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Advisory committee urges FAA to loosen regulations on electronic device use

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday received word from a special advisory committee that it should ease restrictions on airline passengers' use of personal electronic devices during takeoff and landing.

Plane


In its recommendation, the advisory committee urges the FAA to allow travelers on commercial airlines to keep their personal electronic devices (PEDs) switched on during takeoff and landing, a decision that runs counter to long-standing rules governing such conduct, reports the Associated Press.

People familiar with the talks said the recommendation covers a variety of devices, including connected PEDs like smartphones, tablets and e-readers. These electronics will still need to be placed into "Airplane Mode," meaning their wireless antennas must be turned off, but owners can enjoy other functions such as watching movies or listening to music while taking of and landing.

Currently, all electronic devices are required to be turned off when planes are flying under 10,000 feet. The measure is meant to prevent interference with on-board instrumentation and communication equipment during critical phases of flight. Critics of the existing regulations say the rules are baseless, pointing out that newer aircraft are adequately equipped to deal with interference that may be caused by a PED.

The 28-member committee came to the decision in a closed-door meeting on Thursday and will issue an official report to the FAA next week, sources said.

While a win for proponents of changing FAA regulations, the agency is not legally bound to follow the advice and could stall implementation for years. This is unlikely, however, as the FAA created the committee and put members of its staff on the panel.

If the recommendation is followed and put on the fast track to deployment, passengers may see restrictions lifted by early 2014. In another scenario, industry officials say airlines may have to apply for FAA approval on a case-by-case basis that could take more than a year to complete.
post #2 of 16
I'm not confident that all of the passengers will manage to get their devices into Airplane Mode. And the cabin crew will not be able to tell.
post #3 of 16

This is a welcome policy review, I don't get to the states often but regularly fly in Asia and Europe and any changes the FAA make will likely be followed by other aviation authorities eventually.

 

I take a lot of 1-2 hour short hops and by the time passengers are allowed to use PEDs it is almost time to turn them off, (often 20-30 mins after take-off and 30 mins before landing).

 

This still leaves the problem that something as big as an iPad needs to be secured for take off and landing so that it doesn't become a lethal missile in the cabin should something go wrong.

So in practice will this be implemented and be a convenience to passengers?

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilm View Post

I'm not confident that all of the passengers will manage to get their devices into Airplane Mode. And the cabin crew will not be able to tell.

 

Like this isn't happening right now??

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilm View Post

I'm not confident that all of the passengers will manage to get their devices into Airplane Mode. And the cabin crew will not be able to tell.

 

Cabin crew get pretty good training and there are only a small number of operating systems so I don't see this as a big deal. If you can't demonstrate it is in airplane mode the device must be turned off.

 

A couple of high profile cases of large fines or removal from aircraft should provide suitable motivation from passengers  who want this benefit from learning!

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by RemE View Post
 

 

Like this isn't happening right now??

 

That's true, the amount of people I see turning their phones on silent and continue to message etc really does make me wonder!

post #7 of 16

What part of “shield the cables” is so difficult for airplane manufacturers to understand? Do our computers miscalculate here on the ground because there are so many of them? What about server farms? Are they inherently screwing each other up and we’re just not noticing because the checks and balances are also screwing themselves up?

 

Maybe 2+2=5 and we’ve just never known because our computers are in such proximity and so overwhelmed with electromagnetic waves on all spectrums that they distort our most fundamental perceptions.


Or maybe this is all Oscar Meyer.

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post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

What part of “shield the cables” is so difficult for airplane manufacturers to understand? Do our computers miscalculate here on the ground because there are so many of them? What about server farms? Are they inherently screwing each other up and we’re just not noticing because the checks and balances are also screwing themselves up?

Maybe 2+2=5 and we’ve just never known because our computers are in such proximity and so overwhelmed with electromagnetic waves on all spectrums that they distort our most fundamental perceptions.


