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Maybe the FAA Gadget Ban On Liftoff and Landing Isn't So Bad 414

Posted by timothy
from the you-have-your-opinion-I-have-mine dept.
First time accepted submitter oyenamit writes "Ars Technica reported a while back that FAA is going to reconsider the ban on use of electronic gadgets during take-off and landing. If this ban is revoked, you will be free to use your gizmos for an additional 30 minutes or so. Peter Bright has an interesting take on why lifting of the ban may not be such a good idea."
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Maybe the FAA Gadget Ban On Liftoff and Landing Isn't So Bad

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  • Gahh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:23PM (#39470293)

    Forget ever being able to sleep on a plane again, with 200 cell phones ringing and people playing annoying games and 100 laptop screens lighting up the cabin, just like in a movie theater, too many people going to be selfish.

    • Re:Gahh (Score:5, Funny)

      by mug funky (910186) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:59PM (#39470513)

      how much sleep do you get in that half hour? do you manage to see the safety demonstration?

      at least you'll be relaxed if there's an emergency landing.

      • Re:Gahh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by crafty.munchkin (1220528) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @11:05PM (#39471579)

        how much sleep do you get in that half hour? do you manage to see the safety demonstration?

        at least you'll be relaxed if there's an emergency landing.

        Usually I get 25 minutes sleep in that half hour. I've seen the safety presentation for every type of aircraft that I fly in currently. If there is an emergency, I hope they don't wake me up for it.

        Sleeping is by far the best way to fly.

        • Re:Gahh (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyth ... minus physicist> on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:11AM (#39471791) Homepage Journal

          Sleeping is by far the best way to fly.

          I'm of the humble opinion that every airline should offer Xanax to passengers as they board. I have a high tolerance for an awful lot of things, but Xanax puts me right to sleep.. I can be oblivious to the world from the time they push back from the gate, to the time the plane lands. It's really nice to wake up all relaxed and refreshed when I get to where I'm going. :)

          But (before anyone says it) the plane landing is enough to wake me up. That's a normal landing. If there were an incident, the adrenaline jolt would make me wide awake instantly. I hate it when there's bad turbulence. I wake up, see that we're not there yet, and go back to sleep.

          As I understand it, I am the perfect passenger for the flight crew.

          If I start multiple flights a week, I'll have to get doc to prescribe me some more Xanax. :) Crying babies? Annoying people in my row? No problem.

        • Re:Gahh (Score:4, Funny)

          by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:52AM (#39472865)
          I hope you are not the pilot :-)
    • Re:Gahh (Score:5, Funny)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @10:34PM (#39471411) Homepage Journal

      Forget ever being able to sleep on a plane again, with 200 cell phones ringing and people playing annoying games and 100 laptop screens lighting up the cabin, just like in a movie theater, too many people going to be selfish.

      I SAID I CAN'T HEAR YOU! THE PLANE IS TAKING OFF RIGHT NOW! PLEASE SAY IT AGAIN LOUDER!

      Yeah, almost as bad as the fuckwits in restaurants and theaters.

    • Re:Gahh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ultranova (717540) on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:13AM (#39472951)

      Forget ever being able to sleep on a plane again, with 200 cell phones ringing and people playing annoying games and 100 laptop screens lighting up the cabin, just like in a movie theater, too many people going to be selfish.

      ...So it's selfish to use a computer on a plane, but not selfish to complain that 200 people are not forced to sit silently because you can't be bothered to sleep at night?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:24PM (#39470297)

    ...then don't use them.

    Idiot.

  • Attention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shmlco (594907) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:24PM (#39470303) Homepage

    Seen this one before... "If something goes wrong—which is admittedly rare, but not unheard of—it is probably to the advantage of all involved that they're paying at least some attention to what is going on around them."

    And not to an iPad! Or iPhone! Or a SkyMall magazine! Or an in-flight magazine! Or a magazine in general! Or a paperback! Or a hardback! Or sleeping! Or entertaining the kids! Or...

    You get the idea. Not to mention that a sudden and rapid descent and/or crash will probably grab pretty much everyone's attention, no matter how engrossed they are in Angry Birds....

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:40PM (#39470417)

      Seen this one before... "If something goes wrong—which is admittedly rare, but not unheard of—it is probably to the advantage of all involved that they're paying at least some attention to what is going on around them."

      And not to an iPad! Or iPhone! Or a SkyMall magazine! Or an in-flight magazine! Or a magazine in general! Or a paperback! Or a hardback! Or sleeping! Or entertaining the kids! Or...

