronics are shielded. Those planes get hit by lightning and keep on trucking.

    Common sense indicates that everything should be tested anyway.
    What gets me is how long have planes been flying? And how long have there been laptops, notebooks and so on? Why haven't they done these tests years ago.
    Rick Sos