airtechy
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FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:24 pm

Maybe it will finally be OK to use non-emitting electronic devices below 10K.

http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/p...irline-electronic-devices/651721/1

Jim
 
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DocLightning
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:05 pm

Not that anyone would do that these days.

All those YouTube videos of takeoffs and landings are just extremely realistic FS/CGI, right?  
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LOWS
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:32 pm

I always thought that was in case of an emergency, so the aisle doesn't become cluttered with ipads during an emergency escape.
 
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airportugal310
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:19 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
All those YouTube videos of takeoffs and landings are just extremely realistic FS/CGI, right?

Indeed. A good point...

Quoting LOWS (Reply 2):
I always thought that was in case of an emergency, so the aisle doesn't become cluttered with ipads during an emergency escape.

Seriously! All the more reason to get into the brace position right away before some iPad kills you in an otherwise survivable accident
        
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
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LOWS
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:23 am

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 3):
Seriously! All the more reason to get into the brace position right away before some iPad kills you in an otherwise survivable accident

Nein nein nein.

So that if the plane had to turn around or there was some sort of emergency, people wouldn't be fuffing about with ipads and other gadgets.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:28 am

There's no need for the FAA to do any additional testing. I've been doing plenty of my own. The continued existence of this rule is an amazing confluence of ridiculous standards, technological ignorance, a profession that takes a bizarre pleasure out of enforcing a completely arbitrary rule to the extreme, and the lack of anyone willing to take decisive action.

If any device compliant with FCC part 15 actually poses a risk to an airplane, then the aircraft manufacturers would have been inundated with wrongful death lawsuits years ago.
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airportugal310
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:33 am

Quoting LOWS (Reply 4):
So that if the plane had to turn around or there was some sort of emergency, people wouldn't be fuffing about with ipads and other gadgets.

Well it's well documented out there that in that situation, a lot of folks will try and remove their carry-ons from the bins (why is way beyond me). So iPads would be the least of my concern in that scenario...
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
trvyyz
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:02 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 5):
If any device compliant with FCC part 15 actually poses a risk to an airplane, then the aircraft manufacturers would have been inundated with wrongful death lawsuits years ago.

That is close, FCC part 15 class B and unintentional radiator (for home use). The actual standard applied for aircrafts would be RTCA DO 160 section 21 for emission of RF energy. It has limits and lower limits for frequency band used by the aircrafts. This standard and testing is in place for so many years already.

If you have a transmit device, I am pretty sure it would cross the rtca limits at the tx frequency. The tx would FCC 15 compliant but not RTCA DO 160.

[Edited 2012-03-20 19:05:08]
 
PHX787
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:24 am

I'm not so sure, the feds might have it in with us if we start listening to Finntroll on our iPods during takeoff   

Quote:
As for other electronic devices, the FAA technically already allows them during take-off and landing – but only if an individual airline bears the burden of proving a device's safety.


I've never heard of this; I just get an earful from DL connection FAs whenever I have my camera pointed out the window   

Quote:
to certify the safety of an electronic device for safe for use below 10,000 feet, an airline would have to test "each version of a single device before it can be approved by the FAA. For example, if the airline wanted to get approval for the iPad, it would have to test the first iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad, each on a separate flight, with no passengers on the plane." The same would hold true for each version of an e-reader, music player and so on.



So it looks like this won't happen for some time, given the FAA's history :-P

IMO, why doesn't the FAA just use the nagging FA's account of me with my camera or some guy behind me with an iPod to prove that these devices won't send us crashing into the ground? What I'm saying is: it happens all the time.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:20 am

Quoting trvyyz (Reply 7):
That is close, FCC part 15 class B and unintentional radiator (for home use).

Exactly... why is there any reason to believe that category of electronics would interfere with the hardened electronics on an aircraft, especially given that aircraft are flying through those fields anyway during take-off, approach, and landing?

Quoting trvyyz (Reply 7):
The actual standard applied for aircrafts would be RTCA DO 160 section 21 for emission of RF energy. It has limits and lower limits for frequency band used by the aircrafts. This standard and testing is in place for so many years already.