      You get the idea. Not to mention that a sudden and rapid descent and/or crash will probably grab pretty much everyone's attention, no matter how engrossed they are in Angry Birds....

      I've heard this argument repeatedly and it is out of hand absurd. What of all the people who can't understand the language, are hard of hearing, too young etc.? Want to ban them from flying. As with all books/magazines/newspapers. Not to mention any medication which may make the occupants sleepy.

      Perhaps we should require everyone to become a qualified airline pilot just in case!? And arrest them if they've had any alcohol - after all they may need to take over the plane. Next step: ban flying altogether.

      Why is this RUBBISH on the front page?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hawguy (1600213)

        I've heard this argument repeatedly and it is out of hand absurd. What of all the people who can't understand the language, are hard of hearing, too young etc.? Want to ban them from flying. As with all books/magazines/newspapers. Not to mention any medication which may make the occupants sleepy.

        Plus the pre-departure drinks that flight attendants serve in first class. If absolute concentration during takeoff and landing is required, perhaps they should stop serving alcohol before departure and stop serving 4 hours before landing.

      • by kaiser423 (828989)
        Exactly. If they're really serious about this, they should really implement a "Keep Your Shoes On" policy. The chances of survival in an airplane crash where you have to egress around debris/burning material is near nil.

        Even better would be a "No Open Toed Shoes" policy.

        Or the policy makers should realize that these events are rare enough that they're always going to catch people off guard regardless of what policies you institute.
      • No shit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:43PM (#39470799)

        If distraction is the issue, fine, but then I'd better see legislation dealing with that. If the rule was "You may not have anything in your hands or on your lap during takeoff and landing. You must face forward and direct all attention towards the flight deck in case the attendants or captain has something you need to know." If we want to go that route of extreme stupidity in the name safety, ok, but you can't somehow argue that it is for no distractions and then still say books are ok.

        What's more, if we go that route you'd better do all that in cars first. Far more people die in car accidents than plane crashes and their attention is extremely relevant since they are the operator. So no food, no music, no talking on the phone, eyes on the road, mirrors, or instruments at all time, etc.

        Of course we don't have those rules and that is because the no electronics on flights is not one of personal safety, it is one of plane safety. The FAA is worried stray signals could fuck up the plane. Ok maybe that was reasonable in the 70s and 80s, it is fucking stupid now. Test the things, if anything CAN interfere fix it and fix it now, as planes should not be so fragile as to be harmed by stray RFI/EMI and then allow devices on the damn planes at all times.

        As to his "spiritual" argument? That tells you all you need to know right there. The guy is an unmitigated selfish jackass. Seriously if you seek spirituality in a plane takeoff, you need to examine your fucking life.

      • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday March 25, 2012 @09:26PM (#39471031) Homepage

        Why is this RUBBISH on the front page?

        Because the stupid people that rule the world have finally taken over our beloved site.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:25PM (#39470313) Homepage

    TFA makes it sound as if keeping the ban is simply a nice way to preserve some "spiritual" time for yourself when you aren't tempted to use gadgets. That's not nearly as important as the effect on the person sitting next to the gadget user. Flying on airplanes has already become a really miserable experience these days. If I had to sit next to someone yakking nonstop on their cell phone for a 10-hour flight, I would go absolutely nuts. Even in places like the public library or the waiting room for jury duty, there are cell phone blabberers who simply cannot be convinced that their conversation is anappropriate and bothersome to others.

    • by nemui-chan (550759) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:33PM (#39470361) Homepage
      On any flight I go on, I have noise cancelling headphones. You can get a nice pair for ~$40 or so.
    • by mjwx (966435) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:44PM (#39470441)

      TFA makes it sound as if keeping the ban is simply a nice way to preserve some "spiritual" time for yourself when you aren't tempted to use gadgets. That's not nearly as important as the effect on the person sitting next to the gadget user. Flying on airplanes has already become a really miserable experience these days. If I had to sit next to someone yakking nonstop on their cell phone for a 10-hour flight, I would go absolutely nuts. Even in places like the public library or the waiting room for jury duty, there are cell phone blabberers who simply cannot be convinced that their conversation is anappropriate and bothersome to others.

      This man speaks the truth.

