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FAA May Let You Use Electronic Devices During Airplane Takeoff and Landing Soon

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the leave-it-on dept.

Government 166

colinneagle writes "Members of an FAA advisory panel are reportedly meeting this week to make changes to the ban on the use of electronic devices on an airplane during takeoff and landing. The new regulations will allow the use of electronic devices to access content stored on the devices, including e-books, music, podcasts, and video. Sending emails, connecting to Wi-Fi, and making phone calls will still be prohibited. The announcement is expected to be made later this month, and the rules put into effect next year, according to the report."

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166 comments

Burden of enforcement (2, Insightful)

IwantToKeepAnon (411424) | about 7 months ago | (#44928835)

So you are going to make the flight attendants know if someone is reading an ebook and not sending an email? Seems ridiculous, they have a lot to do on take off and landing already.

Re:Burden of enforcement (3, Insightful)

sabri (584428) | about 7 months ago | (#44928869)

Seems ridiculous, they have a lot to do on take off and landing already.

During take-off and landing they are usually strapped in their seats.

But seriously, they're their to save your ass, not to kiss it.

Re:Burden of enforcement (5, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#44929307)

...and this is why I miss the good old days of flying - when they WERE there to kiss it.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#44929483)

Do you miss paying twice as much for tickets?

Re:Burden of enforcement (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44929743)

YES I DO. Because we had 1st class treatment all over the plane and we did not have cheapskates trying to stuff TWO carry ons that are too fat for the overhead in there or asking, "can you put this under your seat" No I cant take up my foot space because you are too damn cheap to check your fricking bag.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

rockout (1039072) | about 6 months ago | (#44931405)

It's nice that you have to money to be willing to pay twice as much for tickets. But wait, here's a revelation for you: you still can! It's called first or business class, and you'll still get your ass kissed, and you'll have plenty of space for your carry-on, and no one will mess with your legroom (and you'll have more of it).

on the other hand, if you're still buying coach fares, then you're full of shit, and don't really miss paying double. Pick one.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 6 months ago | (#44931837)

I don't think you've traveled business class recently. There's still a difference on long haul, but on medium and certainly short haul the difference between business and economy is often an extra little bag of peanuts. And you're often thrown into the same bus with the rest of the cattle to bring you to and from the plane, too.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 6 months ago | (#44931843)

I'd consider it if it was only *twice* the price. We're talking something about five times the base fare.

Paying double gets you "economy plus" which means you're paying for a meal, a pair of socks and a sleeping mask...

Re:Burden of enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44930761)

The cost-cutting race for the cheapest fares has really made flying a shitty experience.

"OK, landing gear is coming out..." (2)

rwa2 (4391) | about 7 months ago | (#44929827)

Wait, who was the "they" that already had a lot to do while strapped in their seats?

I can see the the tweets streaming in from pilots now.... "OK, landing gear is coming out..."

Re: Burden of enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931259)

Pretty sure the flight attendant is there to make sure I follow the rules and serve me drinks. Saving me is not even in the equation. I have enough fortitude to save my own ass and the person next to me if the shit hits the fan on the plane flight.

You might need saving, so by all means, keep looking sheepish during the flight.

As far as electronics are concerned, I've yet to turn my phone off on the last 8 flight takeoffs and set downs I've been on. I get called out by the flight attendants, but so what. My phone is NOT going to bring the plane down. If it does, and they can prove it, then engineering in modern airplanes is far more crappier than I imagined!

Re:Burden of enforcement (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931301)

Is this really a pressing issue? People can't wait until they're in the f'in air or on the ground to access there electronic devices!! Oh god the horror of having to wait for a few minutes, my fingers are twitching and I am having hot flashes, must... use..... electronic device, ahhhhhhh!!!!

Leave it up the FAA to waste time and money over something so stupid. Having said that I am aware of the argument over electronic devices and interference (or lack of) with the planes instruments/systems. The FAA is a defunct agency anyway another sanctioning body of the fed that should be cut completely and replaced with an org or society, that actually does its job. Too many elite companies own the FAA or any federal agency anyway so there test results on various things are fixed or falsely reported.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about 7 months ago | (#44928887)

How do they currently do it during the flight?