Standards which have no objective basis other than "what if?" If there was any real risk to the use of portable electronics below 10,000 feet, the FA notification would be completely insufficient. The fact that they don't even attempt to verify passenger compliance beyond a glance through the cabin should tell you its nothing but theater.
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tdscanuck
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:41 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 5):
There's no need for the FAA to do any additional testing. I've been doing plenty of my own.

Then you know that it's not only possible, but very common, for transmitting electronics like cell phones to interfere with aircraft systems. Non-transmitting electronics is a different matter.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 5):
If any device compliant with FCC part 15 actually poses a risk to an airplane, then the aircraft manufacturers would have been inundated with wrongful death lawsuits years ago.

How? First you'd have to prove that the interference from your device caused the crash, then somehow explain why the OEM is at fault despite the fact that you ignored the warning to turn it off...no way that would ever survive even a cursory court challenge.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 9):
Exactly... why is there any reason to believe that category of electronics would interfere with the hardened electronics on an aircraft, especially given that aircraft are flying through those fields anyway during take-off, approach, and landing?

There's reason to believe it because there are plenty of well documented cases of interference. The "hardened electronics" like flight controls aren't the problem...it's the electronics that are designed to pick up weak RF that cause the problem. VHF, GPS, and ILS are particularly succeptable. There's documented interference from transmitting personal devices on all of those. It hasn't yet resulted in an incident, which is great, but "It hasn't caused a crash yet!" is hardly a reasonable position for the FAA to take.

Tom.
 
rcair1
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:35 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 10):
.it's the electronics that are designed to pick up weak RF that cause the problem. VHF, GPS, and ILS are particularly succeptable

Yep - 'Glide slope, glide slope' Even more concerning if in autoland.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 9):
Standards which have no objective basis other than "what if?" If there was any real risk to the use of portable electronics below 10,000 feet, the FA notification would be completely insufficient. The fact that they don't even attempt to verify passenger compliance beyond a glance through the cabin should tell you its nothing but theater.

EMI is additive. While 1 or a few devices may not create a problem, 100 may. The rule is intended to minimize, not eliminate devices. Turn on a couple hundred, it becomes a 'noisy' RF environment. In addition - damaged devices (ever drop your cell phone?) can emit at much higher levels than designed. Not saying that changing this rule is really a problem, but pointing out it is not as simple as implied. BTW - getting devices to pass RFI is non-trivial these days. I've had to make pretty major design changes in small electronic devices (read digital cameras) to get them to pass - and frankly some of those fixes are fragile. We don't have to prove they pass after a year riding around in some purse or pocket, only that they pass when we build them.
rcair1
 
shufflemoomin
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:57 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If there was any real danger or evidence of personal electronic devices causing an accident, do you really think airlines would simply rely on trust and passenger compliance? "Now, there's a handle next to you that will dump all the fuel and make one of the engines drop off. We're going to have to ask you not to touch that, okay?"
 
tdscanuck
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:11 pm

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 12):
If there was any real danger or evidence of personal electronic devices causing an accident, do you really think airlines would simply rely on trust and passenger compliance?

Yes. Because that's exactly what happens today.

The odds of a single device causing interference that results in an accident are extremely small (after all, it hasn't caused an accident yet despite causing many examples of interference). But the fault tree that results in an accident has many legs and one of those legs scales with the number of emitting devices...if half the airplane turns off their devices your probability of an interference event drops by half. Half of a tiny number is a still a tiny number, which is why none of the interference events to date have caused an accident, but just blindly *increasing* the probability of an accident because one hasn't happened yet is irresponsible.

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 12):
"Now, there's a handle next to you that will dump all the fuel and make one of the engines drop off. We're going to have to ask you not to touch that, okay?"

Don't be melodramatic; the possible interference paths are far more insidious. The most likely is that a cell phone transmit interferes with a VHF transmission (this is really common) that's safety critical...e.g. a flight crew misses a go-around command from ATC due to conflicting traffic in low visibility. Most of the other interference possibilities (GPS/ILS) are better annunciated to the crew and you just go-around if it happens while landing, but a go-around inherently has more risk than just landing so you don't want to do those unnecessarily either.

