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221 comments

Best of both worlds (5, Insightful)

barlevg (2111272) | about 6 months ago | (#45291457)

Now you'll be able to read your kindle on the plane, but you still won't have to put up with the passenger next to you carrying on a loud phone conversation (save, maybe voip?).

Re:Best of both worlds (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 6 months ago | (#45291855)

but you still won't have to put up with the passenger next to you carrying on a loud phone conversation

Yeah, but now us old hams can chat up the "local" repeater and talk about our surgeries and medications and how the weather is at 30,000 feet. I'll clip onto the plane's frame for an antenna and fire up my QRP rig and have a CW conversation. It's gonna be fun.

Re:Best of both worlds (2)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 6 months ago | (#45291859)

The willfully ignorant will just keep their phones turned on and when they make or receive a call they will simply say they did not understand the complex new rules.It comes from a deep rooted belief that rules simply do not apply to them, that all rules are silly.

Re:Best of both worlds (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 6 months ago | (#45291937)

I don't know what airline YOU fly, but any flight attendant on any flight I've ever been on would make the passenger hang up, and if they refused, they'd call over the sky marshal.

Re:Best of both worlds (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#45292465)

They do not do this to 1st class assholes. The airlines are afraid if upsetting them. I personally want to see the air marshall put a pistol in the guys face and take the phone.

Re:Best of both worlds (2)

eepok (545733) | about 6 months ago | (#45292535)

I don't really like flying due to my height, but I *love* when this happens. I know, it's kinda cruel, but sometimes I just like seeing simple requirements enforced on those who are too cool to otherwise follow the rules.

Re:Best of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292609)

You may have a future in government, or perhaps as an extra in a remake of Brazil.

Re:Best of both worlds (4, Insightful)

khr (708262) | about 6 months ago | (#45292065)

that all rules are silly.

Who believes that all rules are silly? It's only the rules people don't like that are silly. The ones that affect others are great.

Re:Best of both worlds (4, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 6 months ago | (#45292223)

Who believes that all rules are silly? It's only the rules people don't like that are silly.

No, it's rules that they don't understand that they think are silly. And evidence shows that many people who use cell phones believe there is some magic involved that carries their voice to the intended recipient. That's why back in the 90's a vocal group of idiots managed to get laws enacted [textfiles.com] to insure their privacy while using analog CDMA cell phones. After all, it was a CELL PHONE and they had every reason to expect privacy in their conversation, even though they were using RADIO to send their VOICE over the public's airwaves. Thus it became illegal, and remains illegal to this day, for the sale or import of certain kinds of radios that can receive frequencies allocated to cellular telephone services.

Re:Best of both worlds (1)

Magnus Pym (237274) | about 6 months ago | (#45292403)

CDMA is not analog.

And I'm confused about some of your other comments... AFAIK there are many products (expensive, mind you) that can listen in on cellular frequencies, whether analog or digital. These are used in cell phone/base station design all the time.

Re:Best of both worlds (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 6 months ago | (#45292693)

CDMA is not analog.

Ok. My bad.

And I'm confused about some of your other comments... AFAIK there are many products (expensive, mind you) that can listen in on cellular frequencies,

Yes, there are. That's why I said "certain kinds of radios". Those the public would be most likely to buy are the main target. Scanners, for example. Some "communications receivers" can receive cell frequencies, but the dealer may limit purchase to authorized government agencies (this one [aorusa.com] , for example.) The key words to look for are "cellular blocked".

The FCC could not simply ban every radio capable of receiving cell signals. That would have made it illegal for HP to sell the CDMA service monitor I now own. Or almost any service monitor for that matter. That would have made some TVs illegal for sale, since they reused some of the upper UHF TV spectrum for cell. They went after the low hanging fruit, to prove to the people who were ignorant of how radio works that the FCC cares about their privacy and did something.

It is long past the time to remove that idiotic regulation. The cell carriers have solved the problem of casual interception, and they cannot solve the problem of deliberate eavesdroppers.

Re: Best of both worlds (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#45292253)

I wonder what the Doppler shift would be like? Doing CW on LEO satellites can be challenging because of this.

Re: Best of both worlds (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 months ago | (#45292437)

LEO is a lot faster than the crusing speed of a 757. The doppler shift involved is almost completely negligible.

Assuming the plane is moving directly away from you (maximal doppler shift) at 858km/h (typical cruise speed), with a wave speed of 'c' - you have a doppler shift of +/- 3.974975 kHz.

Re: Best of both worlds (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 months ago | (#45292473)

More context: so the plane would be going, perhaps, 1000km/h (or 0.277km/s). Orbital velocity for LEO is 7.8 to 6.9 km/s.

