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Old 12-31-2012, 05:49 AM   #1
afa
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Is using electronics on planes dangerous?

Perhaps, but not quite in the way you thought:

Quote:
In 2010, a 68-year-old man punched a teenager because he didn’t turn off his phone. Lt. Kent Lipple of the Boise Police Department in Idaho, who arrested the puncher, said the man “felt he was protecting the entire plane and its occupants.”
As many have long suspected, the FAA does not really have any sound basis for their claims that using devices mid-flight could cause problems.

And, of course, there was the whole contradiction between not allowing passengers to use iPads, but pilots were using it in place of printed manuals.

Quote:
The F.A.A. then told me that “two iPads are very different than 200.” But experts at EMT Labs, an independent testing facility in Mountain View, Calif., say there is no difference in radio output between two iPads and 200. “Electromagnetic energy doesn’t add up like that,” said Kevin Bothmann, the EMT Labs testing manager.
Here is whole piece from The New York Times.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:25 AM   #2
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There have been numerous threads on this topic. Do a search.

Short answer is yes, they can be if the plane's electronics were not specifically designed to handle it (cable shielding, etc.) Ever put a blackberry next to a speaker phone and listen (radiated suspectiblity). Now imagine a pilot trying to listen to the tower doing critical final manuevering to landing during an IFR approach.

If everyone put their ipad on airplane mode, they can use them today midflight. If they all have 3g ipads and have the 3g phone service on, that could be a problem.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by afa View Post
As many have long suspected, the FAA does not really have any sound basis for their claims that using devices mid-flight could cause problems.

And, of course, there was the whole contradiction between not allowing passengers to use iPads, but pilots were using it in place of printed manuals.
The problem is that no airline can determine what devices will cause problems -- make no mistake, some electronic devices can interfere with radio communication. Rather than test and certify personal electronics, they ban all of them. It's common sense.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizwor View Post
The problem is that no airline can determine what devices will cause problems -- make no mistake, some electronic devices can interfere with radio communication. Rather than test and certify personal electronics, they ban all of them. It's common sense.
Well we know iPads are safe, because the pilots use them!
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:48 AM   #5
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No, we don't. We don't know if they are modified or run in a certain mode and we don't know if they are used on all planes or just some.

For instance, I remove radios from laptops when used in certain areas. Under some circumstances, in some areas, we allow laptops with the radios switched off.

We assume a lot but don't know much.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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When I was in the USAF back in the 80's, I worked on KC-10 avionics systems, which is just a military version of the commercial DC-10. When cell phones started becoming really popular we took one up in the cockpit and turned on all the navigation systems and had a phone conversation. Sure enough, quite a few of the gauges started acting strangely. Of course, we were in the cockpit so I don't know what kind of range there would be for such an affect, we did walk into the back and the strangeness stopped.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:17 AM   #7
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This subject has already been discussed to death. I very much doubt that anyone's got anything useful to add to it that hasn't already been said a thousand times before.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:37 AM   #8
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I know that this is blasphemy on mobilereads... but I fly with paper books just so that I don't have to go for huge periods where I can't read (on my kindle).
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizwor View Post
The problem is that no airline can determine what devices will cause problems -- make no mistake, some electronic devices can interfere with radio communication. Rather than test and certify personal electronics, they ban all of them
Your argument will fall on deaf ears simply because very few people understand how electricity (and, by extension, electronics) work. At best you will get a, "but I'll turn off the Wi-Fi," because they don't understand that varying electric currents can produce spurious noise in nearby circuits.

I'm not claiming that the dangers are real. Modern devices are very low power and very high frequency, so it should be possible to design instruments for aviation that filter that noise out. On the other hand, there are so many electronic devices out there that it is (as you suggested) impossible to test everything independently.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizwor View Post
The problem is that no airline can determine what devices will cause problems -- make no mistake, some electronic devices can interfere with radio communication. Rather than test and certify personal electronics, they ban all of them. It's common sense.
They don't 'ban' them. They tell you to turn them off until the captain deems it safe, then they don't bother to check if you do or not.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:13 PM   #11
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I know that this is blasphemy on mobilereads... but I fly with paper books just so that I don't have to go for huge periods where I can't read (on my kindle).
During takeoff on one flight I was told by the flight attendant to stow my paper book.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by drofgnal View Post
Short answer is yes, they can be if the plane's electronics were not specifically designed to handle it (cable shielding, etc.) Ever put a blackberry next to a speaker phone and listen (radiated suspectiblity). Now imagine a pilot trying to listen to the tower doing critical final manuevering to landing during an IFR approach.
Ultimately, the airlines are too cheap to take the obvious answer, as are the airports themselves. Most towers (at least as of 2003, when I read some articles on this issue) are still using 1950s equipment instead of modern, more efficient GPS systems.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:53 PM   #13
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Ultimately, the airlines are too cheap to take the obvious answer, as are the airports themselves. Most towers (at least as of 2003, when I read some articles on this issue) are still using 1950s equipment instead of modern, more efficient GPS systems.
The question you have to ask yourself is why? There are probably dozens of reasons why they are sticking to the older systems and a handful of reasons to modernize. It is a lot easier to build new infrastructure (e.g. in the 1950s when air transportation was expanding) than it is to replace operating infrastructure.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:17 PM   #14
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We just flew to Arizona from Michigan and back, and on both flights they were very clear that, until we hit 10,000 feet, no electronic devices could be used, not on airplane mode, not iPods to listen to, not nothing not nohow. they were quite clear and quite emphatic about it. These were older planes, though.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:32 PM   #15
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While I generally believe it is a bunch of hogwash, I nevertheless always comply with the instructions to turn every thing off. I will, however, turn on my Kindle as soon as possible.
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