I've personnally had a cell phone step on an ATC transmission, as have most of the people I work with...do you want to just rely on luck that it won't happen again when it really matters?

Tom.
 
airtechy
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:13 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 13):

I've personnally had a cell phone step on an ATC transmission, as have most of the people I work with...do you want to just rely on luck that it won't happen again when it really matters?

While I don't doubt you Tom, if this really happened there must have been some seriously malfunctioning comm equipment on the plane you were on. The lowest cellphone band is in the 850 mhz range and aircraft comms are around 120 mhz. The front end of any comm receiver should totally reject any cell phone signal.....even if the cell phone is right at the comm antenna which of course it can't be on a commercial aircraft.

Now if you held a cellphone near a headset that has electronic noise cancelling, I can see how it might blank the audio as they are not as well designed or shielded. We had a .... insert name of expensive headset maker here..... that did this on our plane. However, this is not RF interference.

I suspect flying over a cell tower on approach would be a much worse problem.....multiple emitters from multiple cell carriers and no aircraft shielding between them and the comm....and nav....antennas.

Until someone who is an EMI expert performs some very carefully documented tests that prove otherwise, I will still take the "interference was from a cellphone" claim with a grain of salt. I certainly wouldn't want to fly on an airplane that was susceptible to any such interference.

Jim
 
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:49 pm

Quoting airtechy (Reply 14):

While I don't doubt you Tom, if this really happened there must have been some seriously malfunctioning comm equipment on the plane you were on

Nope. Nearly every aircraft I've flown, from 30 years old to factory new, I can hear when a person flying with me has a GSM cell phone that they still have on and are receiving messages. It is incredible annoying and potentially dangerous, depending on when it happens.

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NorthstarBoy
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:30 pm

Cell phones would still be banned, all other devices would be permitted. Personally, I'm all for the rule change, i'd like to be able to take pictures during taxi/takeoff/landing. Currently, I dont bother, out of concern that the 300 pound redneck sitting next to me is going to have a sudden and rapid onset of what i call "9/11 syndrome" and think I'm doing something suspicious and try to beat the crap out of me for it.
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cbphoto
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:50 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 15):
Nope. Nearly every aircraft I've flown, from 30 years old to factory new, I can hear when a person flying with me has a GSM cell phone that they still have on and are receiving messages. It is incredible annoying and potentially dangerous, depending on when it happens.
Quoting airtechy (Reply 14):
While I don't doubt you Tom, if this really happened there must have been some seriously malfunctioning comm equipment on the plane you were on. The lowest cellphone band is in the 850 mhz range and aircraft comms are around 120 mhz. The front end of any comm receiver should totally reject any cell phone signal.....even if the cell phone is right at the comm antenna which of course it can't be on a commercial aircraft.

I can vouch as well, I have heard static and other comm disruptions due to cell phone interference. I have even had a few cases where a passenger in the back cabin has caused interferences with the the comms (not just in the cockpit) That is just one cell phone, so I can only image the issues that a 100 cell phones would cause.


Another reason I thought electronic items, Ipods and MP3 players especially were banned below 10K, was if their was an emergency on take off or landing and an evacuation had to be commenced, passengers would be able to hear the egress instructions, as opposed to listening to their music and missing them.
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PITingres
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:18 pm

Quoting airtechy (Reply 14):
if this really happened there must have been some seriously malfunctioning comm equipment on the plane you were on.

No, not necessarily. It could be a malfunctioning user device, or even a device in proper compliance that just happens to be interacting with the environment in unexpected ways. We use a brand name pink-noise masker in our bedroom, and when my wife first got an iPhone and would leave it in the bedroom, its polling sequence was clearly audible over the masker's speaker -- and it has no (intentional) RF receiving ability at all!. There's not the slightest doubt that it was the iPhone, either, and given that the phone was brand new, I doubt that it was malfunctioning.

So don't be too quick to assume that FCC compliance and a couple tuned circuits are going to keep all the interference out. It's not that simple.
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airtechy
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:56 pm

Quoting PITingres (Reply 18):
We use a brand name pink-noise masker in our bedroom, and when my wife first got an iPhone and would leave it in the bedroom, its polling sequence was clearly audible over the masker's speaker -- and it has no (intentional) RF receiving ability at all!. There's not the slightest doubt that it was the iPhone, either, and given that the phone was brand new, I doubt that it was malfunctioning.

