FAA's 'fresh look' at devices may allow iPad use during takeoff & landing

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has indicated it is taking a "fresh look" at the use of portable electronics on airplanes, which could potentially lead do devices like Apple's iPad being allowed for use during takeoff and landing.



The FAA plans to explore allowing the use of tablets e-readers and other devices on planes according to The New York Times. The FAA is not, however, interested in allowing fliers to be able to use smartphones in flight.



"With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft," said Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the FAA.



While the administration is looking into the possibility of relaxing rules for the use of Apple's iPad, any changes are unlikely to come soon. That's because FAA rules require that each model of a device be tested on a separate flight with no passengers on the plane for each carrier.



That would leave testing to be done with the first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and the new iPad, as well as every version of the Amazon Kindle. And each device would have to be tested on every different model of plane in a carrier's fleet.



While passengers cannot currently use their iPad during takeoff and landing, Apple's touchscreen tablet has been approved for use as an electronic flight bag by pilots. Use of the iPad can allow pilots to replace their cumbersome 40-pound paper manuals with Apple's thin and light tablet.











Now, major companies like American Airlines have begun to use the iPad in the cockpit, thanks to the FAA's exception to its rules on "class 1" electronic devices being used during takeoff and landing.



When the first iPad was released in 2010, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration decided that fliers who bring an iPad through security would be able to leave the device in their bag without removing it and placing it in a separate bin. Larger laptops with more components must be removed so they can be adequately analyzed when passing through an airport security checkpoint.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,402member
    Hasn't it been shown that none of these devices conflict with anything, anyway? And if it's so crucial that nothing is interfered with, why doesn't the wiring have proper shielding?
  • dallejensendallejensen Posts: 1member
    I thought the main reason for disallowing gadgets at take off and landing is to have passengers (full) attention at these relative critical phases of a flight. The interference question seems mostly to be mythical.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,402member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DalleJensen View Post


    I thought the main reason for disallowing gadgets at take off and landing is to have passengers (full) attention at these relative critical phases of a flight. The interference question seems mostly to be mythical.



    Oh, that makes sense. But it could be solved by louder attention sounds and more prominent lights to grab attention for real emergencies.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DalleJensen View Post


    I thought the main reason for disallowing gadgets at take off and landing is to have passengers (full) attention at these relative critical phases of a flight. The interference question seems mostly to be mythical.



    I don't think it was mythical so much as precautionary. Saying, no CE will interfere with the plane is not the same as no CE we're aware of will interfere with the plane. As the saying goes, "err on the side of caution."
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Oh, that makes sense. But it could be solved by louder attention sounds and more prominent lights to grab attention for real emergencies.



    Once there is an emergency there is no time for instructions and demonstrations. They want you to pay attention to the precautions and safety instructions. Also as a courtesy to others who would appreciate that you paid attention to the drill in case their own safety depended on your preparedness for follow instructions. Also they want to eliminate the potential for flying projectiles in an emergency so put away your small metallic devices.



    Some people around here, once evacuated might go back into a burning airplane to rescue their Apple device.
  • sportytoessportytoes Posts: 37member
    I would think that terrorists would have abandoned their shoe bombs long ago if an electronic device could do anything serious. I agree that the practice is entirely erring on the side of caution. However I believe it is more about legal caution than a realistic safety measure.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Once there is an emergency there is no time for instructions and demonstrations. They want you to pay attention to the precautions and safety instructions. Also as a courtesy to others who would appreciate that you paid attention to the drill in case their own safety depended on your preparedness for follow instructions.



