FAA Reconsidering Ban on Gaming During Takeoff

FAA Reconsidering Ban on Gaming During Takeoff

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Frequent fliers have had it with not having Snakes on their planes.

One of the great things about handheld gaming, especially in light of the proliferation of powerful smartphones, is that it is now very possible to effortlessly play videogames just about anywhere. However, there still are a few locations preventing the free and open play of our chosen hobby, most noticeably on airplanes. This is due to a federal regulation stating that all personal electronics need to be turned off when the plane is below 10,000 feet out of a fear that they will interfere with navigational equipment, ultimately risking the lives of everyone on-board. In light of recent studies suggesting that the science behind the regulation is entirely made up, the Federal Aviation Administration is forming a committee to revisit the issue, with the possibility of overturning it in March of next year.

For years now, the FAA has been aware that most personal electronics like cell phones are unlikely to interfere with a plane's navigation. The simple fact of the matter is that most airline equipment is shielded to prevent interference, and even if it wasn't, airline equipment uses an entirely different set of radio frequencies than those on commercially-made products. The problem is that there is little scientific evidence going the exact opposite direction; since there is nothing to suggest that personal electronics couldn't impact navigation, the FAA is erring on the side of caution with their regulation.

While it's certainly a good sign to see the FAA revisiting the topic, it's worth noting that there are reasons beyond interference that could support the regulation. In a press release, the FAA noted that passengers are less likely to pay attention to safety instructions with their electronics turned on, and cell phone calls can even act as an irritating distraction to others on the plane. At the very least, we can hope that the FAA will allow passengers to break out Angry Birds and a pair of headphones to pass the time during a long flight. After all, it's not like people weren't already doing it anyway.

Source: IGN

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Soon, you may be able to use your .mp3 player, cell phone, or Vita on airplanes below 10,000 feet.

Implying anyone bought the Vita.

Anyways, I don't see how a Vita or 3DS could interfere, except with the WiFi.

How about I just hold off on the mobile gaming and the airlines quit pulling ALL THE OTHER SHIT they give their customers?

I always thought they kept that around due to the fact that it's a distraction (particularly movies/music). Landing and takeoff are a disproportionate risk for aircraft problems, and you want to get people's attention easily in case of that...

I've noticed pilots saying people can pull out cellphones as soon as a plane lands now, you used to have to wait for the doors to open.

praetor_alpha:
Obligatory Penny Arcade comic.

Speaking of Penny Arcade, this could theoretically start applying in time for PAX East 2013. =)

DVS BSTrD:
How about I just hold off on the mobile gaming and the airlines quit pulling ALL THE OTHER SHIT they give their customers?

You... You do know that the FAA is a government agency that has a job of making sure there is saftey for airports and airplanes? They are the ones that send agents on board as normal civilians to make sure there is saftey? That they dont HAVE customers? Or at least not in the traditional sense?

OT: "While it's certainly a good sign to see the FAA revisiting the topic, it is noting that there are reasons beyond interference that could support the regulation. In a press release, the FAA noted that passengers are less likely to pay attention to safety instructions with their electronics turned on, and cell phone calls can even act as an irritating distraction to others on the plane. At the very least, we can hope that the FAA will allow passengers to break out Angry Birds and a pair of headphones to pass the time during a long flight. After all, it's not like people weren't already doing it anyway."

I kinda see this as a good thing, even if interference is unlikely. If your cant go without your angry birds for the descent... well... You need help.

Isn't that why my iPod Touch has a little thing called "Airplane Mode"? So that we can use it on airplanes?

I care more about the guy cupping my balls before I can get on the plane than being able to play a game during take off.

Still, I suppose this is a good thing.

I do need something to distract me from the boring safety instructions I've had to sit through a few dozen times by now.

Nooners:
Isn't that why my iPod Touch has a little thing called "Airplane Mode"? So that we can use it on airplanes?

Mid-flight, you can use your mp3 players or phone or any gaming device that has a wireless signal that can be turned off, but during takeoff and landing you always have to turn everything off due to these safety regulations. Even a decade ago they wouldn't let you play one of those brick Gameboys during takeoff or landing, despite the fact that any signal those things were emitting (just plain ol' electricity) could never impact a flight's controls.

since there is nothing to suggest that personal electronics couldn't impact navigation, the FAA is erring on the side of caution with their regulation.

And these people are left in charge of airlines? Extraerordinary. (It's alright, I'm cringing too. Captcha: 'lose face' indeed.)

newwiseman:
I care more about the guy cupping my balls before I can get on the plane than being able to play a game during take off.

