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F.A.A. Approves iPads in Cockpits, But Not for Passengers

The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that pilots on American Airlines flights would be allowed to use iPads instead of paper flight manuals in the cockpit starting Friday, even during takeoff and landing. But, passengers are still required to shut down anything with the slightest electronic pulse from the moment a plane leaves the gate until it reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet. ( More...

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As far as cellphones, they should not be allowed for the comfort of the other passengers. As for ipads and other electronic devices, I don't see why they cannot be used. I assume, unless you're afraid of flying, most people are not focusing on the plane taking off or landing. Pilots in the back, maybe. To be honest as a pax, there's not much you can do with or without your ipad except maybe pull up on the armrest or lift your feet off the ground. So this being alert stuff, I think its a weak reason for not allowing electronics if thats really the case.
Dan Genaw 0
I have to say, irrelevant. Some airlines have been using handheld tablets for years, just not iPads. Get over it. I believe the ban is exactly for what Watch Dog said. I'd rather have a 3 lb. hardcover book come flying at my face than 2 lbs. of something that's half glass.
Jmumman 0
The iPad doesn't use paper, so it also saves trees.
Traditional flight manuals weigh up 11kg, while iPads weigh 680 grams
...and how exactly would it come flying at you?
Michael Yockey 0
Physics would bear you out incorrect. If a hardcover book does indeed weigh more than an iPad, you'd be better served to be hit with the iPad. Force does, after all, equal mass times acceleration. An item with more mass will do more damage at greater speed.
Yes, but what Dan means is he would rather have that extra pound than glass in his eyes...
joe milazzo 0
I use the iPad in the cockpit from nav charts, flight planing, and weather. The iPad is craddled in a mount and is very secure. There is no "Words with Friends" going on. It's all business!!
Except on the NWA flight that bypassed Minneapolis by 100 miles going on the internet or WHO Knows what they were doing. I think it could still be a distraction.
Watch Dog 0
Being facetious of course with my Words w/ Friends comment. I just believe that if something is TSO'd, passengers should be allowed to use them.

But the reality is that above 10k pax may do so all day long. The real issue is these items being a distraction or a projectile. All-in-all, anything distracting passengers during critical phases of flight should not be allowed. Pax need to be ready to follow flight crew instructions in case an evacuation must take place.

I would just rather the politicians and airline industry ban use of anything during critical phases, including food and drink. I also believe pax should be woken up if asleep. Use the issue of passenger alertness and evac from the airplane as the reason and stop using the B.S. of electronic interference. We all know it really has no impact. If that were the case, GoGo would not exist nor would EFBs and/or use of laptops, cellphones in airplane mode, ipods and ipads above 10k, nor would aircraft be allowed to have on board entertainment.

Dan Genaw 0
The main difference between cell phones and WiFi is one uses a satellite on the plane to connect to satellites and one uses cell towers to connect to satellites. I know it doesn't seem like much of a difference, but it's enough to allow WiFi on airplanes.

As for interference, will it cause the airplane to flip over and do a nose dive? No. However, I can say that I sat in my flight deck while a pax placed a call (We were on the ground, parked at the gate, perfectly legal) I saw my course needle on my HSI sway a few degrees. It went from about a half dot off to a quarter dot off. As soon as the pax hung up, it stopped swaying. Could it have been an airplane taxiing between my aircraft and the VOR and had absolutely nothing to do with the guy on his phone? Possibly.

Not to mention anytime anyone has a Blackberry seated directly under/over my Comm antennae, I get the feedback in my headset.

As for distractions, I have witnessed a few times passengers seated in the exit rows being woken up during the sterile cockpit. Other than that, I can't really say much on the issue.
kingstonsean 0
The FAA tests were done with the device in "airplane mode". How can they be sure the pilots will remember to put their iPads in airplane mode during critical phases of flight? Or does it even matter? I think if it mattered they implement some sort of warning system or put would put some sort of fail safe measures in place.
deric miller 0
So, If you think the passangers should be allowed to have and use anything that Pilots have to avoid the double standard, then I guess your ok with passangers having a hand gun?
Greg Lundgren 0
Remember the flight that overflew Minneapolis by 175 miles? They called Minneapolis Center and announced they would start their approach from EauClaire WI? Food for thought GXL
preacher1 0
Got to agree with Joe above; It shouldn't be anything but business. All the restrictions, per an article posted here the other day are erring on the side of caution by the FAA in restricting their use, in that they just don't know and that any interference may be so momentary, you could not track it down or test for it anyway. The projectile issue is a valid one too. I personally detest hearing one side of a cell phone converstaion in close proximity as well.
jerry rembold 0
Actually you are all blaming the wrong party. The FAA has given permission for use of the electronic devices if the operator of the aircraft has proved that the devices don't cause interference.


Here is the text straight from the Federal Regulations:
§ 91.21 Portable electronic devices.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any of the following U.S.-registered civil aircraft:
(1) Aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate; or
(2) Any other aircraft while it is operated under IFR.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to—
(1) Portable voice recorders;
(2) Hearing aids;
(3) Heart pacemakers;
(4) Electric shavers; or
(5) Any other portable electronic device that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.

(c) In the case of an aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate, the determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be used. In the case of other aircraft, the determination may be made by the pilot in command or other operator of the aircraft.
Well jerry now Baldwin can bitch some more.
Watch Dog 0
Hmm, let's see. NWA, no laptops in cockpit. Baldwin, no ipad. But, pilots can play words with friends all they want.

I like the ipad, but not the double standard.

Although I would say stow electronic devices and other stuff more because in an accident they can become deadly projectiles. Radio interference? Nahhh, more like deadly missiles.
KW10001 0
The only reason why electronics are not allowed for passengers is not because they pose a safety risk, but because the TSA wants to minimize the risk of someone with malicious intent, using their device to hijack something within the airplane (not hijack the actual airplane, but maybe jamming or attempting to block a signal in the airplane). The excuse that these electronics can interfere with the airplane itself is just a way to scare the passengers into not wanting to break the rule. In reality, all electronics interfere with one another some how. A pocket watch is strong enough to create SOME sort of interference with the airplane. But these systems are shielded, and very well protected from pretty much everything.
Watch Dog 0
Kylan, I sure hope you don't honestly believe that TSA nonsense. These rules have been in effect for years, way before the TSA was in existence. Now, that's not to say using electronics to interfere with the aircraft one way or another is not a valid concern, but I do not consider it a reason for the rules. After all, applying the TSA's logic to the equation would mean all electronic devices would be banned. I mean heck, this is the agency we're talking about that likes to grope toddlers and grannies in wheelchairs; the same agency who is known for being entirely reactive and not at all proactive. Just sayin...


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