FCC Chairman Genachowski Calls For Lift of Airline Electronics Restrictions

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News Posted: Sat, Dec 8 2012 10:06 PM
One of the more annoying parts of flying, outside of the ridiculous TSA security process and the notoriously packed flights, is the whole "turn your phones off" thing before taking off. While the skeptics would argue that it's just a myth that a phone could wreck a plane's GPS system, the FAA takes the "better safe than sorry route." But now, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is seemingly ready to take a second look at just how practical these silly rules are. Forcing people to turn everything off between the ground and 10,000 feet (on both ends of a flight) is pretty annoying, especially to businesspeople who are trying to make an office out of the sky and utilize that Gogo connection for all that it's worth.

The FCC head is now coming out to say that devices like smartphones and tablets, even in the sky, can "empower people" and lead to economic benefits. His letter, in part, reads: "I write to urge the FAA to enable greater use of tablets, e-readers and other portable electronic devices during flight, consistent with public safety. The review comes at time of tremendous innovation as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives. They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost US competitiveness."


It's unclear if this will be the moment that spurs the ban on devices to be lifted, but it's about as good a chance as any. We'd surely appreciate it, and we're guessing that most business flyers would as well.
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I would very much enjoy this.

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I like those headphones in the picture,.........

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We have this same argument in the medical field.  It's believed that cell phone interference can interfere with medical equipment, or telemetry items (wireless) that are used to measure patients vital signs while they're on the move.  The best I've ever heard from anyone is certain devices caused interference when the cell phone was placed inches away, and that was only one case.  So there's not a whole lot of evidence saying cell phone can really disrupt any type of electric or magnetic field.  

  However, take a wireless device (such as a baby monitor) and put your cell phone next to it and you can see it distorts the signal.  I was actually using an old rabbit ears antenna the other day, and every time my cell phone got close to the antenna the tv would lose reception.  

  So obviously, there is some issues with proximity of the mobile device next to the device in question, but everything i've seen relates this to data, not to the electro magnetic field generated by the device.  In the end, i'd rather be safe and say keep them off, then cause an issue and see someone die.

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I am all for taking this rule out of effect.

I support this being taken out, however, I would only want it removed until signs turned up of interference with the devices. It makes me confused that this rule was put in almost entirely based on rumors...

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Well it's was banned because you have radiowaves messing with other radiowaves.  It's inevitable.  Sensitive data being transmitted over a wireless frequency can easily be manipulated by interference, therefore you get something completely wrong.  I've seen telemetry in hospitals shut off when a nurse turned on a microwave the floor beneath the server room, or when a fire alarm panel had some shitty capacitors that were causing a huge electro magnetic interference in that one room alone. 

  So we know what they're capable of.  The real question is there actually any technology on an airplane that could be damage or rendered inaccurate by a simple electro magnetic field.  I don't think so, and even mythbusters pretty much busted this myth a few years ago.

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