      This sadly is something I've actually heard from a man using his mobile on the plane.
      "Guess where I'm calling you from."
      "GUESS WHERE I"M CALLING YOU FROM"
      /brief pause
      "I'm on a plane"
      "I'M ON A PLANE"
      "I'M ON A PLANE"

      At this point two of the flight attendants arrive to tell the man to turn off his phone and he asks if they could turn the engines down so he can talk to his friend. They confiscated his phone and he spent the next 20 minutes complaining about it until one of the other passengers said he'd "knock his teeth out if he didn't shut up".

      I'd like to add to this the arm swinging. Most people already have enough trouble trying to sit still and not elbow the person next to them. Add a tablet to this and all of a sudden there's arms flailing everywhere, elbows hitting you from nasal to naval and the best this person offers you is a meek "I'm sorry" before going back to having a fit.

      Personally, I love flying. It's the other passengers I cant stand.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Even in places like the public library or the waiting room for jury duty, there are cell phone blabberers who simply cannot be convinced that their conversation is anappropriate and bothersome to others.

      Polite confrontation usually works.
      And for the people who aren't polite, you get a librarian/baliff/usher/etc to tell them they're annoying others and STFU or go outside.
      I've been thanked by others more than once after a movie, because I spoke up and told someone to STFU or stop texting.

      If we want a polite society, we have to ask for it ourselves... and try not to get stabbed in the process
      /get off my lawn

    • There is something to be said for not being transfixed by an electronic gizmo.

      Freedom: the ability to choose and execute your choice without restraint.

      So, FAA makes you not-free to use your gadget, but arguably is helping you make the occasional choice to put it down.

      I knew several physicians who refused to ever carry a cellphone as late as 1999... why? Freedom.

    • This. If the goal is spiritual and personal - then you really need to cultivate the self control to avoid using a gadget at all. I've gone on long flights and consciously chose to avoid listening to my ipod or watching the in flight tv/movies. However if the goal is stopping the annoyance of other people on their phones, then it would need to explicitly have that aim and be flight long. Noise canceling headphones are great for ambient noise, but do nothing to cancel out variable noises like conversation
    • by forand (530402) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:56PM (#39470861) Homepage
      If you had RTFA you would have noted that the ban on cell phones is not being revisited. That is cell phones will continue to be banned during flight.
    • by CapOblivious2010 (1731402) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @09:09PM (#39470939)
      Did you READ TFA? He's not talking about lifting the ban on talking on the phone - he's talking about lifting the ban on having gizmos powered on during the takeoff and landing. If you can tolerate someone next to you reading a kindle or playing angry birds for 10 hours, you can tolerate it for another 30 minutes.

      His real point is that he's too weak to turn his gizmos off when he wants some down time, so he wants to make sure no one else can use theirs either.

      Actually, I wonder - if that's the only time he can get away from his gizmos, does he book pointless flights back and forth across the country, with as many stops as possible, just to get some quiet time?
    • And then everyone looks at you crazy when you parody the rude person by holding your phone up to your ear and shouting "LALALA! I'm an incosiderate asshole who talks on his phone in public! Fuck waiting until I won't annoy everyone else, I gotta talk about boring buisiness stuff now! LALALALA!"
  • Uhhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SaroDarksbane (1784314) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:26PM (#39470315)
    His argument is that we need to keep a worthless federal regulation on the books (and remember, you can be charged with a felony for not complying) because it . . . preserves the "spiritualness" of the takeoff and landing period.

    That's not an argument, that's just bullshit.
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:26PM (#39470319) Homepage Journal

    But the more important reason to preserve the current rules is a spiritual one.

    Okay, I've read enough. He doesn't really have a good argument for this.

    How did this lame article get promoted?

  • Screw off. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mpoulton (689851) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:29PM (#39470329)
    May I be the first to say, "SCREW OFF!" The entire argument is that the federal government should enforce a nationwide ban on the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing, backed by criminal penalties for violation, simply because this author believes it's good for everyone to take a little break from their gadgets every now and then? Even if there's absolutely no safety issue? Jesus. Thankfully that basis for such a regulation clearly doesn't pass constitutional muster, even under the current interpretation of the 10th Amendment. People who think government should work like this are what's wrong with this country.
  • Article summary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:31PM (#39470341) Homepage

    The government should ban something because some guy on the Internet thinks "our entertainment must come from within, not without."

    • by xandroid (680978)

      Or: the government doesn't need to rethink pointless rules because of get off my lawn, damn kids.

    • by Daetrin (576516)
      This guy has insufficient imagination. When they tell me to turn off my electronic devices i pull out my book and start reading. (If i wasn't already busy doing that in the first place.) You know... a book? No, not an ebook, one of those old things made out of paper that you don't need to turn on and off.