I have no doubt that the masker was interfered with by the iPhone. It is a cheap consumer non RF device that is not designed to reject almost anything.....probably toggling a nearby light switch would do the same thing. The design of consumer electronics leaves a lot to be desired and is not a valid example. It cannot be compared to electronics designed, tested, and certified for aircraft use.

I would agree that a malfunctioning device on an plane could cause interference if the interference happened to be at the right frequency and amplitude, but this could be from designed emitters such as cellphones and non-emitters such as laptops. If the FCC does in fact change the usage rule, it will be interesting to see what devices it allows to be used. Laptops tend to radiate energy from DC to light, but they are probably the electronic device most used on planes.

Known emitters will probably never be allowed, but I do find one thing interesting. Cellphones adjust their power level to the amount required to maintain a certain signal to noise ratio. When they are left on in planes they undoubtedly crank their power output to max because of the shielding of the plane which would seem to cause the maximum interference. If you've ever accidentally left one on, you'll notice that the battery is way down on landing. As logic would say many are left on, I think the lack of massive cockpit complaints of unexplained interference says a lot.

Jim
 
tdscanuck
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:24 am

Quoting airtechy (Reply 14):
While I don't doubt you Tom, if this really happened there must have been some seriously malfunctioning comm equipment on the plane you were on.

Absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's a repeatable, reliable event for brand-new equipment, even in a controlled and instrumented test environment.

Quoting airtechy (Reply 14):
The lowest cellphone band is in the 850 mhz range and aircraft comms are around 120 mhz. The front end of any comm receiver should totally reject any cell phone signal..

It's not the antenna receiver itself that's the problem...GSM cell phones couple really well into the amplifier circuits on the back-end that's feeding the headsets. It's the same thing that that causes the "dit dit dah dah daaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" over PC speakers whenever a cell phone of the right technology is nearby.

Quoting airtechy (Reply 14):
Now if you held a cellphone near a headset that has electronic noise cancelling, I can see how it might blank the audio as they are not as well designed or shielded. We had a .... insert name of expensive headset maker here..... that did this on our plane. However, this is not RF interference

It happens with any headset...I use a Telex 750 (just wires, no active noise cancelling). The problem is in the airplane side that's feeding the headset, not the headset itself.

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 15):
I can hear when a person flying with me has a GSM cell phone that they still have on and are receiving messages.

Exactly. That's the easiest, most consistent, easiest to demonstrate case.

Tom.
 
jcs17
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:51 am

I don't really see the point. Once at 10k, at most you're 15 minutes from landing. Instead they ought to crack down on lazy flight attendants who during an initial decent announcement at 30,000 feet have you stowing your electronic devices and pitching up the seat back so they can limit their trips down the cabin.
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airtechy
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:55 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 20):
It's not the antenna receiver itself that's the problem...GSM cell phones couple really well into the amplifier circuits on the back-end that's feeding the headsets. It's the same thing that that causes the "dit dit dah dah daaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" over PC speakers whenever a cell phone of the right technology is nearby.

This I could believe....especially if the headset leads were acting as an antenna. However, isn't it a stretch to expect this type of susceptibility to cause interference from an emitter in the passenger cabin? The energy level by the time it got to the cockpit must be in the low milliwatt levels.

The engineer in me would love to see a published report that...in technical terms...documented interference originating in the front end circuits of commercial aircraft receivers. I've been looking...can't find one.

