Jul 05, 2011

If airplanes want us to turn off our electronics, why are pilots using iPads?

Every time I fly, I hear the same old speech about how personal electronics can interfere with a plane's naviagation equipment, "so please shut off your laptops and phones and personal gaming devices". If that's the case, why did the FAA approve use of iPads for pilots to use on flights to hold pilot manuals, maps, weather forecasts, and the like?


Here's LifeHacker's take on it:


Here's a snippet:

"So is there actually a problem? No, not really, but it all comes down to an emergency precautions. As take off and landing account for half of flying accidents, it's important to have emergency communications available. Some of the aircraft emergency frequencies are in the lower range, which is a range more susceptible to interference. While the plane is shielded from interference, you have to ask yourself this: if your pilot needs to communicate on these lower frequencies in the event of an emergency, do you want to risk it?"

It might be that the main issue isn't the safety of the plane, but of the passengers on the plane. If you'll note, many planes have wireless internet  - but you're not allowed to use it during takeoff and landing. During those two periods, the pilot and copilot need to focus on doing their jobs, but for a good part of the flight, it's not as dangerous or stressful. During takeoff and landing, the last thing the airline staff want to be dealing with is people talking on their cellphones or blasting music on their iphones. but during the rest of the flight, it's a little more relaxed.

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