Re:Burden of enforcement (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929021)

I mean, why don't the terrorist just bring a bunch of Kindles on the plane and refuse to turn them off?

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 7 months ago | (#44930355)

Can you actually turn a kindle off? I just flick mine to screensaver mode for 30 seconds if they ask, otherwise I just continue reading.
Anyhow, a heart, not to mention a pacemaker, probably have a larger electromagnetic footprint than a kindle and they're not asking passengers to turn those off.

Re:Burden of enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44928963)

I agree. I'd also suggest that the burden of enforcement was even more untenable before this change. I have secretly kept small electronic devices on, in a quiet rebellion, during takeoff and landing on every flight for the last several years (wireless communication turned off, of course).

There's no way for them to measure that level of activity. This move is at least marginally less impossible.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | about 7 months ago | (#44929327)

Exactly. My wife has been sending me SMS messages with pics of my kids white-knuckling the armrests during takeoff on their summer vacation trips this year. I'd be shocked she was the only one on her flights.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 7 months ago | (#44930791)

You know, the passengers around you hope you are beaten to death with as many whiffle bats as it takes when you do shit like that.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

rockout (1039072) | about 6 months ago | (#44931409)

That's because those passengers are as dumb as you are in believing that sending a text message will cause the plane to crash.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 6 months ago | (#44931851)

No, that's because the fellow passengers now know that they have to spend the next few hours next to someone who is obviously too stupid to understand simple instructions.

Re:Burden of enforcement (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44930835)

I hope she doesn't also ignore the cabin crew when they tell her to brace. Honestly, some people almost deserve a fiery death in a plane crash. Since the overwhelming majority of crashes take place on take-off and landing, I recommend everyone pay a little attention to their surroundings during the ten minutes or so of these procedures, especially if they are travelling with kids.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 7 months ago | (#44929003)

So you are going to make the flight attendants know if someone is reading an ebook and not sending an email? Seems ridiculous, they have a lot to do on take off and landing already.

I'm assuming to make this easier, services like gogoinflight will also be disabled during this period - so laptops aren't the issue. It's the cell radios that carriers don't want you using because you move too fast and spam too many cell towers in a plane.

They just ask if your device is in airplane mode (or Android/Win equivalent). If the plane has issues during that period, and they find your device is *not* in airplane mode, you get fined/sued/put on no-fly list.

Hell, the tinpot-fascist that works in TSA will love this ruling, as it'll allow them to find a nice scapegoat at some point in the future that'll help make this country more scared and cowering. Planes crash, now just search wreckage for a surviving tablet/phone/laptop that just happens to have radios running.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929091)

If the plane has issues during that period, and they find your device is *not* in airplane mode, you get fined/sued/put on no-fly list.

That seems highly unlikely and unless you can provide a like, I'll insist it never happened. I've never heard of anyone being caught not in airplane mode. I've forgotten a few times. They don't have RF trackers on those planes. Why would they waste their time on something so silly?

Hell, the tinpot-fascist that works in TSA will love this ruling, as it'll allow them to find a nice scapegoat at some point in the future that'll help make this country more scared and cowering. Planes crash, now just search wreckage for a surviving tablet/phone/laptop that just happens to have radios running.

What does the TSA have to do with this? In flight radio bans and crash investigations are FAA. Your whole scenario sounds like paranoia. Tinpot fascists have lots of better things to do than check cell phones for airplane mode, seriously.

Re:Burden of enforcement (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#44929409)

Crash investigations are the NTSB [ntsb.gov] , not the FAA.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the U.S. and significant accidents in other modes of transportation-railroad, highway, marine and pipeline.

Re:Burden of enforcement (5, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 7 months ago | (#44929439)

There are a few instances where they have found the specific piece of electronics that were causing problems, and in some cases purchased it from the passenger.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_10/interfere_textonly.html [boeing.com]

1995, 737 airplane.
A passenger laptop computer was reported to cause autopilot disconnects during cruise. Boeing purchased the computer from the passenger and performed a laboratory testing ...