In short, that was what I would call a stupid question.

Re:Best of both worlds (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#45292451)

This comes from people not smacking them or publicly ridiculing them. When an asshat in first class refuses to get off the phone, yelling "Hey moron! hang up the phone, are you too stupid to understand what the lady just said?" is the proper response instead of just sitting there. If there are no consequences they will never change their behavior.

Re:Best of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292549)

Life may be shorter, but is surely more fun when there are less rules, so these people might have a point.

Did anybody actually RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292227)

All the FAA did was establish a procedure the airlines can choose to follow to demonstrate that this is safe on their planes.

IF an individual airline follows this procedure, and AFTER the procedure is completed, then the individual flights of that airline can choose on a flight-by-flight basis whether to allow electronic devices to be on during take off and landing.

You're relying on "market forces" to convince the airlines to pay to go through the testing the FAA has listed and relying on flight attendants to stop being control freaks on each flight. Likely the only people who will see the benefit of this are game-playing Baldwin brothers.

Re:Best of both worlds (4, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about 6 months ago | (#45292631)

Now you'll be able to read your kindle on the plane,

Its ebooks that make the no-electronics-below 10000 feet rule intolerable. I can survive for an hour* without music or twitter, but the amount of entertainment that can be extracted from the in-flight magazine, duty free catalogue, in-flight safety card, back of the 'motion discomfort' bag etc. is strictly limited. Especially if its a return flight and you memorised it all on the way out...

*Anybody who talks about '10 minutes during takeoff and landing' is clearly flying from different airports than me...

Keep the phone ban (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291463)

Flying is annoying enough without someone sitting next to you babbling away on their phone the whole flight.

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291507)

Well I 100% believe that phones can interfere with airplane signals. Ever listen to the radio in a car and hear that "bzz bzz bzz" right before your phone rings? Granted, avionics should be a bit more shielded, but they're also a lot more sensitive, and there are also a lot more than one or two cell phones on a plane.

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

Cameron Neil (2886191) | about 6 months ago | (#45291599)

That's because your phone is too close to the speakers. Someone's phone in row 32 much less row 2 won't give the pilots that RF interference to their headsets.

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#45291917)

It also helps that cheap and dreadful audio systems (looking at you, PC speakers...) commonly have runs of unshielded signal cable sitting between the audio-out and the actual amplifier. Picking up enough RF interference to actually drive a speaker would be a bit alarming (with a high-efficiency mono earpiece, passive AM receivers can do it, crystal radio [wikipedia.org] style; but that's because the whole system is built around the challenge of turning the whisper of power from a big AM antenna into sound); but enough RF interference to be faithfully amplified by the amplifier, which more or less just cranks up anything within its capabilities and dumps the output to the speaker, doesn't take much power.

Noise on the low voltage, pre-amplifier side of things gets amplified, so its effects are disproportionately audible. Noise picked up by the big, chunky, post-amplifier speaker cables? usually trivial.

Re:Keep the phone ban (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#45291623)

Given that aircraft fly around in a veritable EM soup (AM, FM, VHF transmission towers, the spark gaps of an angry god [wikimedia.org] , etc.), I would hope that every phone on the plane draining its battery in a coordinated RF scream would be a survivable event. Whether all the chatter raises the noise floor or introduces errors into sensitive measurements is a subtler but more likely issue.

Re:Keep the phone ban (4, Informative)

Alastor187 (593341) | about 6 months ago | (#45292183)

Given that aircraft fly around in a veritable EM soup (AM, FM, VHF transmission towers, the spark gaps of an angry god [wikimedia.org] , etc.), I would hope that every phone on the plane draining its battery in a coordinated RF scream would be a survivable event. Whether all the chatter raises the noise floor or introduces errors into sensitive measurements is a subtler but more likely issue.

What is outside the airplane is the least of the problems. A large commercial plane has racks of electronic equipment, dozens of radios, weather radar, flight displays, in-flight entertainment systems, power generation and distribution systems, pumps, servos,...etc.

All of those are potential sources of EMI that need to work together as a system. The only reason a cell phone is considered 'risky' is because it un-tested. There is nothing unique about cell phone electronics from an avionics point of view. Similar, and more powerful, systems are already integrated into the airframe.

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291773)

Older avionics were probably more shoddy; with newer equipment, the buzz probably isn't there. Add about fifteen years for the magic of bureaucracy, and the FAA changes their policy to meet the facts.

