dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
FAA Gets Closer to Loosening In-Flight Electronics Restrictions
by Karl Bode 10:29AM Tuesday Sep 24 2013 Tipped by whamel See Profile
Every six months for years another media report highlights that the FAA is quite glacially getting ready to lift some of the restrictions imposed on in-flight electronics. This week, the New York Times notes that an FAA advisory panel is meeting this week to finish up recommendations that would allow passengers to use e-readers, watch videos or listen to podcasts during takeoff and landing. Restrictions on using Wi-Fi during take off and landing will remain in place, as will the ban on in-flight voice call yammering by that immensely-annoying guy in 17C.

view:
topics flat nest 

whamel
billhamel .net
Premium
join:2002-05-09
Hinsdale, IL
kudos:10
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·AT&T U-Verse
·Comcast

to be or not to be?

There hasn't been hard proof that these devices are actually dangerous, but there's enough suspicion that they are -or may be- to act cautiously and prohibit their use during landing/ takeoff. The other alternative is just to allow everything and find out the hard way: with crashes and/or failures.
It also seems that a laptop could easily be engineered to maliciously produce surges at the right intensity and wavelength to interfere with plane instruments. We won't know until some wacko tries it. And succeeds?
--
Hinsdale, IL - »www.billhamel.net

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: to be or not to be?

said by whamel:

There hasn't been hard proof that these devices are actually dangerous, but there's enough suspicion that they are -or may be- to act cautiously and prohibit their use during landing/ takeoff. The other alternative is just to allow everything and find out the hard way: with crashes and/or failures.

There is hard proof that, other than purposeful sabotage, these devices don't cause problems. Studies have been done that up to 30% of flyers never turn their devices off. If these devices caused problems, crashes at takeoff and landing would have been frequent enough to prove they cause problems.

»www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/techn···23&_r=2&

A study released this year by two groups, the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association, found that as many as 30 percent of passengers said they had accidentally left a device on during takeoff or landing.


--
The Nobama Clock
»goo.gl/DlUXaJ

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: to be or not to be?

said by FFH:

...other than purposeful sabotage,....

That seems to be a compelling enough reason of it's own, to have people put down the phone/tablet/notebook/etc. for those few vital minutes of flight.
Not that it would totally prevent problems, but some continuing to type away should stand out like a guy trying to light his underwear/shoe on fire.
certainly ALL items stowed, PAY ATTENTION during those portions of the flight is the best policy anyway for other safety reasons.
ptbarnett

join:2002-09-30
Lewisville, TX
said by whamel:

It also seems that a laptop could easily be engineered to maliciously produce surges at the right intensity and wavelength to interfere with plane instruments.

Yes, electronic devices could interfere with airplane avionics, intentionally or accidentally. But, that alone won't cause a plane crash. What it might do is render something inoperative, requiring the pilots to take remedial action. They aren't going to just sit there and watch the autopilot do something stupid, and they won't blindly follow a malfunctioning navigation instrument when it is indicating a fault or doesn't agree with another instrument used for cross-check.

But, therein lies the problem: the interference and remedial action may be the first (or next to last) in a chain of events leading to an incident. It's like you being distracted by your cellphone while driving, and having a car pull out in front of you at the wrong moment.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
There has been proof of interference. In fact the FAA is now mandating replacement of certain displays due to wifi signals causing them to malfunction.

»online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142···030.html

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

How will no-wifi, but video ok be enforced??

And if the FAA OKs video watching, e-book reading, or music listening but says WiFi must be off, how will flight attendants enforce that? Examine every passenger's smartphone or tablet screen and look to make sure the WiFi and cell icons are off? Yeah, that will work really well on planes with a few hundred passengers.

To OK reading, viewing, listening, etc but demand WiFi off is a stupid compromise that won't work. Either allow devices to be used or demand they all be turned off and put away. This half and half approach is stupid.
--
The Nobama Clock
»goo.gl/DlUXaJ
aream06

join:2012-08-02
Cedar Rapids, IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom

Re: How will no-wifi, but video ok be enforced??

since there is really no way to really enforce this other than ask everyone to keep wifi off, or checking every device to see if wifi is off(highly unlikely), till they hit cruising altitude this will probably just mean no wifi internet till they hit cruising altitude

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA
They don't turn the WiFi access point on the plane on until after takeoff anyway, and you're not going to get WiFi from the terminal all the way on the runway.

skuv

@rr.com

Re: How will no-wifi, but video ok be enforced??

said by vpoko:

They don't turn the WiFi access point on the plane on until after takeoff anyway, and you're not going to get WiFi from the terminal all the way on the runway.

And none of that means the person with WiFi turned on for their iPad/3DS/PS Vita/iPod/etc are going to take the extra time to turn off the WiFi just because a signal can't get to them. They leave it on because it's convenient when they get back home or somewhere with WiFi and they don't have to remember to turn it back on.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: How will no-wifi, but video ok be enforced??

If they're not connected to a network, all their radio is doing is passively listening for an SSID; they're not transmitting.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

I'm fine with this

As long as it doesn't mean that people yammer away for 5 hours on an 8 hour flight I'm fine with it. Cell phones and voip should be banned for this reason. They are a nuisance and not just on airplanes.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

Re: I'm fine with this

As long as it doesn't mean that people yammer away for 5 hours on an 8 hour flight I'm fine with it. Cell phones and voip should be banned for this reason.