1996/1997, 767 airplane.
Over a period of eight months, Boeing received five reports on interference with various navigation equipment (uncommanded rolls, displays blanking, flight management computer [FMC]/ autopilot/standby altimeter inoperative, and autopilot disconnects) caused by passenger operation of a popular handheld electronic game device. In one of these cases, the flight crew confirmed the interference by turning the unit on and off to observe the correlation.

1998, 747 airplane.
A passengerâ(TM)s palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to "on course." When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop. Boeing was not able to purchase the actual PED...

Funny thing, all the cases of problems caused weren't cell phones.

Farther down the page, they discuss cell phones. They do put out more noise on critical frequencies, sometimes over what the FAA permits for the aircraft itself. In testing, none actually caused problems.

Boeing conducted a laboratory and airplane test with 16 cell phones typical of those carried by passengers, to determine the emission characteristics of these intentionally transmitting PEDs. The laboratory results indicated that the phones not only produce emissions at the operating frequency, but also produce other emissions that fall within airplane communication/navigation frequency bands ... Emissions at the operating frequency were as high as 60 dB over the airplane equipment emission limits ...

Boeing also performed an airplane test on the ground with the same 16 phones. The airplane was placed in a flight mode and the flight deck instruments, control surfaces, and communication/navigation systems were monitored. No susceptibility was observed.

Re:Burden of enforcement (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44929777)

"If the plane has issues during that period, and they find your device is *not* in airplane mode, you get fined/sued/put on no-fly list."

I prefer they allow all the other passengers to kick the crap out of the person and break their toy. People need the fear of getting an ass whoopin for their actions, it is a big problem with the USA today. People get to act like babies without repercussion.

Re:Burden of enforcement (1)

rockout (1039072) | about 6 months ago | (#44931417)

Yes, vigilante justice is the best answer to all of our problems. It's worked out so well in the past.

Airplane Mode (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44928885)

Finally!
A use for the "airplane mode", except "I want to play and not be disturbed".

Re:Airplane Mode (1)

dantotheman (2887483) | about 7 months ago | (#44929001)

Finally! A use for the "airplane mode", except "I want to play and not be disturbed".

Or "my battery is about to die and I'm still 3 hours away from a charger."

Re:Airplane Mode (1)

petman (619526) | about 6 months ago | (#44931753)

My everyday use for airplane mode is "I want to sleep and use the phone alarm to wake me in the morning but I don't want the rads to fry my brain".

Insert whine here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44928987)

Watch as the Luddites crawl out from out of their caves to tell us all how they think it's ridiculous people can't be without their devices for 30 minutes during the takeoff and landing and how they don't want to hear someone talking on the phone etc. Get of my lawn!

Re:Insert whine here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929401)

"Yeh! I'm on the PLANE! I've just LANDED! Where are you? Oh you're in the TERMINAL? Oh! OH! I'm on the PLANE! I'll be there in {random overly-optimistic timeframe}! Yeh! OK! BYE! What? WHAT? No I said BYE! See you SOON! BYE!"

Re:Insert whine here (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44929791)

As long as we are allowed to throw the skymall magazine at them if they get too loud, I am find with it.

Boon for the terrorists!!!! (1)

dskoll (99328) | about 7 months ago | (#44928993)

Because the undercover air marshal will be the only one not fooling around with electronic gizmos during takeoff. :)

Possibly the pilot, too.

Finally I can start flying again (4, Funny)

multiben (1916126) | about 7 months ago | (#44929023)

That 20 minutes or so where I was disconnected from grid was intolerable. Sometimes it would be as long as half an hour! Half an hour without 'liking' anything! Also, my virtual farm was practically in ruins and my digital pets were thirsty.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (0)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 7 months ago | (#44929131)

This. The sense of entitlement and self-importance is astounding amongst some flyers. I guess it's understandable on some level - some people could just never be told to put their toys away by an authority figure as a child.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929165)

The sense of entitlement and self-importance is astounding amongst some flyers.