    What if the plane's WiFi had a splash screen that required you to watch an H.264 embedded video of the safety proceeders before it would let you get access to the internet. Now this wouldn't affect those those that don't connect to the plane's WiFi but the interest is growing so I imagine more and more people will be accessing in-flight internet. The on-board system can simply wipe your MAC address from its system once every 24 hours so you don't get it again for that flight.
  • beakernx01beakernx01 Posts: 56member
    An NPR segment on Talk of the Nation a few months ago debunked the interference question. In fact, the guest stated that the energy surge of all those devices being turned on, instead of just waking from sleep mode, would generate a larger electronic surge, although still unlikely to be enough to cause interference. I would agree with the idea that having devices off would be less distracting in an emergency, but they don't make people stop reading magazines or books, or writing on a pad of paper. Also, the duration of time the devices are restricted can be lengthy, up to 30 minutes prior to landing/take off. That seems excessive if it is just for "take off" and "landing" which take all of minutes to execute.
  • gto65lgto65l Posts: 42member
    Takeoff and Landing are the most critical phases of flight and the most likely to result in a crash should there be any critical malfunction in the aircraft systems. It has nothing to do with passenger safety. As said earlier, they are just erring on the side of caution.



    For example, it took the FAA years to accept GPS as a primary source of navigation because they didn't understand how it worked. They would rather you calculate your own location by charts, math, and visual inspection of the outside world, than trust a device that can pinpoint your exact location within 3 feet.



    I would be glad to see the FAA actually catch up with the times and remove this ridiculous rule.
  • gunner1954gunner1954 Posts: 92member
    Interference is real, especially on older aircraft whose flight electronics have not been shielded for internal transmission devices. All aircraft are shielded from external transmissions, which is why the receive (and transmit) antennae are on the outside of the hull, not inside. As older aircraft are retired and properly shielded newer aircraft come into service, I think we will see the ?electronics? (transmit) ban completely lifted.



    Until then, please comply with any crew member?s request to turn OFF electronic devices as they probably know more about the capabilities and electronic hardening of their particular aircraft than you do.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    What if the plane's WiFi had a splash screen that required you to watch an H.264 embedded video of the safety proceeders before it would let you get access to the internet. Now this wouldn't affect those those that don't connect to the plane's WiFi but the interest is growing so I imagine more and more people will be accessing in-flight internet. The on-board system can simply wipe your MAC address from its system once every 24 hours so you don't get it again for that flight.





    Not a bad idea. I have been on many flights where the safety instructions were done on the video display instead of the flight attendant performance. Mostly on overseas flights and presented in more than one language. I think that is a better method because they only have to present the information once for everyone.



    I also think it is better to have everyone sitting quietly with their devices stowed and paying attention during take off and landing, but I am easily annoyed when people don't follow recommendations and instructions - like bathing at least a week before your flight. I have had the unfortunate circumstance of sitting next to someone who was oblivious to his rather foul odor, even in first class. Do I have some stories... oh well, we'll leave that to another thread.
  • gunner1954gunner1954 Posts: 92member
    ?For example, it took the FAA years to accept GPS as a primary source of navigation because they didn't understand how it worked. They would rather you calculate your own location by charts, math, and visual inspection of the outside world, than trust a device that can pinpoint your exact location within 3 feet.?



    Keep in mind that any radio signal, including GPS or other navigational aid, can be jammed or tricked into giving false readings. North Korea was very good at this in trying to fool US surveillance craft into violating their airspace; which is why the military went to GPS in the first place as a SECOND SOURCE navigation aid. Now, as US drone driver?s can tell you, GPS signals can also be jammed or interfered with. Iran now has a slightly used drone to prove it. GPS and other radio aids to navigation are only parts to the whole. If my life depended on it, I would not trust any single source, rather, I would take a look at the entire situation.
  • ktappektappe Posts: 657member
    Quote:

    FAA rules require that each model of a device be tested on a separate flight with no passengers on the plane for each carrier.



    OMG. As if a United 757 would react to EMI differently than a Delta 757.
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gunner1954 View Post


    Interference is real, especially on older aircraft whose flight electronics have not been shielded for internal transmission devices. All aircraft are shielded from external transmissions, which is why the receive (and transmit) antennae are on the outside of the hull, not inside. As older aircraft are retired and properly shielded newer aircraft come into service, I think we will see the ‘electronics‘ (transmit) ban completely lifted.



    Until then, please comply with any crew member’s request to turn OFF electronic devices as they probably know more about the capabilities and electronic hardening of their particular aircraft than you do.