Re:Keep the phone ban (3, Informative)

MrChips (29877) | about 6 months ago | (#45292053)

I like to use this ABM1 - Passive Air Band Monitor [ramseyelectronics.com] when flying. I keep it discreet as I'm sure most flight crews won't understand how it's different from a typical radio receiver. I regularly hear that "bzz bzz bzz" of cell phones with this device. I then ask my girlfriend sitting next to me if she put her phone in airplane mode. If she hadn't and does it the noise usually goes away. If she had her's in airplane mode then I assume it's someone else sitting near me. Phones do cause interference in the aircraft frequency bands (at least at short range).

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292323)

Neat, but the main concern isn't 118-136 MHz voice communication. You don't want interference on the 108-11 MHz band used by instrument landing system localizer and glide scope instrumention. You also don't want anything interfering with GPS at 1.57542 GHz and 1.2276 GHz. Cell phones, tablets and notebooks don't incorporate transmitters that use those frequencies, of course. One category of thing that TSA doesn't check for while they're busy confiscating your water and asking you to take off your shoes are radio jammers -- I'm not sure how effectively an aircraft cabin shields transmissions, or how well shielded an airliner's GPS receiver is, but it might be possible for a passenger to travel with an illegal GPS jammer to disrupt navigation, and perhaps the same could be done with ILS instrumentation. That could get scary.

Re:Keep the phone ban (4, Informative)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 6 months ago | (#45292583)

I like to use this ABM1 - Passive Air Band Monitor [ramseyelectronics.com] when flying. I keep it discreet as I'm sure most flight crews won't understand how it's different from a typical radio receiver. I regularly hear that "bzz bzz bzz" of cell phones with this device. I then ask my girlfriend sitting next to me if she put her phone in airplane mode. If she hadn't and does it the noise usually goes away. If she had her's in airplane mode then I assume it's someone else sitting near me.

Correct so far.

Phones do cause interference in the aircraft frequency bands (at least at short range).

And... you go off the rails.

GSM phones cause interference in audio-frequency circuits because the phone transmits in regular bursts every 4.62 ms (this is why it doesn't affect CDMA, UMTS, etc., only 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE, because they use TDMA). It turns out audio amplifiers generally tend to serve as decent wide-band AM receivers, so this is very easily picked up as a 217Hz buzz. However, this is all happening on the audio-frequency side, so calling it "interference in the aircraft frequency bands" is just plain wrong -- it will affect practically any unshielded or insufficiently-shielded device (it's only a couple watts or so transmitter, but within a meter or less the inverse-square law says you do need better shielding than a lot of consumer electronics have) with an amplified audio output, including all sorts of radios, and non-radio devices from MP3 players to cassette players.

(for more on this, google or start here [techmind.org] )

Fortunately, it's a really easy problem to solve -- just keep your phone out of the cockpit. Thanks to the inverse-square law, it's really only a practical issue at very short range.

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292167)

Well I 100% believe that phones can interfere with airplane signals. Ever listen to the radio in a car and hear that "bzz bzz bzz" right before your phone rings? Granted, avionics should be a bit more shielded, but they're also a lot more sensitive, and there are also a lot more than one or two cell phones on a plane.

That bzz is due to turning on and off the transmit side rapidly to fit your chatter into a TDMA time slot. Rapid field change induces noticeable changing currents on nearby shit like speakers and CRT monitors.

All "modern" cellular technology have converged on CDMA using varying spectrum/symbols rather than flashing transmit key to allow for multiple chattering devices to share spectrum at once. No matter how close you put your CDMA phone to a gadget you won't hear or see a peep out of it. All current 3G and 4G deployments are CDMA based. Days of the newscaster forgetting to take their cellphone out of their pockets are over/numbered save the long tail of outliers.

More importantly inverse square law applies just the same to this interference. Moving a TDMA phone short distance away say arms reach makes a huge difference in terms of interference.

Most importantly TFA changes nothing with respect to cell use. This is only for electronic gear which does not intentionally transmit.

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291571)

how are they going to talk on the phone unless they buy the inflight wifi and use skype or some other voip?

there is no way you will get a connection to a tower at 35000 feet moving at 500mph

Re:Keep the phone ban (2, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about 6 months ago | (#45291611)

there is no way you will get a connection to a tower at 35000 feet moving at 500mph

Yes you can. If you will recall, this was proven on 9/11/2001.

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 6 months ago | (#45291679)

They were not at 35000 feet during most of those calls. The speed of the plane is not an issue. It is the height. With a lower height a signal can make in through the windows for more time before dropping. At a higher height the cell towers are too far away or the angle is too sharp and less signal makes it in.

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292241)

United flight 93 was over 35,000 feet during part of the flight. And they were using cell phones.

So, you were wrong.