...says the Slashdotter.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#44929207)

Some of us actually read books BOTH physical and digital while we are on the plane, or solve Sudoku, etc.

The *medium* is irrelevant.

As long as I am not disturbing anyone, you can piss off.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929255)

The sense of entitlement and self-importance is astounding amongst some flyers

Considering that passengers are paying customers, I am not sure why they should not be considered entitled to anything that does not cause a safety issue or unduly annoy other passengers.

Granted, air-travel is rife with indignities these days, but the sense of subservience is astounding amongst some flyers.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929321)

I'll rage with self-importance until you can adequately explain why I can fly gate-to-gate with earplugs in during the entire flight, meanwhile noise cancellation headphones are 'banned' during takeoff and landing.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929813)

Mostly because they don't work worth a damn and are only for dooshbag self identification purposes.

good noise filtering earplugs work 10X better than the overpriced yuppie crap from Sony and Bose.

http://www.earinc.com/p1-filtered.php [earinc.com]

Re:Finally I can start flying again (2)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 7 months ago | (#44930315)

You're 20 minutes may be unimportant, but some of us travel quite a bit. Many people travel weekly, with two legs each way. Let's use 15 minutes to make it simple. That's 15 minutes up, 15 minutes down, twice, each way. That's 2 hours a week. Assume you're a road warrior and travel 40 weeks a year and you've wasted 2 working weeks waiting for this. I'd appreciate those two weeks back if it turns out those electronic devices don't do a darned thing to the plane.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (0)

multiben (1916126) | about 6 months ago | (#44931103)

Ok so you're so indispensable that you can't take 15 minutes off 4 times per week, but you're unable to plan ahead sufficiently to ensure that you have 30 minutes worth of work to do which can be performed without a computer? Give me a break.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929337)

It's more I've heard your godforsaken lecture about properly fastening my seatbelt and no I don't want your fucking airline credit card.

I get on the plane, I want headphones in, and my head leaning against the window.

Yeah, the window. No, don't ask me if I can move. Fuck all of you - I did this thing called, "Booking my flight reasonably in advance", and pointedly selected a window seat. Suck it, bitches.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931239)

Airline credit cards are a really good deal. Maybe you should think about getting one. Out of my three credit cards, two are airline cards, and the third is a general travel card.

Re:Finally I can start flying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931787)

You still can't do those things as you'll still be disconnected from the grid.

But the TSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929053)

I'm sure the minute the FAA will permit it the TSA will make it illegal. Like when everyone was cheering that you can take pocket knives into planes again. For like a week or so.

Re:But the TSA... (5, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | about 7 months ago | (#44929319)

TSA will make it illegal

Technically, the TSA cannot make anything illegal. But that is just the issue. Once upon a time, in order to control the citizenry, you had to make laws, and the citizenry had some say into what was law and what was not. Now, you have regulatory agencies that don't make laws at all but are given jurisdiction to make what is held as equivalent to law in that if you disobey their rules, you can be charged with a crime. This is not appropriate at all and everybody should be outraged that this is happening.

De facto allowed already... (2)

quacking duck (607555) | about 7 months ago | (#44929109)

Considering all the passenger videos of takeoff and landings that are on Youtube, some all the way from the gate pushback, taxi, all the way up to level flight, they haven't been doing a good job of enforcement anyway. And it's pretty clear modern personal electronic has little to no impact on operational safety of the aircraft.

Re:De facto allowed already... (3, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#44929245)

Yeah the phone ban is total theater security. I was flying last week. It was funny to see the older couple dig out their dumb phones when we landed and they both went "Oh, I guess we forgot to turn off our phones. Oh well."

I had heard that supposedly when cell phones were the size of bricks and used a different band they *might* of caused interference at one point but I have never seen nor heard a plane lose access to its key navigation systems due to a phone or ever heard of it crash because of cell phones. I really wish MythBusters would have busted this "safety" myth years ago.