Still, I suppose this is a good thing.

Perhaps it's time to find yourself a new masseur.

xyrafhoan:

Nooners:
Isn't that why my iPod Touch has a little thing called "Airplane Mode"? So that we can use it on airplanes?

Mid-flight, you can use your mp3 players or phone or any gaming device that has a wireless signal that can be turned off, but during takeoff and landing you always have to turn everything off due to these safety regulations. Even a decade ago they wouldn't let you play one of those brick Gameboys during takeoff or landing, despite the fact that any signal those things were emitting (just plain ol' electricity) could never impact a flight's controls.

Having seen a series of near crashes and unintentional ejections caused by a mechanical switch in an FA-18 that wasn't properly shielded(causing all kinds of hell) or a series of unintentional increases in altitude on an SH-53 because the paint coating they were using on a device was mislabeled to be able to absorb the required radar signals, I would say it is possible that it is possible, but not likely to impact the fly by wire system newer aircraft use. Or the radar altimeter system, or the GPS, or radio bleedover to cell phone frequency, or about 10,000 other problems caused by nothing more than overlapping electromagnetic fields, I would say there is still a risk.

Digital and electrical based aircraft are becoming more and more common. Without more testing, it's possible that we could see a problem in the near future.

One random question i was on a plane flying through the US that actually had WiFi on it.I was rather confused as i was being told i could not even turn on my phone due to it possibly screwing up the planes controls even in airplane mode.

While the guy next to me was emailing his girlfriend on the planes WiFi. How can a phone that would not be sending out any signals be more dangerous than an actual WiFi hotspot on the plane.

Woodsey:

since there is nothing to suggest that personal electronics couldn't impact navigation, the FAA is erring on the side of caution with their regulation.

And these people are left in charge of airlines? Extraerordinary. (It's alright, I'm cringing too. Captcha: 'lose face' indeed.)

And? Modern Aviation is all about minimizing risks wherever possible, the term 'Better Safe than Sorry' is even more applicable when you are potentially dealing with hundreds of lives.

I suspect the ban will be lifted on the larger wide-body craft if it is lifted.

Ed130:

Woodsey:

since there is nothing to suggest that personal electronics couldn't impact navigation, the FAA is erring on the side of caution with their regulation.

And these people are left in charge of airlines? Extraerordinary. (It's alright, I'm cringing too. Captcha: 'lose face' indeed.)

And? Modern Aviation is all about minimizing risks wherever possible, the term 'Better Safe than Sorry' is even more applicable when you are potentially dealing with hundreds of lives.

I suspect the ban will be lifted on the larger wide-body craft if it is lifted.

Trying to prove negatives is a pretty cack-handed way to go about things.

I always thought that either they were stupid or they wanted to make money off of the plane wifi.

aattss:
plane wifi

That doesn't exist, at least not yet, having dedicated satellites would be very expensive, plus it would be a VERY slow connection before you'd have a few small dishes serving a lot of passengers, its just not feasible at the moment.

OT: Finally, now if only we can start getting LAN tournaments organized on planes :P

Well, this is the problem with disinformation that serves a purpose you don't want revealed for reasons of public outcry.

I learned some stuff about this when I was doing general anti-terrorism training (I had a certificate and everything). Long before 9/11 there were all kinds of concerns about terrorism and crimes on planes, going back almost as long as we've had planes. The bottom line is you can have all kinds of electronic devices that could be a problem, and many can be made to resemble consumer electronics. The concerns don't just involve known uses of technology but "X Tech" with X standing for "unknown", anyone whose read any spy novels or just read up on/learned about devices used by real spies and criminals can probably give you dozens of ideas for things that you could potentially disguise as say a gameboy.

The thing is that planes are at their most vulnerable during an ascent, since they are within range of the ground, and a lot of the safeguards/techniques for emergency landings don't apply to low altitude and during take off there is less room to steer. See if you knock a plane out or take control of one in flight, there is less you can do about it, as 9/11 showed the damage can be catastrophic, but you also have options like intercepting planes and shooting them down, or if a pilot is in control influancing where the plane is brought down. A plane that is "dropped" during takeoff could do a lot of damage by smashing into the city or environs around the airport, or even just other planes and materials in the airport.

Likewise, if you were going to signal some guy to nail a plane with a shoulder fired rocket or something (ie confirm a specific target is on board during a sucide mission or whatever) getting the plane as it takes off and is at low altitude is a "sweet spot" for avoiding a lot of ground based security.