Re:Keep the phone ban (4, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#45292645)

And they were using cell phones.

Most of the 9/11 calls were from Airfones, not cell phones -

http://imgs.sfgate.com/blogs/images/sfgate/cmcginnis/2010/12/16/airfone250x187.jpg [sfgate.com]

Airfones have mostly gone away, but a dozen years ago they were pretty common.

When I notice my fellow passengers playing Candy Crush on their phones you can plainly see the NO SERVICE displayed on the top. This is because they don't know how to go into Airplane Mode so their radios are on, but the phone can't lock to a tower at 35K feet travelling at a ground speed of 500 mph.

Re:Keep the phone ban (4, Informative)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 6 months ago | (#45292087)

there is no way you will get a connection to a tower at 35000 feet moving at 500mph

Yes you can. If you will recall, this was proven on 9/11/2001.

The prohibition on using cell phones was also at the request of the wireless carriers. The cellular system was not designed to handle someone using their phone at 35,000 fett and traveling at 500 mph. Your phone "sees" way too many towers and yet the towers have to hand off rapidly since you move out of coverage really fast at that speed. Seven miles up in an airplane is not that far from a tower and the signal is excellent.

It's easier to "just say no" than it is to re-engineer the cellular network to also work with people using their phones in airplanes. Besides, the airlines want you to use their skyphone at their rates so it's in their interest to keep you from using your cell phone instead.

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292389)

The 'just say no' was also based on the issues caused in the old, analog cellular systems.

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#45292503)

This is not an issue as Cellphone tower beam the signal to the earth not up in the sky. I've been in a private jet at 40,000 feet, even with the phone stuck to the window, NO service.

Re: Keep the phone ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292251)

What happened on November 9th?

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

Magnus Pym (237274) | about 6 months ago | (#45292525)

Actually, the speed is very much an issue. Most traditional CDMA/3G phones cannot service objects moving at high speeds (more than 128 Kmph) because their receivers cannot keep track; read up on finger tracking on rake receivers. A call may last for a few seconds (if that) before getting dropped. I understand a few cell towers designed in the past few years can support high speeds, but they are mostly deployed in Japan and are not in common use. 2G systems will almost surely not be able to support high speeds.

The other issue is handoff, a particular tower serves a relatively small area (maybe a few km in urban areas). Assuming a 10 kilometer cell diameter, a plane traveling at 500 Mph would be switching between cells at a rate of one switch every 45 seconds. [10/ (500*1.6) ) * 3600. ] Now it is theoretically possible for CDMA & 3G systems to support this rate, but it is somewhat hard to imagine such handoffs happening reliably while the plane is moving so fast.

I've worked in the cellular industry and I'm still not sure of how the calls from the 9/11 planes worked. In fact, many of the 9/11 truthers point to this inconsistency as support of their claims that the calls never happened :)

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#45292579)

If you will recall, this was proven on 9/11/2001.

Most of the 9/11 calls were from Airfones, not cell phones -

http://imgs.sfgate.com/blogs/images/sfgate/cmcginnis/2010/12/16/airfone250x187.jpg [sfgate.com]

Airfones have mostly gone away, but a dozen years ago they were pretty common.

When I notice my fellow passengers playing Candy Crush on their phones you can plainly see the NO SERVICE displayed on the top. This is because they don't know how to go into Airplane Mode so their radios are on, but the phone can't lock to a tower at 35K feet travelling at a ground speed of 500 mph.

Re:Keep the phone ban (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#45291663)

not true. sporadic short connections can sometimes be made, I've done it in past from foreign-owned airlines that didn't care at over 25,000 feet.

you might also be interested to know the maximum theoretical distance is much farther than that for stationary phone, over 22 miles.

The ban was always bullshit anyway (4, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#45291513)

Like the war on water, it's largely been about control and government rules abetting private interests. I suppose in this case airlines and the faa and whoever the fuck else stands to make a buck off of this realized it is more profitable to let the monkeys paw their gadgets 100% of the time, instead of the usual 96%.

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (4, Insightful)

ibwolf (126465) | about 6 months ago | (#45291621)

I thinks the reason this is being revised is because this rule has inconvenienced people that have the power to do something about it (e.g. US senators). I'm sure airport security screening would be greatly improved if everyone, with no exceptions, had to go through the same type of screening.

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 6 months ago | (#45291751)

Actually I think it's more to do with the fact that old PCN & GSM phones gave off quite a bit of interference (I remember my first GSM phone would cause the fire alarm bell mechanism to ring when it was finding the network or someone rang me). Most phones these days hardly use those spectrums and anyway you've still got keep the phone in flight mode.

