Let me ask you this: 'Why do you need to turn off devices before a plane takes off or lands?'
Saturday 10 May 2014
There are a number of reasons that you're asked to turn off your electronics for those phases of flight – and interference with the instrumentation is only one of them.
Mobile phones and devices equipped with Wi-Fi (like a Kindle or iPad) are the chief offenders. I have personally had mobile phones interfere with my headset a number of times... it creates a kind of buzzing sound that comes in spurts when the device is searching for a signal. It's annoying and has caused me to not hear a controller's instructions a couple of times.
The IATA (International Air Transport Association) published a report in which they observed 75 cases in the past few years where interference was suspected. Again, these were not test conditions... but the crew reported issues with all kinds of systems, made an announcement that people needed to shut stuff off, and then the problem went away.
The other reason the airlines want you to shut off your electronic gadgetry is that it's a distraction during a phase of flight where they might need your attention. Headphones interrupt what you might hear during an emergency, hand-held games have a way of absorbing people's attention, etc. Take the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson, for example. That whole ordeal lasted only a few minutes, and the crew wouldn't have had time to repeat themselves to people who weren't listening.
So those are the reasons from a logical point of view. From a legal point of view, you're required to comply with the crew's instructions – failure to do so violates a federal law (found in part 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations). They don't often seek punishment for violations of this reg, but it has happened.
John Fiscus, chief pilot, flight instructor at The Flight Academy
Here's some great quotes from airline pilots about the topic:
"We don't make you stow your laptop because we're worried about electronic interference. It's about having a projectile on your lap. I don't know about you, but I don't want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 miles per hour." – Patrick Smith
"People don't understand why they can't use their mobile phones. Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are." – Jim Tilmon
"We're not trying to ruin your fun by making you take off your headphones. We just want you to be able to hear us if there's an emergency." – Patrick Smith
Katie Shackelford, pilot
These answers all come from quora.com, the popular online Q&A service. Ask any question and get real answers from people in the know
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...