It's not how most people think, but the point is that people whose job it is to be paranoid so you don't have to, have been thinking of this stuff since like the 1960s (and probably earlier) and it's influanced policies. Nothing is perfectly safe, but limiting what people do during the time when the plane is arguably at it's most vulnerable makes a degree of sense.

The reason why you don't just say this, is because if you tell people the can't do this stuff for security reasons it tends to upset people who feel such things shouldn't apply to them, and once you make exceptions, then everyone must be an exception. It's easier to convince people not to do it for their safety because of the plane, than to say "this is the policy because we don't trust you... but don't be offended, because we don't trust anyone".

The funny thing about disinformation is that in a lot of cases the reason why a piece of bad information like this is circulated is oftentimes forgotten once it's out there for a while. That, and the people who are supposed to keep this crap straight stop doing their jobs, on a darker note it could be argued that in theory some unpleasant anonymous fellows in dark suits probably should have shut down scientific inquiries about this in the interest of public safety.... that's going too far for many people, but well, from the way I learned some of this years ago, it's one of those cases where the lie was probably for the better, because I feel that if people get totally lax with this, it's a matter of time before you see it exploited more frequently. I don't think 5-10 minutes (usually the top) of inconveinence
is that big a deal, if it potentially stops one plane from going down it's worth it, the odd thing is though that with security you usually can't tell when it works and stopped something, you usually only notice security when it fails, or wasn't present to begin with. Sort of like a security guard wandering around randomly at the casinos where I worked, it seems pointless until some bean counter decides "this is a waste of money" and cuts personel, then stuff happens, that rover didn't actually do anything/catch anyone, but his prescence was a deterrant which meant people didn't try things because they knew security was wandering around randomly. It's impossible to tell how many things might have been averted due to the simple chance that using a device during takeoff could have been noticed and the entire thing blown due to the heightened awareness inherant in the airline empolyees keeping an eye out and trying to make sure nobody was using anything during that time period.

Therumancer:
*snip*

Makes sense to me. Terrorists would surely listen to the FAA.

How exactly making a "super terrorist magic device" into a GB is any easier than just making it into a watch is beyond me.

Otherwise you wrote an awful lot without saying much of anything. You deserve a forum badge or something.

Good luck with chem trails.

Rainboq:

aattss:
plane wifi

That doesn't exist, at least not yet, having dedicated satellites would be very expensive, plus it would be a VERY slow connection before you'd have a few small dishes serving a lot of passengers, its just not feasible at the moment.

OT: Finally, now if only we can start getting LAN tournaments organized on planes :P

actually, they do have it on certain larger planes now (on overland flights), but like hell i'm paying that much for wifi

When I was flying this summer all the instructions I got from the three different flight services I used was "Please keep all electronic devices off during take-off and landing." Given that the plane is wobbling about the most in that time period it isn't unreasonable.

Rainboq:

aattss:
plane wifi

That doesn't exist, at least not yet, having dedicated satellites would be very expensive, plus it would be a VERY slow connection before you'd have a few small dishes serving a lot of passengers, its just not feasible at the moment.

OT: Finally, now if only we can start getting LAN tournaments organized on planes :P

They do exist as i mentioned in my post before you. I was on a plane in the states which had its own WiFi but i wasnt allowed to turn on my phone while it was on airplane mode figure that one out.

Spygon:

Rainboq:

aattss:
plane wifi

That doesn't exist, at least not yet, having dedicated satellites would be very expensive, plus it would be a VERY slow connection before you'd have a few small dishes serving a lot of passengers, its just not feasible at the moment.

OT: Finally, now if only we can start getting LAN tournaments organized on planes :P

They do exist as i mentioned in my post before you. I was on a plane in the states which had its own WiFi but i wasnt allowed to turn on my phone while it was on airplane mode figure that one out.

*grumbles about the bloody yanks getting all the cool toys while us hosers are left to freeze*

Right. Time to clear some things up...

Phones - with signals - *do* interfere. As a pilot I can absolutely confirm that mobile phone signals interfere with VHF radio communication, and radio navigation.

They do practically nothing with airplane mode enabled, however, and other electronic devices (with wifi turned off) such as MP3 players, DVD players, laptops etc do not interfere with electronics, at least not in any discernible way.

However, the cabin crew don't have time to go round checking you're got 3G and wifi off on all your items so it's far easier to simply introduce a carpet ban on electronic items during critical stages of flight - taxi, takeoff, landing - where a missed radio call or a subtly misleading navigation aid could cause a dangerous situation or even an accident. It's not worth the risk - you can hang on for 10 minutes.