Zero accidents ever (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 6 months ago | (#45291961)

Actually I think it's more to do with the fact that old PCN & GSM phones gave off quite a bit of interference

Which caused precisely zero plane crashes.

Most phones these days hardly use those spectrums and anyway you've still got keep the phone in flight mode.

Not for any evidence based reason. There are social reasons to not allow cell phones (annoys your fellow passengers when you talk loudly) but thousands of phones are turned on every single day in airplanes for the entire duration of the flight (both intentionally and not) and there has not been a single accident ever as a result. If it were actually a safety risk then the ONLY effective solution would be to ban cell phones entirely from the plane. Based on the fact they haven't done this it is not a risk factor and the FAA knows it.

Re:Zero accidents ever (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45292441)

... thousands of phones are turned on every single day in airplanes for the entire duration of the flight (both intentionally and not) and there has not been a single accident ever as a result.

It's true. I was part of the unpaid, secret pilot program for this for many, many years.

Re:Zero accidents ever (2)

slew (2918) | about 6 months ago | (#45292491)

To my knowledge, boom boxes, smoking and heavy perfume and nudists haven't caused any plane accidents, and there currently social reasons to ban them as they can be quite annoying and might (in the case of smoking) cause future health problems.

As for cell phone situation, it's a similar situation (and if there may EM-o-phobes that would complain about sitting next to someone with a cell-phone causing them future health problems).

It's just a function of the times what we ban and don't ban. Right now everyone is addicted to electronics and need to be accommodated. 50 years ago people were addicted to smoking and needed to be accomodated. Maybe tomorrow, it will be people addicted to nudism that need to be accommodated. I'm just hoping that perfume isn't going to be big fad in the future...

Re:Zero accidents ever (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 months ago | (#45292681)

When did they ban perfume? Last time I flew was about 2 years ago, and I remember one woman who seemed to have spent the night before marinading in the same nasty ostensibly sunflower-scented old lady perfume that my grandmother wore.

I really, really hate flying...

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 6 months ago | (#45291649)

How are they making a buck of this?

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#45291833)

Paid airline wi-fi access for one, especially for short-haul flights. Also reckon it was getting hard to justify the ban on all electronic devices with many airlines keeping the pay-per-view screens on during take-off and landing.

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292001)

And how was the FAA making a buck off it, since you called them out specifically as doing so?

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#45292093)

argh! someone hasn't been paying attention in class! ever heard of regulatory capture (cf. yesterdy's article on new fcc chair)?

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292459)

Yes I have. Now show some concrete evidence that it's happening here, or else admit that you're talking out of your ass.

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (3, Funny)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 6 months ago | (#45291763)

Damn water. It doesn't know whether it want's to be an acid or base. Always flip flopping on the issue.

Re:The ban was always bullshit anyway (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 6 months ago | (#45292393)

You're half right, the rules were bullshit but it's because of Air Rage. Some idiot blabbing on their phone next to you throughout the flight a few inches from your head would lead to more air rage incidents. That's why the new rules say that making calls specifically is not allowed, in addition to disabling radio functions.

Does this mean a change to flight mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291559)

Flight mode on most cellular devices switches off Bluetooth, WIFI and Cellular access.

So would this mean that Flight mode, should now only toggle the Cellular modem on and off?

Kick in the balls (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291641)

This must be a real kick in the balls for all the folks back in the first days of the iPhone who got arrested because they were using it in "Airplane mode" and now you don't even need to even have airplane mode.

All that money for legal defense, lectures from judges, airline wait staff, sky marshals and everyone else who "knew better" about how they put the aircraft in DANGER by playing their iPhone game.

It would also help if our air traffic control system got into the 21st Century and aircraft got rid of that pathetic AM band radio that only allows ONE person transmitting per channel....

Let's change that and give the aircraft band to the HAMs.

Re:Kick in the balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291815)

"Mobile phones may still only be used in airplane mode without cellular service." What exactly in that says you don't need airplane mode anymore?

Re:Kick in the balls (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 6 months ago | (#45291903)

This must be a real kick in the balls for all the folks back in the first days of the iPhone who got arrested because they were using it in "Airplane mode"...

You're not even making any sense. People were arrested for using phones in the least intrusive manner possible? Anyway, "airplane mode" is still useful. Probably should be called "non-emission mode" or something though. Like if your at a boring lecture and want to play "wild, wild weasels" during.

Re:Kick in the balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292073)

This must be a real kick in the balls for all the folks back in the first days of the iPhone who got arrested because they were using it in "Airplane mode"...