Re:De facto allowed already... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 7 months ago | (#44929461)

I had heard that supposedly when cell phones were the size of bricks and used a different band they *might* of caused interference at one point but I have never seen nor heard a plane lose access to its key navigation systems due to a phone or ever heard of it crash because of cell phones.

No, I don't think even back then there was ever any interference data from cell phones. It has always been about not having loose heavy (not so much anymore) articles flying around in the cabin in the event of an accident. And also, partly about cell phones spamming towers, but the FAA doesn't really care about that.

Re:De facto allowed already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931739)

I really wish MythBusters would have busted this "safety" myth years ago.

Actually, they did. Season 4, Episode 10 and they debunked it. Mostly. The plane wasn't in the air, for obvious reasons, but they didn't find any interference with the plane's systems even when cranking the signals up higher than any cell phone can put out.

Mechanical photography, infrared (1)

An dochasac (591582) | about 7 months ago | (#44929475)

Consumer digital cameras and portable camcorders were available before the takeoff/landing ban and they were used. But some of the high-sensitivity motion-capable DSLRs and EVIL cameras would be able to capture much more of the beauty of flight. It would nice to see these taken off the ban as they are mostly harmless. I've often thought of bringing a vintage wind-up (mechanical) 8mm or 16mm movie or 35mm film camera to photograph the interesting early part of a flight.

During later parts of the flight atmospheric haze makes photographs dull but I found that the camera's "infrared" RAW developing profile (fiddles with the red channel), really does cut through that haze. Some night flights (especially transatlantic great-circle routes over Greenlend) go far enough from cities and far enough north to give passengers a view of the northern lights. I've seen some airlines broadcast a view from a cockpit camera on one of the TV channels. It is a shame we're told to close our cabin windows so we end up watching some ridiculous B-movie when one of the most beautiful sights in the world is just outside

Re:Mechanical photography, infrared (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#44929841)

Get a haze filter. works wonders.
Also get an old fully manual camera, Fight attendants ask from time to time but all I say is "mechanical" and they say ok...
I am starting to carry a medium format old manual camera now on trips as I can take better photos and take them whenever I want Plus it's cheaper than most low end DSLR's if you are sane and accept used gear.

Test Team (5, Insightful)

dohzer (867770) | about 7 months ago | (#44929149)

For the last ten years I've been part of an unofficial and unpaid test team that has been examining how safe it is to use mobile phones and similar transceivers during take-off and landing. My planes have never had problems.

Re:Test Team (1)

theqmann (716953) | about 7 months ago | (#44929271)

It's the cell phone network congestion that is the issue these days, not airplane crashing. Up in the air your cellphone can see multiple towers simultaneously and cause network issues.

Re:Test Team (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#44929365)

So put a reflector on the tower so the signals don't go up. Or don't put cell towers near airport approach corridors.

Re:Test Team (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#44930743)

No. This is an old wives tale. Up in the air, your cellphone can see no towers, because they are too far away and you're in a steel tube. Even if it could, it wouldn't be a problem, because the phone would choose only one of them.

Hypothetically the problem might exist the other way, whereby too many cell towers can see your phone, but around an airport the interference coming from everything else at an airport swamps anything a phone on a plane might do. By the time the plane is out of the airport zone, it is too high for the phone to have any contact with cell towers - whose antenna don't point up in the sky.

Re:Test Team (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 7 months ago | (#44930825)

calling bullshit on this one, because I watched a lady text back and forth from gate to gate on a recent flight across Texas.(less than 4 days ago).

Re:Test Team (1)

petman (619526) | about 6 months ago | (#44931771)

... you're in a steel tube.

Mostly aluminium alloys actually. I know, it's not relevant to the discussion, but what the hell, this is Slashdot!

Re:Test Team (4, Insightful)

t4ng* (1092951) | about 7 months ago | (#44929345)

Back in late 90's/early 00's I was working for Qualcomm on a system that used eight GlobalStar UTs in parallel to offer a mix of phone and data service. In the experimental jet we had wifi routers connected into this system, and the jet's diagnostic bus was wired into it too, also a GPS receiver going full time as well (part of the UTs actually). We had several laptops, webcams, and phone calls going all the time - on the ground, in the air, during take off and landing - not one single problem, ever.

