Electronics On A Plane
Shutting off personal electronics during take-offs and landings on commercial airlines has long been an annoyance, and as our lives become more reliant and intertwined with personal electronic devices, It is getting harder to hit that power button. One has to ask, "How the hell is my 1 inch iPod shuffle going to cause a plane to crash?" Well we might soon get an honest answer from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA is finally looking for information to help air carriers and operators decide if they can allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today's aircraft. They will also acquire more safety data to make sure that future aircraft designs are protected form electronic interferences.
Now, I am fully aware that many of you, like myself, have risked your lives and the lives of every other passenger the flight to test out if your iPod could really take down a plane. Just act like you are sleeping, leave your music on, put on your hood, and enjoy the music until the plane is safely on the ground. Works like a charm!
But it is not quite as simple as that. Boeing reports a number of safety incident where personal electronic devices are suspected of interfering with aircraft systems, including a laptop that may have caused a 737 autopilot to disconnect, and a palmtop that was reported to have caused a 747 to start a shallow bank turn.
Boeing also conducted a lab and airplane test with 16 cell phones typical of those carried by passengers to determine the emission characteristics of these intentionally transmitting portable electronic devices. The results indicated that the phones not only produce emissions at the operating frequency, but also produce other emissions that fall within airplane communication and navigation frequency bands.
So what does all this mean? Well from what I can tell, a basic MP3 player is not going to interfere with the plane. But until the FAA says that it is safe to use cell phones and laptops, keep those fuckers off for the 30-40 minutes they request during takeoffs and landings.