You're not even making any sense. People were arrested for using phones in the least intrusive manner possible? Anyway, "airplane mode" is still useful. Probably should be called "non-emission mode" or something though. Like if your at a boring lecture and want to play "wild, wild weasels" during.

What do you mean me? There were some cases in the news where folks were arrested for insisting on using airplane mode.

You're right, it didn't make any sense but that were the rules then. Many of the sky waitresses demanded that ALL electronic devices be turned off during take off and landing - airplane mode doesn't/didn't mean jack shit to them.

Re:Kick in the balls (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 6 months ago | (#45292075)

Anyway, "airplane mode" is still useful. Probably should be called "non-emission mode" or something though.

The only non-emission mode for a cellphone is "battery removed". Otherwise, the CPU is still running and still using square-wave clock signals and still emitting something. Even if it just wakes up once a second to check the "on/off" button to see if it should turn all the way back on.

"Airplane mode" is "radios off", because (most) radios have deliberate oscillators in their receive section that can easily leak and act like transmitters, and cell/wifi/bt are all deliberate transmitters to start with.

Yes, the unintentional emissions are supposed to be very low, but stuff breaks and signals leak.

Re:Kick in the balls (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about 6 months ago | (#45292135)

The only non-emission mode for a cellphone is "battery removed"...

OMG. I know. Don't care. Not really relevant. Go play kick ball or whatever you do...

Re:Kick in the balls (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#45292219)

Airplane mode is the quickest, easiest "battery save" mode on my Android phone. When I'll be taking a car trip through spotty coverage, letting it search for towers and connect to ones at the edge of possible service for a while and such drains the battery fast. Throwing the phone on airplane mode when taking a car trip through spotty coverage greatly improves battery life.

Like we ever turned the things off anyways (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291657)

I haven't bothered in years

If my thoughtlessness would doom 150 people and a multimillion dollar jet airplane, the airlines have bigger problems on their hands

I always enjoy hearing my text message notification tone going off when the plane is in the early or final stages of takeoff/landing. The air bitches, I mean, maids, I mean stewardesses must really get pissed, but they're strapped into their chairs at that point.

Re:Like we ever turned the things off anyways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291705)

If it's any consolation, for the most part they don't actually give a shit either.

Re:Like we ever turned the things off anyways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292573)

The air bitches, I mean, maids, I mean stewardesses must really get pissed, but they're strapped into their chairs at that point.

Let me guess: you have a hard time establishing and maintaining relationships with women based on mutual respect. You should reflect on why you felt compelled to write that.

Differnent from current? (0)

JeanCroix (99825) | about 6 months ago | (#45291761)

How exactly does this differ from the policies from now? Airplane-mode only, check. Turned off during take-off and landing, check. Wi-fi allowed (if you want to pay the airline $20 for a couple hours' access), check. Where's the big change?

Re:Differnent from current? (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 6 months ago | (#45291949)

The FAA press release does NOT say "turned off during take-off and landing", it just says things must be secured. As in, held tightly. As I read it, I can continue reading my Nook and listening to my MP3 player through my active noise canceling headphones from the moment I sit down and get comfortable, rather than turn everything off for takeoff.

Re:Differnent from current? (5, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 6 months ago | (#45291953)

How exactly does this differ from the policies from now? Airplane-mode only, check. Turned off during take-off and landing, check.

Uncheck. On for take-off and landings, except for special cases when visibility is low and the low visibility navigation systems are not PED certified.

Wi-fi allowed (if you want to pay the airline $20 for a couple hours' access), check.

Uncheck. Wi-fi and bluetooth allowed, with no requirement to pay the airline. I figure it will be interesting to run an open NAP and see how much data can be sniffed from devices trying to get a wi-fi connection. Or to spoof a lot of large online services to get login credentials. Fun.

Where's the big change?

/. commenter who hasn't bothered to read TFA, check. No change.

Re:Different from current? (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about 6 months ago | (#45292245)

How exactly does this differ from the policies from now? Airplane-mode only, check. Turned off during take-off and landing, check.

Uncheck. On for take-off and landings, except for special cases when visibility is low and the low visibility navigation systems are not PED certified.

6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident. My bad, I confused "stow" with "turn off." Because having it turned on does so much good if it's stowed.

Wi-fi allowed (if you want to pay the airline $20 for a couple hours' access), check.

Uncheck. Wi-fi and bluetooth allowed, with no requirement to pay the airline. I figure it will be interesting to run an open NAP and see how much data can be sniffed from devices trying to get a wi-fi connection. Or to spoof a lot of large online services to get login credentials. Fun.