The ban on electronics, with the claim that it interferes with the plane's electronics, has always been bullshit. If that were true the ban would be for the entire duration of the flight, and it would be pretty scarey if flight electronics were so delicate that anyone with a cell phone turned on could screw it up. It's about controlling people, nothing more.

Re:Test Team (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 months ago | (#44929875)

The ban on electronics, with the claim that it interferes with the plane's electronics, has always been bullshit.

The old analog phones put a strong, continuous, signal in a narrow band. This was both an interference problem for communications and navigation equipment (due to effects like front-end quieting and intermodulation, even though the plane's gear wasn't operating on the same frequency) and a signal corruption problem for any electronic device with a metallic structure in its wiring that picked up enough signal to drive the electronics out of proper operating conditions.

Digital cellphone signals, whether CDMA or OFDM based (as well as the OFDM based WiFi) are spread-spectrum. The energy is spread out over a broad band and looks like background radio noise to equipment that isn't designed to collect and concentrate it. This is much less of a problem. Any electronics that would be interfered with it (if the phone wasn't within inches of it) would also be interfered with by so much other stuff that it wouldn't be suitable for aircraft at all.

Now that the Analog cellphone network is shut down (and most analog-capable cellphones are retired), and most modern portable computer gear is also designed with spread-spectrum clocks internally (to avoid generating narrowband radio interference due to all those gates switching simultaneously and periodically), these devices are much less of a source of problematic radio interference.

Meanwhile, the avionics has gone through a couple more generations of engineering, with avoiding dangerous failures from passenger electronics interference as a design criterion.

So now is a much safer time to let the passengers play with their toys than even a few years ago.

If that were true the ban would be for the entire duration of the flight, and it would be pretty scarey if flight electronics were so delicate that anyone with a cell phone turned on could screw it up.

"You can do anything you want [when flying] a plane, as long as you don't do it near the ground." This is doubly true for operating a not-designed-for-air-flight radio transmitter in the plane:

  - When flying "up there" you have a lot of room to manouver and a lot of time to correct errors or switch modes if something goes wrong with a system. When taking off or landing you have only seconds to react, and have to be accurate with a couple inches vertically, feet right-left, and tens of yards fore-aft to land ON, rather than under, beside, or off-the-end-of the runway (and avoid all the other planes, buildings, trees, antennas, etc.)

  - When taking off and landing you're using a LOT of additional electrical, and radio, systems.

Re:Test Team (1)

t4ng* (1092951) | about 6 months ago | (#44931129)

FYI, GlobalStar was a low earth orbit satellite communication system. Same CDMA signal, but different RF bands, higher power levels (about 5W max), and usually connected to multiple satellites simultaneously (instead of connecting to multiple cell towers simultaneously, which is typical for CDMA cell phones).

But I get what you are saying. It is true that there was some concern about radio interference in the past. But it hasn't been for at least a decade now. And speaking of close to the ground, even when AMPS phones were the thing, there was coverage at airports. So there would have been the potential for radio interferences even from people that weren't passengers on the planes.

Re:Test Team (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 7 months ago | (#44930085)

>> It's about controlling people, nothing more.

And the flight crew still claims my tinfoil hat interferes with radar!

Re: Test Team (2)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about 7 months ago | (#44930593)

If a plane could be taken down with a cell phone, alQiada would have perfected it by now. And I don't give a $hit if I spelled alQiada wrong, F them.

Re:Test Team (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931209)

The ban on electronics, with the claim that it interferes with the plane's electronics, has always been bullshit. If that were true the ban would be for the entire duration of the flight...

Nope.

The reason why it's banned for takeoff and landing is, these are the critical times of the flight where the pilots need 100% attention to the task at hand. No interruptions. No talking with the cabin crew. Nothing except aviating.

These phases of flight are where you're at greatest risk of crashing. If things goes wrong now, there's not much time to figure out how to fix it. Hence no electronics.

