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

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
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 ]
post #2 of 46
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?

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post #3 of 46
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.
post #4 of 46
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.

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post #5 of 46
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."

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post #6 of 46
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.

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post #7 of 46
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.
post #8 of 46
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.

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post #9 of 46
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.
post #10 of 46
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.
post #11 of 46
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 members request to turn OFF electronic devices as they probably know more about the capabilities and electronic hardening of their particular aircraft than you do.
post #12 of 46
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.

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post #13 of 46
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 drivers 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.
post #14 of 46
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.
post #15 of 46
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.
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post #16 of 46
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.
post #17 of 46
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 members 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.
post #18 of 46
(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.
post #19 of 46
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.

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post #20 of 46
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.
post #21 of 46
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 drivers 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.
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

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.

I didn't mean in lieu of the flight attendant's demonstration of the cabin' video presentation, I simply meant as a required, redundant measure. Even if you have a WiFi capable device that doesn't mean you'll use it.

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post #23 of 46
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.

Flash grenades spring to mind ... oh .. perhaps not ...
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post #24 of 46
I am waiting for airlines to have iPads available for anyone on the plane with in flight entertainment provided via an internal LAN. Think of the sales of iPads if that took off, no pun intended ...
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post #25 of 46
Let's hope iPad are required to be stowed during takeoffs and landings. I've got one of the new iPads, and it's heavy and has a sharp edge. I wouldn't want one of them flying around a cabin if something went wrong during those critical phases of a flight.

Climbing to cruising altitude and the approach to the airport are fine. But not in those first or last couple of minutes.
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

Let's hope iPad are required to be stowed during takeoffs and landings. I've got one of the new iPads, and it's heavy and has a sharp edge. I wouldn't want one of them flying around a cabin if something went wrong during those critical phases of a flight.

Climbing to cruising altitude and the approach to the airport are fine. But not in those first or last couple of minutes.

There's a business opportunity for you, start selling iPad covers with built in mini airbags that deploy on impact.
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post #27 of 46
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. 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.

That sorta makes sense until you realize that they do not make people put away their books or magazines for the instructions
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft," said Laura J. Brown,

Why do we as Americans insist on being the only English speaking nation to use the term "cellphones" for 'mobile' phones? Cell technology has not been used in mobile phones since the 80's.

The iPhone is a mobile-phone, NOT a cell-phone!
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

That sorta makes sense until you realize that they do not make people put away their books or magazines for the instructions

Most book readers are thoughtful people who usually follow instructions and pay attention unlike many mobile device users who often disregard rules of when not to use their phones and tend to exhibit obsessive behavior toward their devices such as using hand held phones, texting while driving, etc., even though they clearly know it is against the law.

Although, a couple weeks ago I did see a lady actually reading a book while driving. She was mostly reading it at the stop lights but would accelerate on the green light while still finishing up a paragraph. I watched her do it several times. Pretty crazy. I guess that blows my theory....

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post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Most book readers are thoughtful people who usually follow instructions and pay attention unlike many mobile device users who often disregard rules of when not to use their phones and tend to exhibit obsessive behavior toward their devices such as using hand held phones, texting while driving, etc., even though they clearly know it is against the law.

Although, a couple weeks ago I did see a lady actually reading a book while driving. She was mostly reading it at the stop lights but would accelerate on the green light while still finishing up a paragraph. I watched her do it several times. Pretty crazy. I guess that blows my theory....

Reading or looking for something at a stop light makes the light change faster.
post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Why do we as Americans insist on being the only English speaking nation to use the term "cellphones" for 'mobile' phones? Cell technology has not been used in mobile phones since the 80's.

The iPhone is a mobile-phone, NOT a cell-phone!

Your being pedantic. There are plenty of words we use every day without thinking twice about their etymology or how the original definition no longer applies.

The fallacy is believing other cultures actively altered colloquial terms because it no longer fit the original definition. Language simply doesn't work that way.

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post #32 of 46
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.

That would eliminate the mind control element of regulation. We are thinking too much for our own good as it is.
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Why do we as Americans insist on being the only English speaking nation to use the term "cellphones" for 'mobile' phones? Cell technology has not been used in mobile phones since the 80's.

The iPhone is a mobile-phone, NOT a cell-phone!

It is called a cell phone based on the 'cellular technology' which relates to how it works using a three sided directional antenna that is located in hexagonal relationship to the other towers. When you are inside that hexagon you are considered in a cell and each of the towers on the vertices of the cell actively handle your connection. When you travel into the neighboring cell the system hands you off to the towers managing that cell. The operative word in the definition of how it works is 'cell'.

Now if only there were actually enough cell towers to properly form the hexagon we would all have a lot better signal.

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post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

INow if only there were actually enough cell towers to properly form the hexagon we would all have a lot better signal.

...to go along with our toasted brains.
post #35 of 46
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 members request to turn OFF electronic devices as they probably know more about the capabilities and electronic hardening of their particular aircraft than you do.


With all do respect, 99% of all avionic wire bundles are not shielded. All of the communication/navigation wire bundles consist of twisted pairs for both power (electricity) and data (to include voice). And no, not all aircraft are shielded from external transmissions.

The reason the antenna is on the outside of the aircraft is basic RF theory. Why would you mount an antenna inside the METAL fuselage (not hull) and induce loss?

And the FAA rule is unbelievable stupid! Google "cell phone tower map" and lookup any airport. Every aircraft in or near that airport is being bathed in hundreds of watts of RF energy. If cell phones were so dangerous, I imagine 100W transmitters external to the fuselage would be much more dangerous than 0.6W transmitters internal to the aircraft (excluding the fact that you're on a completely different RF band/freq).
post #36 of 46
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 totally agree. Too many morons already are blabbing on their phones during taxing to and from the runway.

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post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveJacobson View Post

With all do respect, 99% of all avionic wire bundles are not shielded. All of the communication/navigation wire bundles consist of twisted pairs for both power (electricity) and data (to include voice). And no, not all aircraft are shielded from external transmissions.

The reason the antenna is on the outside of the aircraft is basic RF theory. Why would you mount an antenna inside the METAL fuselage (not hull) and induce loss?

And the FAA rule is unbelievable stupid! Google "cell phone tower map" and lookup any airport. Every aircraft in or near that airport is being bathed in hundreds of watts of RF energy. If cell phones were so dangerous, I imagine 100W transmitters external to the fuselage would be much more dangerous than 0.6W transmitters internal to the aircraft (excluding the fact that you're on a completely different RF band/freq).

Finally!... an intelligent post!

Now... I know a Steve Jacobson... I can't help but wonder... does the name J--f S----k (rhymes with "smallsack") mean anything to you? ... make you throw up in your mouth just a little?
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post #38 of 46
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.

Or an app
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post #39 of 46
Pilots are using iPads as their flight manuals. If FAA doesn't approve it, it will become a huge issue.
post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0clouds0 View Post

Pilots are using iPads as their flight manuals. If FAA doesn't approve it, it will become a huge issue.

"Ahhhhh~, everyone, this is your captain speaking Ahhhhh~, we're gonna have to make an emergency landing wherever the heck we are right now, because I'm sorta lost and they won't let me use my flight manual, ahhhh~"

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