This is no change. There was never a prohibition against using wi-fi or bluetooth. I've flown several airline which offer w-fi during flights in the past decade, usually with a hefty fee. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

Where's the big change?

/. commenter who hasn't bothered to read TFA, check. No change.

I read it, dingleberry. And stand by my claim of (essentially) no change. The only real difference is not having to turn things off during the 10-15 minutes of takeoff and landing. Woohoo. Unless it's a "large" device, wherein it must be stowed away, even if you leave the power on.

Re:Different from current? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292691)

it is unfortunate your netbook and your phone are so heavy they need to be stowed and cannot be held in your hand or lap. you should upgrade from that 80's brick, it'll ease your backpains. me on the other hand, I can watch a movie on the netbook, have noise-cancelling headphones on, and play smth on my mp3 player. you know - 90% of the use cases. I guess you're the odd one out.

wifi and bluetooth was not allowed during takeoff and landing. it now is, just like the netbook and phone. now I can spend takeoff and landing sending email or working on a remote server. you know, 90% of my job, and most IT consultants who fly pretty much weekly. big change for me. I guess not for you, since your mom pays for things and you don't need to do real work.

10-15min for takeoff and landing? are you on crack? you think that's how long your stuff is powered off for once you leave the gate or land? anywhere from 40 min to a couple of hours if you're stuck in a queue. so, that times 2. dingleferry.

Re:Different from current? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292811)

IT consultants

real work.

LOL.

Cesar we need to keep the games going (0)

future assassin (639396) | about 6 months ago | (#45291789)

too keep the masses happy and occupied.

Re:Cesar we need to keep the games going (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292081)

Cesar we need to keep the games going too keep the masses happy and occupied.

And illiterate. Don't forget illiterate.

Now... (2)

the_skywise (189793) | about 6 months ago | (#45291837)

If you'll please pay attention to our safety demonstration and procedures speech...

>pewpewpew

"Safety" demonstration (3, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 6 months ago | (#45292015)

If you'll please pay attention to our safety demonstration and procedures speech...

You mean the one where they explain how to use a seatbelt for everyone who hasn't been in a car in the last 40 years?

Re:"Safety" demonstration (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#45292257)

You mean the one where they explain how to use a seatbelt for everyone who hasn't been in a car in the last 40 years?

No kidding. People who fly a lot don't listen anyway.

Seatbelts work thusly, popcorn lights on the floor, nearest exit may be behind you (already noted before I sat down), location of the lavs and reminder of the smoke detectors, my stuff under the seat in front of me or stowed in the hatch, air mask may fall (may not inflate, put on mine first before rendering assistance), safety card in front of you with the vomit bag and boring magazine, safety vest is inflated with this handle or these tubes (after you exit the aircraft so yo don't get stuck in the door), laughable flotation device under your seat which is more useful to spotting wreckage than saving your life.

Once you've heard it the first 50 times or so, there's not exactly anything new in there.

Re:"Safety" demonstration (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#45292263)

Most cars are "press to release" Most planes are "pull to release" Someone with 40 years experience in cars might be confused by the airplane seatbelt clasp.

Re:"Safety" demonstration (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 6 months ago | (#45292433)

Most cars are "press to release" Most planes are "pull to release" Someone with 40 years experience in cars might be confused by the airplane seatbelt clasp.

Seriously, have you EVER seen anyone have a problem figuring out the seat belt on a plane who is over the age of 5? If you say yes I'm going to call you a liar. I've been flying for decades and NO ONE has any problems figuring this out.

If you are a supposedly competent adult and can't figure out the seat belt on a plane, we don't need you.

Re:"Safety" demonstration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292319)

they explain how to use a seatbelt for everyone who hasn't been in an airplane

FTFY. Airplane seatbelt buckles are really weird and different from the seatbelts we use in cars every day.

809,611,003 USA Airline Passengers per Year (0)

retroworks (652802) | about 6 months ago | (#45291845)

It's a really good thing that every single one of them have been shutting off their phones during takeoff and landing every year. Otherwise, who knows what might have happened. The number worldwide is about 4.5 billion passenger flights per year. I feel safe knowing that every single person will always do what the flight crew says.

Re:809,611,003 USA Airline Passengers per Year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292047)

This is exactly why everyone should know this "ban" is a completely joke. If there was any REAL risk of interference, they would check that every single cellphone is turned off before takeoff and landing. Last week when my plane was landing, the passenger next to me kindly asked that I turn off my phone, he was genuinely concerned.

I couldn't help but chuckle as I agreed and turned my phone off simply to give him a piece of mind.