During level flight (i.e. most of the time), if things go wrong, the pilots have plenty of time to get the plane level, then troubleshoot whatever the problem is. So that's why they're more lenient.

Re:Test Team (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 6 months ago | (#44931341)

For the last ten years I've been part of an unofficial and unpaid test team that has been examining how safe it is to use mobile phones and similar transceivers during take-off and landing. My planes have never had problems.

Let's try it again with a 108-144MHz oscillator.

(For those who don't know, that's the VHF aviation band. It starts right above the FM band, and ends just below the 2m ham band).

It's a bit of a problem because a lot of LCD screens we were driving had pixel clocks somewhere in that range, so we had strong spikes in the range where even the FCC has a reduced envelope for on avionics (there's a dip in allowed emissions over that band to prevent interference with communications).

Of course, if you can unlock the GPS receiver (some phones are known to do it), you can have loads of fun on landing because more and more carriers are going RNP (required navigation performance) which requires GPS units that can provide high precision lateral and vertical positioning. Unlock it and you can be travelling to an alternate airport because the RNP is not there. Of course, if it happens while you're doing an RNP approach, not a problem - that's why there's redundancy. But do it just before beginning and you cannot do RNP because you need all the redundant systems fully operational prior to the approach.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 7 months ago | (#44929177)

The FAA gives us some crumbs while the TSA takes the main course. I'd rather have my electronics have the batteries temporarily confiscated than have to endure radiation or gropings.

Bread and circus "news" department ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929269)

What is so earthshakingly important that it cannot wait
until the takeoff or landing phases are completed ?

The truth is, little or nothing is this important.

But, if such "decisions" by the government distract
the masses in the US from paying attention to what
really matters, this is where the true value of "news"
items like this lies. It's bread and circuses, folks,
and remember that all you need to do when you see
the drone circling above your house is turn up the volume
on your TV.

Re:Bread and circus "news" department ... (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#44930755)

>What is so earthshakingly important that it cannot wait until the takeoff or landing phases are completed ?

Your rights.

Tunes during takeoff again! (2)

umdesch4 (3036737) | about 7 months ago | (#44929281)

Oh man, I'll be so glad if they start letting us listen to headphones during takeoff again. When I was a teen with a discman, that was the highlight of every flight for me...choosing a kickass track, and cranking it while accelerating down the runway.

Re:Tunes during takeoff again! (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#44930147)

Uhmmm.... I'd imagine that it comes with a caveat that it not be creating any kind of disturbance for other passengers.

Re:Tunes during takeoff again! (1)

umdesch4 (3036737) | about 7 months ago | (#44930527)

Well, to be fair, I only seriously cranked it during takeoff itself. If you can hear anything at all during that part of the flight, it has to be significantly louder than leakage from headphones. I try not to be one of those annoying people about it. I still say, Satriani is even better when you're being slammed back into you seat from the extra Gs.

Effort in the wrong place (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about 7 months ago | (#44929283)

It seems to me that while this is good, the FAA should be concentrating more on the bad press from the security nonsense and unreasonable searches (why I don't fly into the US any more) than worrying about using my iCrap on take off and landing.

Re:Effort in the wrong place (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#44930053)

Why should the FAA care what the TSA is doing?

(Two different federal agencies with little overlap. I'm sure the FAA is jealous of the TSA's budget but other than that not much interaction.)

Facebook Status: going to emergency depart plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929419)

What about having people ready to MOVE during an emergency? Isn't that why bags, tables, and everything is put away during takeoff and landing? How much longer will it take to get a whole plane emptied while waiting for those few folks to update their Facebook stataus, post pictures to Instgram, upload the crash to YouTube, and not get out of their seat and off the plane?

  Let me just update my Facebook status before I open the emergency exit for everyone else

Re:Facebook Status: going to emergency depart plan (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 months ago | (#44929961)

What about having people ready to MOVE during an emergency? Isn't that why bags, tables, and everything is put away during takeoff and landing?

