Electronics to be allowed during takeoff & landing

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    NY Times: F.A.A. Nears New Rules on Devices (Sept 23 2013)

    This week, an F.A.A. advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most of the restrictions. The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos, according to several of the panel’s members who requested anonymity because they could not comment on the recommendations. The ban on sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place, as is the prohibition on making phone calls throughout the flight, the panel members said. The panel will recommend its new policy to the F.A.A. by the end of the month and it will most likely go into effect next year.
     
  2. FliesWay2Much

    FliesWay2Much Original Member

    I recall that the ban on electronics and cellphones had nothing to do with interference, but everything with industry strong-arming. There is also a big technical reason inhibiting use of cell phones.

    The strong-arming back in the 80s and 90s involved GTE, which, as many of you recall, had a pretty much exclusive arrangement with aircraft manufacturers to install the infamous GTE Airphones on a large majority of commercial aircraft. If I recall correctly, they operated in the UHF band and were fully integrated into the aircraft's RF comm system. Since they enjoyed their monopoly and the ability to charge several dollars per minute + a hefty connection fee, you might expect that GTE was reluctant to allow any competition. They successfully threw up roadblocks after roadblocks, which included lobbying, to ensure that the FAA could never come up with any result other than "inconclusive." The physics of RF says that there is a very low probability of interference from any portable electronic device. In fact, aircrews routinely use iPads in the cockpit for maps and charts.

    The issue of cellphones is another matter. In order to make in-flight use of cellphones reliable, the companies would have to redesign their towers and antennas to point up as well as horizontally and downward. Towers would have to be close enough together to permit connectivity of an end unit speeding through its territory at 600 mph & 30,000' in the air. Right now, there isn't anywhere close to a return on investment for the Verizons, ATTs, and T-Mobiles. You would have to use a satellite-augmented system such as what Lightsquared almost deployed a couple of years ago, at the expense of destroying GPS. A satellite-based system would be essential if anyone expects cell phones to work over open ocean or remote land areas.

    DirecTV is easier because the antennas are small and there is a relatively small number of spacecraft needed to cover the entire CONUS. Sirius/XM is also a pretty simple issue for the same reason.

    You are likely to see a relaxation of the rules because GTE is no longer the industry giant is used to be and there are huge market forces from Apple, Samsung, etc. Cellphones are a long way off, if they ever get there, because of the huge infrastructure investment.
     

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