      Of course i'll usually take a break and look out the window when it's actually time to take off, but there's usually a long period of taxiing before the takeoff and then a long period between when we pass
  • I don't buy the safety in case something goes wrong bit any more than I buy the interference bit that has been the usual answer to why you cant have your laptop on during these times.

    They won't let you have your laptop, or tablet, or mp3 player, or ebook reader, some say because they want you to be able to pay attention incase something goes wrong. Load of crap if you ask me. If that were the case, how come I can sit down, buckle up, put in ear plugs, and fall asleep, all before we've left the gate, and
  • It always struck me as odd that you can't take in a 100mL bottle of water but they allow devices that can supposedly interfere with the plane, ensuring they are turned off only with an honour system.

    If there was the remotest chance their $millions worth of plane and PR could be brought down by your phone no one would be allowed them.

    The article, though, is pretty light - suggesting aviation authorities should maintain the ban to give for the 'spiritual' reason of giving us a break from technology.

    • by jd (1658)

      Given that there aren't any liquid explosives capable of downing a plane, chances (remote or otherwise) aren't important factors in what goes on in these decisions,

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:39PM (#39470411)

    I can foresee the author's arguments moving into new areas. A new Wii splash screen, for example.

    "Why not take a break? IT'S THE LAW."

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I can foresee the author's arguments moving into new areas. A new Wii splash screen, for example.

      "Why not take a break? IT'S THE LAW."

      At least one MMOG I've played already bugs you to take a break after a couple of hours. Guild Wars, maybe?

  • I've always stopped whatever I'm doing during take off and landing. It doesn't matter if I'm in a really good spot in a book, or engrossed in a great conversation; at these times I stop. Even if I were allowed to used a portable electronic device, I'd still stop for landings and take offs.

    Why? This will sound strange. Take offs and landings are the riskiest phase of a flight. I don't want to die and miss out on the experience. For whatever reason, I want to be in the here and now in the event of a catastrop

    • by manoweb (1993306)
      During takeoff, for whatever reason, I seldom fall asleep. Landing instead is almost erotic to me.
    • by Wovel (964431)

      I have flown 2+ times a week for the past 15 years or so. I usually stop what aim doing too. Never really thought about why. However, I woul love to continue reading my kindle during the 45 minute taxis to takeoff.

    • by MachDelta (704883) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:26PM (#39470695)

      Personally i've always been enthralled by the goings-on of take-off and landing. I'm a bit of a gearhead though, so things like the whine of a turbocharger spooling up, a rotary engine with a lopey idle, the pop of an open exhaust, etc have always held my attention. To that end, a jet powered aircraft is an extreme version of a lot of these things. The feeling of n-thousand pounds of thrust pushing you back in the seat, the howl of a turbine climbing through several octaves that never seems like it will stop ascending, whining hydraulics and various mechanical sounds of things opening or closing... all of that stuff makes me secretly giddy.

      I'll never forget being ~10 years old and landing at Vancouver - I was sitting at a window right behind the wing and it was the first time in my life i'd ever seen thrust reversal. The back of the turbine housing splitting and then rejoining like that nearly had me convinced that the airplane was actually a transformer. The only thing better than seeing it was hearing and feeling the engines at full throttle as they (and the brakes) struggled mightily against the plane's momentum. It's one of those surreal awe-struck moments forever lodged in my mind.

      I've enjoyed that visceral, mechanical part of flying ever since. I've always had to resist the urge to shout - over screaming turbines, little old ladies praying, and children crying - "THIS IS F*%KING AWESOME!!!" during takeoff/landing.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      Takeoff is my best opportunity to fall asleep on a flight.

      The acceleration and the slight incline of the plane serve to make your seat feel that much less vertical, and I'm usually tired when I get on a plane for one reason or other. So I just drift off and hope to miss as much of the flight as I can that way.

  • As a pilot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:45PM (#39470447)

    I forbid the use of electronic devices on my aircraft from door close to door open - that is my right as pilot in command and the person responsible for the lives of everyone on my aircraft.

    My employer fully supports this and gives me extra magazines, newspapers, and a bunch of flight-length short stories that people can borrow to read - although the reason they support it so well is because alcohol sales on my flights are 5x the average for my company.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:50PM (#39470485) Homepage

    I hope the author realizes his argument applies to mostly anything one wants:

    "I think people should be banned from talking all Tuesdays for spiritual reasons. There's something to be said about having a day to listen to your own thoughts"

    "I think everyone should forced to wear burkas for spiritual reasons. There's something to be said about being free from sexual attraction in daily life"

    "I think Peter Bright should be banned from writing articles for spiritual reasons. There's something to be said about preventing people from reading his dumb apologies of abusive government bans."

  • Ommmmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retroworks (652802) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:57PM (#39470507) Homepage Journal
    "Ladies and gentlemen, the pilot requests that all passengers put their trays forward, put their seat back in their forward position, turn off all electronic devices, and chant the spiritual mantra of the Ars Technica Church of spirituality for the next fifteen minutes prior to landing."
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falling_Down [wikipedia.org]

    I'm generally an easy going guy, but I have never been closer to murdering a total stranger in public than when some asshole starting talking loudly on a quiet train into his cellphone

    simple decency consideration and respect. some people do not understand the concept

    i can only imagine the douchebaggery that will go on and bring airplane travel into an even worse circle of hell, if that is even possible, when utterly socially inept twatstains start yammering about the

  • by ebonum (830686) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:11PM (#39470573)

    Modern planes are designed to take lightening strikes. Their electrical systems are designed to be shielded and highly resistant to interference.

    If a 2 watt cell phone signal causes problems in a relatively new plane, I would argue there is a significant problem in the plane's electrical systems. Either the electrical systems are damaged or there is a design flaw.

  • The lasting thing one should want in a plane is when the landing is rough, or even worse, a crash, is to be getting hit by the Ipod or Ipad from the guy sitting 17 seats behind you. In the event of a crash where the cabin will fill with smoke in just seconds you don't want to be navigating the exit lights while avoiding slipping over a tablet or other gadget. What if the guy next to you, at the exit-zone, is sitting there with his tablet when you need to (e)vacate the plane? That is costing you precious sec
  • by Enry (630) <enry&wayga,net> on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:16PM (#39470625) Journal

    But that article is Jon Katz stupid.

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:21PM (#39470665)

    So we need a government agency to enforce peacefulness upon us? Seriously?

    Can't I just go for a hike when I want some peace?

  • I'm sure someone is going to try to make the same argument about a hard-back book, but in general, the things people hold in their hands on planes (paperback books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) are light and soft, so if the plane were to lurch suddenly, and they were to go flying through the cabin and hit someone in the head, it wouldn't hurt. On the other hand, an iPhone, iPad, Nook, etc. are rigid objects, and some of these things are moderately heavy too, making them potentially dangerous should they im

  • The last thing I want is for all those 'important' people to talk from the time they get on the plane until the time they get off the plane. If you switch from 'turn your phones off or we're all going to die' over to 'be nice and don't talk on your phone during takeoff and landing' it'll be nothing but people talking the entire trip. People aren't nice.

  • by T-Bucket (823202) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @10:09PM (#39471273) Homepage

    I will confirm the fact that phone use during taxi, takeoff, or landing IS potentially harmful to the airplane. Ever leave your phone near your computer speakers and get a text message? That DITDITDITDAAAAAAATTTDITDIT noise it makes is sometimes audible over the communications radios. One phone is annoying. Fifty phones may overwhelm the ATC transmitter. (Keep in mind that the antennas on most airliners are on the top and bottom back where the passengers are, NOT in the cockpit).

    As for ipads and kindles? No problem whatsoever.

    (And yes, I am an airline pilot. I have experiences this stuff personally.)

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday March 26, 2012 @01:53AM (#39472117) Homepage Journal
    One: If even as powerful a transmitter as a cellphone (Which is what I expect would cause the most interference of any electronic device) can bring a plane down, perhaps we should rethink the fragility of the designs of our aircraft before some terrorist asshole realizes how easy they are to take down.

    And

    Two: If you can't sit quietly and do nothing for 30 minutes during a takeoff or landing, perhaps you should turn all your shit off and reflect on your sad little life and just where you went wrong with it.

    • Of course, that's assuming that takeoff and landing are 30 minutes. Sometimes I've been on a plane which had to wait out on the tarmack for as long as an hour (and there have been other cases which were quite a bit longer which I didn't personally experience). How do I deal with all that time? Well, if my seatmate doesn't feel like conversing, I usually read a book. I don't think that wanting to read a book when there's nothing else to do means that I have a sad little life, but maybe you think that mak

  • by Marrow (195242) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:01AM (#39473195)

    And ebook reader is such a low-power device, it should be exempted from the ban. Just make them disable wireless on it if necessary.
    And I thought the linked article and its rationale were pretty much worthless.

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