Or maybe this is all Oscar Meyer.

The average commercial airliner has over a hundred miles of wire. Requiring shielding on new planes would add thousands of pounds to the weight of the plane reducing its fuel efficiency. The second issue is retrofitting. This would be prohibitively expensive likely leading to a significant increase in fares.

I fly a lot and many passengers do not turn their phone off. Rather they simple set it to silent. It's sort of funny but some don't even know how to turn their phone off. The good news is we always ended up at our destination.
post #9 of 16

I'll never forget, although I don't remember the exact quote, the scene from "The West Wing" where the stewardess is telling Toby to turn off his phone, and he says (something like) "This plane cost billions of dollars to design, and you're telling me that I can bring it down with something I bought at Radio Shack?"

 

heh

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by APPLGUY View Post

The average commercial airliner has over a hundred miles of wire. Requiring shielding on new planes would add thousands of pounds to the weight of the plane reducing its fuel efficiency. The second issue is retrofitting. This would be prohibitively expensive likely leading to a significant increase in fares.

I fly a lot and many passengers do not turn their phone off. Rather they simple set it to silent. It's sort of funny but some don't even know how to turn their phone off. The good news is we always ended up at our destination.
No.

Two things. First, planes are already designed to withstand any electronic interference of significance - most likely from their own electronics. Second, consumer electronics are tested and certified against emitting interference.

The fact is that the regulation never had any basis. It was only a "just in case", which is no basis for decision making whatsoever.
post #11 of 16

Greaaat, so if the event of the emergency, we have to worry about getting hit in the back of the head by a flying Macbook Pro now too?

 

I had always assumed this was more for the protection of the passengers from potential flying devices in the cabin in the event of an emergency, rather than interference of non-transmitting devices.  I was next to a 'suit' from the airline on one flight, he didn't even turn his phone on airplane mode and was receiving texts on take off.

post #12 of 16
Disappointing. Airplane mode? Seriously? I always leave mine on and with all the radios active. I like to bring up Maps and watch the blue dot fly over the Bay as I'm landing in San Francisco. It's novel.

American laws can sure seem arbitrary. But then, this is a country where people insist on teaching intelligent design in schools so it's not like science means anything to these idiots!

Oh. And my planes have never crashed. It must be god's will. 😜🐂💩
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday received word from a special advisory committee that it should ease restrictions on airline passengers' use of personal electronic devices during takeoff and landing. .

While they're at it, could they stop the stupid announcements telling people how to fasten a seat belt? If they can't figure that out on their own, they're too stupid to be flying, anyway.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilm View Post

I'm not confident that all of the passengers will manage to get their devices into Airplane Mode. And the cabin crew will not be able to tell.

 

And it still won't make any difference.  Few people turn them off now.  Most just put in airplane mode....

 

It DOES NOT cause interference with instruments.  This rule was pushed through by the flight attendance union originally....  

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

No.

Two things. First, planes are already designed to withstand any electronic interference of significance - most likely from their own electronics. Second, consumer electronics are tested and certified against emitting interference.

The fact is that the regulation never had any basis. It was only a "just in case", which is no basis for decision making whatsoever.

That assumes that the reason for requiring them to be turned off had to do with electrical interference.

I think it's more likely that it had to do with safety. The most dangerous parts of a flight are takeoff and landing and if there's an emergency, seconds matter. Someone who is distracted by their current Candy Crush game could interfere with safely getting people off the plane.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by APPLGUY View Post
The average commercial airliner has over a hundred miles of wire. Requiring shielding on new planes would add thousands of pounds to the weight of the plane reducing its fuel efficiency.

 

Thousands? I somehow doubt that.

 

And okay, use fiber optic cable instead of copper wire. That’s lighter on the face of it.

 
This would be prohibitively expensive likely leading to a significant increase in fares.

 

[Joke about how that doesn’t matter anymore; fares are too expensive to care about already]

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