Sounds like a big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291881)

NSA datamining ploy

I have a pilot friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45291943)

He is guessing that the reason it took so long is not because cell phones interfere with any of the avionics or navigation, but rather that they can sometimes hear feedback in their headsets. Imagine being a pilot and hearing 20 conversations in your ear while trying to listen to the air traffic controller.

Re:I have a pilot friend. (0)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#45292165)

is he an engineer? technician? no? huh.

on a related note I have a teenage niece who has some pretty neat ideas about optimizing her cell phone bandwidth access when making facebook status updates ("hold it upside-down").

Re:I have a pilot friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292367)

I am an engineer. And boy wouldn't I love to have feedback from somebody with first hand experience, like say, a pilot.

Who gets a signal during a flight? (1)

areusche (1297613) | about 6 months ago | (#45292153)

I've used my phone during a flight before and turned off airplane mode for shits and giggles. I wasn't able to get a signal at all. At best, I was able to hold a signal for a minute or so during take off and immediately during landing. It makes me curious as well, during 9/11 how the heck were the passengers able to make a call at those altitudes on their mobile phones?

Are the going to take it back like with knives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292173)

Is this actually going to happen, or are they going to listen to the fears of the people that have no idea what they are talking about, like they did with knives?

Implementation will be interesting (1)

Xylantiel (177496) | about 6 months ago | (#45292249)

It's easy to tell someone using a device to turn it off. How do they easily tell if the cellular radio is off? The press release says "no bars displayed". So now the flight attendant has to confirm the absence of one of the smallest icons on the screen?

Even more crazy, this changes the very definition of "airplane mode" from "all radios off" to "cell radio off, but wifi and bluetooth radio okay". Current devices don't even have such a mode! And how many non-techies even have a clear idea of the distinction?

Re:Implementation will be interesting (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#45292311)

Even more crazy, this changes the very definition of "airplane mode" from "all radios off" to "cell radio off, but wifi and bluetooth radio okay". Current devices don't even have such a mode!

Not true, as another poster here on Slashdot corrected me a few months ago.

Apparently, airplane mode turns them all off initially, but you can separately enable them.

So, it turns out, you can actually put a device into airplane mode, and the re-enable wifi and bluetooth. Which to me seems to defeat the purpose, but I'm sure there are reasons.

Airplane mode doesn't apparently force them to be disabled, but just turns them off initially. I was quite surprised by this. But I did confirm it on two different devices thereafter.

And how many non-techies even have a clear idea of the distinction?

Well, that's a separate question. :-P

Re:Implementation will be interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292361)

It's not about your phone; it's about my Kindle.

Re:Implementation will be interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292399)

mine has such a mode (galaxy S4), it's called turn airplane mode on which turns off all radios, then turn wifi and bluetooth back on.

Re:Implementation will be interesting (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 months ago | (#45292763)

Current devices don't even have such a mode!

Sure they do. I have an old Samsung Moment (ca 2009, running Eclair) that I've was using in no-cell mode as a wifi "tablet" before I broke down and got an actual tablet.

Key operative word "Allow" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292395)

"Allow", "Permit" are the key operative words.

If the reasons were technical, with number of phones left ON in the carry on bags, we would see all sorts of chaos in the skies. We did not.
So that leaves non technical reasons - profits on selling competing services for exorbitant prices and control.

Noise Cancelling Headphones ? (1)

north.coaster (136450) | about 6 months ago | (#45292587)

Although there is a lot of talk about e-readers, tablets, phones, etc., I have not seen any mention of noise cancelling headphones. In my experience, passengers (such as me) tend to turn them on right before take off, and not turn them off until after the aircraft lands. Although they are clearly electronic devices, rarely does a flight attendant ask a passenger to turn one of these units off.

Re:Noise Cancelling Headphones ? (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 6 months ago | (#45292697)

NC Headphones are king! The only question is if you can wear them while the attendant is giving the pre-flight lecture. I'll give them that 1 minute, that is it.

Re:Noise Cancelling Headphones ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45292729)

My experience exactly the opposite. Having flown 1 or 2 times a month for several years, almost every single flight I would be asked to turn off and stow my noise cancelling headphones during take off and landing.

Being able to wear noise cancelling headphones throughout a fight without harassment will improve the overall flying experience. Now if only something could be done to improve the airport experience.

Boy am I glad. . . (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 6 months ago | (#45292663)

I don't fly anymore. Having to deal with morons every day who think their texts/emails/whatever are more important than having their eyes on the road, or people who randomly walk into moving traffic while talking on their phone is bad enough. Having to sit through a multi-hour flight full of people talking on their phones or bipping and bopping on their tablets would be a nightmare.

What do you know, there is an upside to the TSA!

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