Jim
 
737tdi
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:17 am

What I think is being overlooked here is that while a non transmitting electronic device has no effect, how is the flight attendant to know if your particular device is acceptable? IMO it is just ridiculous that a person can't do without their little toys until the aircraft is above 10,000 feet. Read the inflight mag. or bring a book. I fly alot, usually once or twice a week and the lack of connection to the outside world for 10 minutes is not life threatening. The use of a transmitting phone is. I have heard the interference while flying the cockpit jumpseat and it is annoying and unnecessary. JMO.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:19 am

One of the biggest wins in this announcement has nothing to do with iPads, Kindles, or the like; the biggest win here is for customers who rely upon medical personal electronic devices (MedPEDs) like pulse oximeters, CPAP machines, medical infusion pumps, and so forth.
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swafa
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:36 am

1. Can we really not do without these things for the few minutes it takes to reach 10000 feet?
2. It might be interesting to perform a mock evac with half of Customers holding laptops, tablets or listening to music with headphones (one end on the ears, the other anchored in the seat back pocket)
3. As mentioned, these items become potential projectiles during extreme negative acceleration.

It's not the interference with flight deck instruments that worries me.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:44 am

Quoting Swafa (Reply 25):
1. Can we really not do without these things for the few minutes it takes to reach 10000 feet?

In the case of some of these MedPEDs? Yes, some customers really cannot do without these things. At all.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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jreuschl
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:37 pm

Cell phones should definitely be banned. If there is a concern about safety on takeoffs and landings, then limit headphone use.

To say that you cannot use a Kindle because it might interfere, yet the whole plane can be using wifi Internet in the air above 10k, is just rediculous.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:10 pm

Quoting jreuschl (Reply 27):
To say that you cannot use a Kindle because it might interfere, yet the whole plane can be using wifi Internet in the air above 10k, is just rediculous.

Nobody is saying you can't use a Kindle above 10k, and you don't use the inflight WiFi below 10k. I'm not sure how you're comparing the two.

Tom.
 
pygmalion
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:12 pm

Quoting jreuschl (Reply 27):
To say that you cannot use a Kindle because it might interfere, yet the whole plane can be using wifi Internet in the air above 10k, is just rediculous.

Kindle's have a WiFi transmitter and some have cell phone transmittters in them. Is an FA supposed to check that the WiFi is off on your kindle? Just turn it off during the take off and landing phases.  

And just as a point of interest for those of you outside the certification part of the industry.. the requirement is that the chance of an unsafe event must be below 1x10^9th

That's one in a trillion. its a very high standard and rightly so. Testing and demonstrating that level of safety is no easy task.
 
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b727fa
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:31 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 5):
a profession that takes a bizarre pleasure out of enforcing a completely arbitrary rule to the extreme

Trust me...I get no pleasure, bizarre or otherwise from this. I knew my job had changed forever when I had to ask someone to "please turn off [their] book."

For now, it's an electronic device. Just turn it off...you'll live. Really, you might just live.
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lightsaber
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:28 am

Quoting B727FA (Reply 30):
I knew my job had changed forever when I had to ask someone to "please turn off [their] book."

   Dare I admit I've had to be told to turn off my book? (I kill the 3G as that sucks the battery life.)


I have hopes to read my book, but I see two major issues:
1. Everyone (ok, 70% of the flight) would have headphones on if the rule were dropped. That would be a safety issue.
2. Since everything is going into cell phones, allowing iPods and iPads would end up with quite a few iPhones/Android/Blackberry phones on. Ten or twenty might not be an issue, but a hundred would be.

Quoting pygmalion (Reply 29):
the requirement is that the chance of an unsafe event must be below 1x10^9th

Note: That assumes no redundancy (safety critical part, such as landing gear). Then again, trying to prove there is redundancy versus a hundred cell phones (some with wi-fi, most with bluetooth also on), would be nearly impossible.

Lightsaber
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EA CO AS
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:25 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 31):
1. Everyone (ok, 70% of the flight) would have headphones on if the rule were dropped. That would be a safety issue.

Irrelevant - what if they're not listening to headphones, but are all reading the inflight magazines? Or paperback novels? Or they're sleeping?

The point being, the "electronics off during taxi, takeoff and landing" piece has nothing to do with any perceived safety issue from being distracted since there are no regulations requiring customers be alert and focused during all phases of flight.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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lightsaber
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RE: FAA To Rethink Electronics Use Below 10K

Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:13 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 32):
Irrelevant - what if they're not listening to headphones,

Then some high fraction of the passengers could hear a safety announcement. So not irrelevant.

The chances of anything happening are far more likely below 10,000 feet than above.

Lightsaber
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