I thought it was about avoiding/reducing injuries from flying luggage or hitting the seat or table in front of you with your head or adam's apple if the plane bumped into something, ran off the runway into the dirt beside it, or otherwise decelerated or experienced strong G-forces during some mishap.

Same reason they ask you to go back to your seat and belt in if the run into turbulence midflight - though the latter (almost always) has less extreme forces.

Private Aircraft? It's Their Rules. (0, Troll)

eepok (545733) | about 7 months ago | (#44929537)

So here's the thing: It's their plane.

When you buy the ticket and board the plane, you agree to play by their rules. They have the property rights and have sold you limited rights to your seats with stipulations.

If you can't accept the stipulations and choose to break the rules, don't be surprised if you need to be embarrassed into submission or even thrown off the plane when you get caught breaking the rules.

Your opinion of their rules and the basis of their rules are irrelevant given that you have already agreed to their rules. So sit down, turn off everything they say to turn off, and find solace in the fact that you're following the minimal ethic of peaceful coexistence- honoring a contract.

Re:Private Aircraft? It's Their Rules. (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 7 months ago | (#44929713)

When you buy the ticket and board the plane, you agree to play by their rules. They have the property rights and have sold you limited rights to your seats with stipulations.

It's not their rules. It's the FAA rules. The FAA is part of the US government. Hence the F.

Re:Private Aircraft? It's Their Rules. (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 7 months ago | (#44930583)

When you buy the ticket and board the plane, you agree to play by their rules. They have the property rights and have sold you limited rights to your seats with stipulations.

It's not their rules. It's the FAA rules. The FAA is part of the US government. Hence the F.

My bet is that even if the FAA gets tid of it (not likely as the plane manufacturers are behind it) Airlines will still chose to keep it because.
1. They really need you to pay attention to the safety announcement.
2, They really need you to react when something goes wrong.
3. They dont trust you, butterfingers, not to lose it when a 200 ton plane does 0-100 in 3 seconds.

fight the power! (1)

nten (709128) | about 7 months ago | (#44929865)

Rule followers caused the holocaust!

Also we tend to have higher blood pressure :( It bothers me when people keep talking on their phone, even though I know it shouldn't. And deep down, I wish I was daring enough to continue reading my eBook, even in airplane mode. Also, seriously, why don't people signal when they are changing lanes?

Re:Private Aircraft? It's Their Rules. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 months ago | (#44930003)

So here's the thing: It's their plane.

When you buy the ticket and board the plane, you agree to play by their rules. They have the property rights and have sold you limited rights to your seats with stipulations.

If that were true, they'd be able to chose to let you use your equipment on takeoff and landing. Some of them would likely do so, to attract more customers in the highly competitive market, or to make it easier on their flight staff (and maybe get away with less flight staff).

But that's NOT the case. This is a federal regulation. The government tells them to do this. It's not a matter of contract between them and you, it's a matter of the government running the show as a dominating third party.

Cue Darth Vader.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929565)

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Jesus fucking Christ you weak-minded twerps. You will survive being unable to play with your toy for 10 minutes.

FFS.

Well thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44929619)

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to call people and tell them the plane was taking off or landing and that I'm still in good health since leaving the terminal!

Thought most of the reasons were for distraction.. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 7 months ago | (#44929697)

Hmm... Thought most of the reasoning against iPods and other mp3 devices which had no ability to transmit/receive was that by wearing the earbuds you were inhibiting your ability to hear any announcements or instructions by the flight attendants...

Re:Thought most of the reasons were for distractio (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#44930069)

Here is a protip from an experienced traveler: If the cabin starts rotating past 30 degrees, or if it pitches or yaws significantly, stop whatever you're doing and look up.

Re:Thought most of the reasons were for distractio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44930441)

If a plane is about to crash it is better to be terrified and tense up instead of being relaxed and distracted.

Re:Thought most of the reasons were for distractio (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 7 months ago | (#44930837)

well, you would not want to miss a hilarious opportunity to void your bowels in public.

What about defective devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44931765)

So if I've dropped my i-Device and now it spews communication-jamming, radar-jamming radiation, it's still okay to use during take-off and landing?
Sweet!

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