FAA Will Reconsider Ban On Using Electronics During Takeoff And Landing

After promising to take a 'fresh look' at the ban on using electronic devices during takeoff and landing, the US Federal Aviation Administration has just announced it will be forming a new committee to study, analyse and reconsider the issue. This means there's a good possibility that we'll be able to use our electronic devices whenever we want on a plane.

Let's face it: our gadgets aren't about to make an aeroplane explode. Here's what the FAA will be doing:

The government-industry group will examine a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. The group will also look at the establishment of technological standards associated with the use of PEDs [portable electronic devices] during any phase of flight. The group will then present its recommendations to the FAA. The group will not consider the airborne use of cell phones for voice communications during flight.

The FAA expects the studies to be completed by March. Accounting for all the red tape in these types of government-organised situations, we can expect a decision sometime after the iPhone Ocho and Galaxy Whole Damn Universe are released. Seriously though, we hope the FAA comes to the conclusion that our Kindles, iPads and laptops aren't a danger in the skies. [FAA via Bloomberg]

Image: Derrick Coetzee/Flickr



    I thought the whole idea of "turn off your devices" was to ensure that the flight crew had your attention during the safety demonstration?

      There was a concern that any electronics were capable of producing electromagnetic radiation of a magnitude that interfered with the plane's instruments, but today electronics are far more advanced and have restrictions on how much EMR can be produced. That being said, there is still a risk and is what the FAA intends to find out

        Umm, what about phones and devices with Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth? They are actually fitted with transmitters.

          Ermmm....they have their own standards which have to be met. Wi-Fi/Bluetooth would pose no problem on an aeroplane.

      Precisely. One of the many reasons for restricting the use of such devices during takeoff and landing is that this is the phase of flight where in the unlikely event that something does go wrong there is a very high chance that it will require you immediate action and attention. By utilising an exclusion of the use of such devices you are effectively creating a "captive audience".

      That seems like an odd reason to me, it isn't only electronic devices that would distract people from the crew. You could just as easily read a magazine or book and be distracted from the crew...

        Yeah doubt that would be the case- you can still use view in house TV viewing and audio while landing...

    I have always found it ridiculous when I am asked to switch off my kindle during takeoff and landing. I am sure that some people have digital watches which draw more power (ok, not really, but a kindle is an extremely low-powered device).

    That said, I fully understand that flight crew have no power of discretion to make a call on which devices are OK to use or not until the blanket "no electronic devices" ban is officially revoked. Hopefully this study will go through quickly and sanity will prevail.

    One of my neighbours is a commercial pilot for ReX and he says he can always tell when someone has forgotten to turn their phone off (or deliberately left it on) because he gets that interference in his headphones that I'm sure we've all heard through our stereo speakers (especially in the car). Imagine if that was multiplied by 100 or 300 or 400 if everyone was allowed to keep their phones on - pilots would be completely unable to communicate with air-traffic controllers. It's fine to ask sheeple to put them into flight mode to stop them transmitting but unless they spend half an hour inspecting every device to make sure it's been done, it is always going to be easier just to make everyone switch them off for the critical parts of the flight (take-off and landing). And if you truly believe it is an unreasonable impost, there is something wrong with you.

      No. It doesn't work like this. It more sounds like you don't like people who look at the phones at lot and because this doesn't effect you, you are happy to support.

      Just stick to the science.

        No, he is 100% correct. I work in the industry and can confirm this.

      I know several people involved in avaitation and they tell my different. One of them is a former pilot who now lives in Adelaide and runs a private aircraft maintenance company servicing light aircraft. The other used to work for Qantas as an engineer. They both said it is mainly due to old planes (talking about planes not in service anymore) that had issues with interference from electronic devices as well as ensuring the cabin crew has the full attention of the passengers. It's the same reason the windows shades need to be up, so a passenger can see if there is 1. Something wrong outside and report it before/after something happens (can be handy in accident investigation) and 2. So they can make sure it's clear outside before leaving in an emergency etc.

    Last flight I was on, there was a woman across the isle sending emails on her ipad during takeoff....

      Oh noes...did the plane crash?

      I'm guessing not...

    It's not the 1960's.. nor 1970's, 80's, 90's or even the first decade of the new milenium, anymore peoples and that's why they are reviewing the old rules. It's that simple. The rules need to be looked at again in a modern light..

    I'm a pilot and basically its for the 0.1% when shit goes down and there is interference. Realistically electronics are far better insulated today than ever. But when you are taking off / landing in poor vis, you want ever .0001% of accuracy you can afford!

    I've used my MP3 player on landing/takeoff nationally and internationally for the last 10 years on flights (around 50 or so).

    Still alive.

      I'm not saying anything is gonna happen, but people should probably respect the rules. I mean it's really part of the conditions of the ticket that you follow the rules.

      Hopefully they lift the ban, I find it really annoying. Not so much for take off but for the 30mins before landing "were making our decent" blah blah blah.

    It has nothing to do with interference or passenger attention.
    There was a single incident about 15-20 years ago where a passenger plane had some form of electronics failure and the cause could not be determined. There was a knee jerk reaction from the FAA to ban the use of electronic devices on planes 'just in case'.

    Now, think about it. . . there are thousands upon thousands of flights EVERY DAY around the world. Not one of them has ever had any sort of electrical malfunction and interference as a result of someone using their mobile phone or Game Boy. It is a myth.

    "Oh, nope, cant use electrical devices during take off and landing because all aircraft power is directed to the engines. Once passed 10,000 feet some power can be redirected to the electromagnetic shield amplification systems."
    C'mon. . . its not f*cking Star Trek!

    Ten years of working in the Air Traffic Control industry, including working as an ATC and operating the ATC training simulators.
    Father, 40 years as an ATC.
    Family, have our own plane.

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