    I would find that more persuasive if every flight on every commercial airline didn't tell you to turn off electronic devices.. I've never been on a plane where they announced that the electronic shielding was current and robust so we were free to keep our devices on, the indiscriminateness of which is kind of the point.
  • noexpectationsnoexpectations Posts: 481member
    If these devices had any significant threat towards air safety, wouldn't and shouldn't they all get confiscated as you board the airplane?...and then returned to you at 10,000 feet?



    Bogus.
  • venerablevenerable Posts: 108member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gunner1954 View Post


    Interference is real, especially on older aircraft whose flight electronics have not been shielded for internal transmission devices. All aircraft are shielded from external transmissions, which is why the receive (and transmit) antennae are on the outside of the hull, not inside. As older aircraft are retired and properly shielded newer aircraft come into service, I think we will see the ?electronics? (transmit) ban completely lifted.



    Until then, please comply with any crew member?s request to turn OFF electronic devices as they probably know more about the capabilities and electronic hardening of their particular aircraft than you do.



    Once again, given the near-cavity-search level of screening through security checkpoints to make sure we don't have 3.1 ounces of hair gel or nail clippers, is there ANY possibility that a terrorist could bring a plane down with "Words With Friends?" And if there was, then what the hell are they doing letting any devices on the plane??? I call shenanigans.
  • 2stepbay2stepbay Posts: 86member
    (I posted this earlier today on another forum thread)



    Aside from make believe potential catastrophic events (I’ve spoken with 2 pilots about this…they concur the FAA’s mandate is nonsense), turn on your iPad or iPhone while at the Gate or on tarmac (requires Verizon or ATT cellular connection),



    Open Google maps.



    Make the perspective quite wide. Soon a locator indicator will appear.



    After takeoff, once above the cellular network range, shut off the cellular connection. Here, the location indicator remains active. Now you can track the airplanes progress to your destination (yes you can zoom in/out).



    I tracked the plane’s progress over the Southwest (really helpful for identifying the landscape below) and into O’Hare. Warning: do not shut off the iPad or iPhone. If you do, you’ll lose your signal connection for the rest of the flight.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    If these devices had any significant threat towards air safety, wouldn't and shouldn't they all get confiscated as you board the airplane?...and then returned to you at 10,000 feet?



    Bogus.



    That's like saying that if self-service fuel pumps had any significant threat they wouldn't let you pump your own gas. Is there a threat? Sure, they even post waning labels and safety equipment in place to prevent an issue... but there is still a threat no matter how minor. It's not the size of the threat that warrants the safety mandate, it's the theoretical existence of it. If it was a major threat the precautions would be higher... the same goes for the CE on planes.
  • ktappektappe Posts: 657member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    What if the plane's WiFi had a splash screen that required you to watch an H.264 embedded video of the safety proceeders before it would let you get access to the internet.



    Nice idea (seriously). But only if everyone had wireless devices. Until then either the FA's or a general broadcast video will still have to do the safety speech, and those with wireless devices will get stuck sitting thru it twice.
  • gto65lgto65l Posts: 42member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gunner1954 View Post


    Keep in mind that any radio signal, including GPS or other navigational aid, can be jammed or tricked into giving false readings. North Korea was very good at this in trying to fool US surveillance craft into violating their airspace; which is why the military went to GPS in the first place as a SECOND SOURCE navigation aid. Now, as US drone driver?s can tell you, GPS signals can also be jammed or interfered with. Iran now has a slightly used drone to prove it. GPS and other radio aids to navigation are only parts to the whole. If my life depended on it, I would not trust any single source, rather, I would take a look at the entire situation.



    Understood. However, I was referring to commercial and general aviation in the US, the FAA wasn't concerned about the signal being "jammed" by a foreign power, they are just slow to adopt any new technology. Obviously, there is no replacement for situational awareness, but denying the use of extremely accurate methods of navigation because of the extremely small possibility of failure is backwards. I would say the most likely component to fail is the pilot, not the equipment.



    I think you gave crew too much credit for knowing what they fly, I deal with professional pilots every day, many of them know very little to nothing about their aircraft and, in my opinion, a far too large of a percentage know so little about their aircraft or how to operate it that they are a danger. The "if it's not on my checklist I don't know what to do" pilots.
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