Plus, there's another reason why electronic devices aren't allowed during landing/takeoff, and this is the chance that an emergency might occur. Takeoff and landing are both where most things go wrong, and where you have most things to crash into so naturally these are the most dangerous times.

In the event of a rejected takeoff, or any other sudden deceleration (ie a crash), you don't want phones and iPads flying through the cabin and striking people. This is the same reason why they ask you to put your armrest down - so in a sudden deceleration, it doesn't slam down and break your arm, and why you're asked to have your baggage safely stowed away.

Lastly, you want to have full situational awareness. That isn't going to happen if you're plugged in & playing a game; this is why headphones are asked to be taken off during critical stages of flight. So you knows what's going on, and can hear PA announcements from the cockpit or cabin.

Some of you might say "well they were playing a movie on my flight last week during takeoff, and people were plugged in with earphones into that" - this is true, some airlines do this but if you're plugged into the aircraft's IFE, then any announcements made over the cabin speakers will also be made over the IFE and into your headphones, so you're not losing any awareness.

theultimateend:

Therumancer:
*snip*

Makes sense to me. Terrorists would surely listen to the FAA.

How exactly making a "super terrorist magic device" into a GB is any easier than just making it into a watch is beyond me.

Otherwise you wrote an awful lot without saying much of anything. You deserve a forum badge or something.

Good luck with chem trails.

Not really, I just explained the logic of it, which was the point, towards that end I said quite a bit.

Argueing likelyhood is something else entirely. You can make points like the ones above quite easily, and counter points can be made, etc... I was intentionally staying out of that, and simply left it as a situation where it's one of those things that's impossible to judge without removing the policy and seeing what happens. It's like most security, if it does it's job you don't see it working. The big question you have to ask is if the professional paranoids turn out to be right, is it worth seeing some really bad things happen? Is that risk worth a few minutes of inconveinence during take off? It's not like a lot is being asked.

But as I said, specifics aside, I explained the reasons behind the polcies as I learned them. Take that as general information, whether you happen to agree with it or not.

Therumancer:

theultimateend:

Therumancer:
*snip*

Makes sense to me. Terrorists would surely listen to the FAA.

How exactly making a "super terrorist magic device" into a GB is any easier than just making it into a watch is beyond me.

Otherwise you wrote an awful lot without saying much of anything. You deserve a forum badge or something.

Good luck with chem trails.

Not really, I just explained the logic of it, which was the point, towards that end I said quite a bit.

Argueing likelyhood is something else entirely. You can make points like the ones above quite easily, and counter points can be made, etc... I was intentionally staying out of that, and simply left it as a situation where it's one of those things that's impossible to judge without removing the policy and seeing what happens. It's like most security, if it does it's job you don't see it working. The big question you have to ask is if the professional paranoids turn out to be right, is it worth seeing some really bad things happen? Is that risk worth a few minutes of inconveinence during take off? It's not like a lot is being asked.

But as I said, specifics aside, I explained the reasons behind the polcies as I learned them. Take that as general information, whether you happen to agree with it or not.

I can leave my cellphone on in my coat the entire plane ride and nobody will know.

Thus the FAA regulations have not stopped anything because there was nothing to stop in terms of terrorism.

There is absolutely no data to back up your points. Citing 9/11 is disingenuous at best and ignores the hundreds of thousands of flights (millions in all) that have not had incidents on them.

The entire point of terrorism is to manipulate foolish people with no concept of reality into acting differently. The policies are foolish and ultimately acts of cowardice.

They do absolutely nothing, they benefit nobody but neurotics, and they have saved no lives because they cannot be enforced.

You are more likely to be killed by your own furniture than a terrorist. Period, end of discussion, you are literally more likely to die in your own house by your television than you are to ever suffer a mishap on an aircraft either by terrorists or by just general failure.

Any suggestion of any likelihood of this sort of thing happening to justify having millions of people act differently is naive and completely outside the realm of reason.

Heck even 9/11 wasn't creative, it had been done before by a disgruntled FedEX employee. Basically a group of people copied something someone else had done before and all that needed to be done to stop them had already been done (reinforcing the cockpit doors).

Goodness, the idea of "professional paranoid" folks is so stupid.

So remarkably stupid.

I just...man.

theultimateend:

Therumancer:

theultimateend:

Makes sense to me. Terrorists would surely listen to the FAA.

How exactly making a "super terrorist magic device" into a GB is any easier than just making it into a watch is beyond me.

Otherwise you wrote an awful lot without saying much of anything. You deserve a forum badge or something.