As much as I don't want to hear people yacking on cell phones, I don't think that's a valid reason for the FAA to prohibit it.

I also don't like screaming children on flights, but they're allowed.

Bose noise canceling headphones, take me away!

-- Rob
Lets Go

join:2005-03-05
Homer, NY
Can you imagine the deafening roar of 125 simultaneity phone conversations in that confined of a space.
--

amonster

join:2013-09-05

... voice calls... sure.

"as will the ban on in-flight voice call yammering by that immensely-annoying guy in 17C"

Has anybody ever seen a CELL PHONE that actually works at cruising altitude? The ban is there to keep the cell RADIO off to reduce potentially harmful RF sources from interfering with aircraft electronics. There is no legitimate reason to UNBAN such a thing, because all doing so would accomplish, is adding useless RF. IT STILL WON'T WORK!!!!

Satphone might work... but how many people actually carry those?

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: ... voice calls... sure.

said by amonster:

Has anybody ever seen a CELL PHONE that actually works at cruising altitude? The ban is there to keep the cell RADIO off to reduce potentially harmful RF sources from interfering with aircraft electronics. There is no legitimate reason to UNBAN such a thing, because all doing so would accomplish, is adding useless RF. IT STILL WON'T WORK!!!!

I think MythBusters blew the hell out of that awhile ago. The only phones that created interference were the old phones from a decade ago. They now operate on different frequencies, like 700MHz for LTE. I doubt broadcast TV interfered with any aircraft equipment before analog was turned off.
--
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
MyWS[PnmIIX3@3.2G,8G RAM,1T+1.5T+2T HDDs,Win7]
MyLaptop[Asus G53SX,32GB RAM,2x1TB HDD,Win7]
WifeWS[C2D@2.4G,4G RAM,250G HDD,Win7]
Router[PE1750,4G RAM,3x36G HDD,2xIntel Pro/1000+GT Quad Port,Gentoo]

skyboy

@dsrglobal.net

Re: ... voice calls... sure.

Yeah lets believe everything Mythbusters does. This is the same group that disproved you can hear another person in freefall. Maybe if Uncle Benny wasn't brain locked and terrified of freefall he would have heard the other jumper.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: ... voice calls... sure.

Hey.. At least someone tried to prove to the airlines that today's technology doesn't interfere with plane's electronics. You don't see anyone else doing this.

It was proven and proven again that recent electronic devices do not interfere. It actually took a sledgehammer (MB) to partially drive it into the FAAs thick-as-hell skulls.
CharlesH1

join:2011-04-29
Milpitas, CA

1 edit
The cell phone ban is from the FCC to address interference with ground-based cell networks, due to many cell sites simultaneously hearing the phone. This is different from the restrictions on electronics being reconsidered here, which comes from the FAA concern about interference with onboard avionics.

justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15
Reviews:
·iiNet
said by amonster:

Has anybody ever seen a CELL PHONE that actually works at cruising altitude?

Yes, I used to get emails on my blackberry when flying over land, if I held it near the window. True. Making a call may not have been possible because you pass over the cell zones too quickly and the signal wasn't strong. But it would get connected (if you were flying over higher populated areas) if not reliably.
But this was in the 90s and there was data, at least.
sgip2000

join:2004-05-05
Hillsboro, OR

Lack of shielding

If a cellphone or laptop interferes with the flight controls, the plane manufacturers need to use better shielding. If the shielding is that poor, there are bigger problems than a cellphone or laptop.
DarienRedSox

join:2013-02-10
Darien, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Is the safe?

If there is a crash which is most likely to happen at take off and landing, how much are people using these devices going to delay the evacuation? I wouldn't want someone sitting in the exit row working on there device to delay the evacuation of the rest of the passengers, even a few seconds can make a big difference. Devices not put away will also turn into flying projectiles during the crash.
scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2

Re: Is the safe?

I am severely jaded that these personal electronics are actually capable of interfering with the flight controls / navigation / radios. To me - the restrictions are about the stupidest things I have ever heard of - if a plane is THAT suscetible to interference - it shouldn't be flying.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
said by DarienRedSox:

Devices not put away will also turn into flying projectiles during the crash.

Ya.. I'm really going to worry about projectiles when I'm in a 600 mile-per-hour uncontrolled vertical dive.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
So a Kindle is not safe, because it might become a projectile, but the dead tree version of the Steve Jobs biography is. See the problem with this line of thinking?

alanhdsl
Premium
join:1999-10-09
Phoenix, AZ

Re: Is the safe?

They don't want to carry around a huge list of "allowed" and "disallowed" devices, or a scale to weigh them. They want simple criteria that won't lead to arguments -- "but I could keep it out on the last flight!"

And of crashes considered "severe" (destruction of the aircraft, fatalities, and/or fire) around 2/3s of the people survive. Some were completely unsurvivable, but others (like the US Airways ditching in the Hudson) had 100% survival. You don't want to get slugged in the head by someone's laptop when you hit the water, though.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Is the safe?

WOW, you TOTALLY missed the point. I'd much rather get hit by a flying iPad or Kindle than some of the books I see people with on planes. A laptop is probably a toss-up.