You will soon be able to use gadgets on planes


#1

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#2

My understanding is that the ban is based on the fear that a phone or other device could be used as a detonator for an explosive device, not on any interference concerns. Easier to watch for someone surreptitiously detonating a device when everyone is supposed to have them stowed. Not sure how airplane mode figures in on that, but that's the theory I heard.


#3

Erm, so you'll be allowed to play Angry Birds and play loud music (distract and disturb others) while the dull safety announcements are being made?... What a great idea!
Oh, and are you absolutely sure your phone is transmitting RF in-band as the C of C states, and not stomping on any ACARS or other important data? It'd be a hard lesson to learn (and even more difficult to diagnose from a mound of burning wreckage after the event).


#4

That might be a newly invented excuse to keep this silly rule around.

Either way it's complete silliness. Why would you blow up a plane as it's taking off or landing? Just wait till it's up in the air.


#5

Just so long as I never have to hear: "yeah... yeah... we're taking off now... uh huh.. yeah, the plane is rolling down the runway... what? WHAT?! I CAN'T HEAR YOU THE ENGINES ARE REALLY LOUD... I love you too... no you... yeah, the wheels just went up..."


#6

I’m sure it’ll be just like it is today, where flight attendants snatch newspapers out of people’s hands and slam books closed like angry teachers to ensure everyone pays proper attention to the safety lecture.


#7

Although the Airlines would like you to think that it's all about them... the name of the organization is actually the Federal Aviation Administration.


#8

Also, it's an unenforceable rule - what are they going to do, check each person's device to make sure it's in airplane mode? And of course, once checked it's impossible for anyone to turn it back to regular mode. Stupid. Planes are not crashing today, when everyone leaves their wireless on and tucks the device away after the doors close, they are not going to crash if they have them out and use them.


#9

Yep. Probably.

I worked with some damn fine cellular engineers who told me the rule was total BS and there was no way the signals could interfere with cockpit equipment. I assume it has to do with these devices operating on different frequencies.


#10

Quixotic: I do not think it means what you think it means.


#11

I've never seen that.


#12

Afraid of phones messing with avionics or instrumentation? Then you must like the Kool-Aid they've been selling. Heck, some airlines already let you make calls in the air. As for the bomb on the plane theory, that's silly. All the suicidal would be bomber needs to do is ignore the restriction. Sure, he would get in trouble with the flight attendants, but the explosion would put an end to that.
No, I'm afraid the entire ban on phones is due to something much more tacky than that.It's about profit. The airlines sold in-flight phone service to passengers. The ban was intended to protect that revenue stream. It's really nothing interesting. Just plain old fashioned greed coupled with liberal fear, uncertainty, and doubt.


#13

Perhaps in your wild imagination.


#14

That's more akin to the real answer, than any supposed security issue. The problem is this -the amount of frequency spectrum available to the FAA decreases with each sale of spectrum to private entities and corporations. With the multitude of equipment required to ensure aviation safety, especially around air terminals and runways - such as, but not limited to communications between the tower and taxiing aircraft, tower-to-ground-traffic, instrumentation for take-offs and landings, directional and navigational equipment, radio traffic to inbound and outbound aircraft, and more - you're talking a lot of signal limited to narrow bands of communications in a high signal density area, with possible effects from varying conditions from the environment, the buildings, etc. possibly playing a role in hosing up signal.

So what does this mean? Well, it's nice to believe that every piece of equipment a passenger may carry on them will be broadcasting only on the FCC-verified frequency that was assigned to them. But there's so much equipment out there - not only those with verified operational frequencies, but also devices that don't, by design or by malfunction. (Chinese manufacturers with fake FCC labels, I'm looking at you....) If a piece of electronic equipment strays onto the operating frequencies that the FAA operates equipment at, you may have a minor inconvenience. Or, you can have a major incident.

For example - a particular police department decided that they wanted wireless cameras installed on their facility, which is quite close to the southern end of the runways at a major international airport. They hired a contractor, who promptly installed cameras as requested. However, being this was a bid contract, the contractor had selected cheap cameras, which were also broadcasting outside of the supposed bandwidth they were advertised at. The second the system went on, the operation of several instrumentation clusters at the airport were disrupted, especially some directional landing equipment. Fortunately, conditions were OK that day for visual landings, but had they not been....

And that's where the rub lies. Inconveniencing the passengers of a plane is not the intended goal of the Federal Aviation Administration. But the primary concern of the FAA is to ensure the safety of operations in the airspace over the US. The FAA puts this at a zero-tolerance-for-error level of operation. Short of verifying all equipment for themselves (and more specifically, who will monitor all passenger-brought equipment for problems, and who's going to pay for enforcement), the FAA has laid down a carpet rule regarding the operation of signal-transmitting equipment while in signal-dense areas. Call it paranoia, but if it stops an accident on a taxiway, or any other issue that would cause harm to the airgoing public, that's the way the FAA will bias towards.


#15

And as stated earlier by @edgore, this is a load of horseshit, because airlines have no way of forcing passengers to correctly turn off all their devices or put them in airplane mode, and never have.

Which means, shock, planes have been flying for decades now with all manner of passengers electronic equipment on board and fully active -- with nary an air disaster in sight.


#16

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