Gadgets to be allowed during all phases of flight

2013-10-02 12:19

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2013-08-30 14:16

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in June 2013 it was looking to scrap the ban on inflight gadget use, including during landing and take-off.

Despite growing scpeticism by the likes of you and I about our little devices ability to affect a massive', million-dollar plane, the FAA ordered rigourous testing nonetheless.

The committee tasked with investigating the use of these devices at all altitude levels, has submitted its report to the FAA and is recommending that electronic devices — namely tablets, e-readers and other PEDs — be allowed during all phases of flight. We could be using these as early as next year if the report is accepted and the laws are adjusted.

So what were the findings you may be wondering?

The committee’s report said many new generation aircraft have the appropriate shielding to prevent any interference from PEDs that may be on board. But the cloud to this silver lining is that the committee is maintaining restrictions on devices capable of connecting to a mobile phone network and/or with data communication capability. So don't expect to be talking on your smart phone during take-offs and landings any time soon - flight mode still applies here.

But why?

According to, mobile phones searching for a network tower emits much higher energy radio waves and is therefore more likely to cause electromagnetic interference (EMI). Another concern is that a plane flying with several hundreds of phones attempting to connect to a nearby tower would cause unnecessary strain on the mobile phone network.

However, some airlines are already offering products that allows their passengers to make phone calls on their flight. Emirates has been pushing for this technology for several years. It relies on pio-cell technology which is basically an on-board antenna which relays calls to towers on the ground. The system is controlled by the flight crew.

But while this move may seem self-evident to most passengers who admit to not switching off their phones during a flight, the experts have safety as their foremost concern - which is why the panel said a ban should remain on browsing the Internet and sending or receiving texts and emails while the plane is flying below 10 000 feet. Those activities could be allowed again once the WiFi in the plane was activated.

Still not convinced? Watch this College Humour spoof...

Read more on:    flights  |  travel  |  travel international  |  aviation

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