Good luck with chem trails.

Not really, I just explained the logic of it, which was the point, towards that end I said quite a bit.

Argueing likelyhood is something else entirely. You can make points like the ones above quite easily, and counter points can be made, etc... I was intentionally staying out of that, and simply left it as a situation where it's one of those things that's impossible to judge without removing the policy and seeing what happens. It's like most security, if it does it's job you don't see it working. The big question you have to ask is if the professional paranoids turn out to be right, is it worth seeing some really bad things happen? Is that risk worth a few minutes of inconveinence during take off? It's not like a lot is being asked.

But as I said, specifics aside, I explained the reasons behind the polcies as I learned them. Take that as general information, whether you happen to agree with it or not.

I can leave my cellphone on in my coat the entire plane ride and nobody will know.

Thus the FAA regulations have not stopped anything because there was nothing to stop in terms of terrorism.

There is absolutely no data to back up your points. Citing 9/11 is disingenuous at best and ignores the hundreds of thousands of flights (millions in all) that have not had incidents on them.

The entire point of terrorism is to manipulate foolish people with no concept of reality into acting differently. The policies are foolish and ultimately acts of cowardice.

They do absolutely nothing, they benefit nobody but neurotics, and they have saved no lives because they cannot be enforced.

You are more likely to be killed by your own furniture than a terrorist. Period, end of discussion, you are literally more likely to die in your own house by your television than you are to ever suffer a mishap on an aircraft either by terrorists or by just general failure.

Any suggestion of any likelihood of this sort of thing happening to justify having millions of people act differently is naive and completely outside the realm of reason.

Heck even 9/11 wasn't creative, it had been done before by a disgruntled FedEX employee. Basically a group of people copied something someone else had done before and all that needed to be done to stop them had already been done (reinforcing the cockpit doors).

Goodness, the idea of "professional paranoid" folks is so stupid.

So remarkably stupid.

I just...man.

Look, I'm trying to teach you something and explain the logic. I get that you don't like it, that's fine, but your pretty much taking a jump off the deep end here, and projecting things that aren't here. Indeed where your implying this all comes down to 9/11, I pointed out that the root of these kinds of policies came about long before 9/11, and it doesn't always involve terrorism although that is a common concern, but also things like hijacking.

I'll also say in a general sense that your naive in general, either that or your letting your dislike of this policy get to you where your running things to extremes where they don't belong.

Understand you persumably live in the USA, or one of the nations tenatively under it's protective Aegis, the much maligned "western first world". The USA is currently the world's last remaining super power (though it's doubtful this will last) and between it and it's allies is truely staggering in it's power. The security this gives people here is something we take for granted, because of the resources it puts into keeping you safe. Your presumption that it's unlikely for someone to be killed by a terrorist or through associated violence is because the USA and it's allies, and their professional paranoids fueled by massive amounts of resources do a good job of keeping you so safe. To see the counterpoint all you have to do is look outside the first world to the second or third world, with all the genocides, civil wars, kidnappsings, torture, murder, and everything else. There are still parts of Asia and Africa where pirates with machine guns pray on the coastal regions, robbing and killing at will. That's no big thing to you because it's somewhere else, your so used to the kind of security and protection that a country like the USA provides that you can't see it any other way, and don't think about why. Your correct, the odds of being killed by a terrorist are mild, but that's because we have so many resources involved in making that comparitively difficult to do, combined with our policies of not dealing with terrorists to make leveraging us difficult (ie we'll let them kill people rather than giving in to demands, making such actions relatively pointless), and of course retaliation from our own covert ops and such. Of course admittedly politics has rendered things a little less safe, as our stumbling around The Middle East has made people a bit less wary of our retaliation than they once were.

Your basic attitude seems to be incredibly sheltered, your idea seems to be that nothing would ever happen because we're inherantly invulnerable, we are that safe for a reason.

Now, whether or not the policy against game devices, cell phones, and other consumer electronics is reasonable and actually contributes to overall security is something that can be debated. Obviously you do not think much of the policy, but your inherant dismissal of security in a general sense (as I understand this) does your case no justice.

Overall, when it comes down to it I'll trust the security professionals that have kept the country safe so far, over someone who doesn't believe in what they do, and just wants to play video games on a plane. But then again a lot of it comes down to life experience, I wasn't in that kind of security, but doing what I did, I experienced and saw so much screwed up stuff just working as casino security, where I prefer to err on the side of caution. Costing millions of people 5 minutes or so worth of video game playing time is not inherantly unreasonable.

In the end we're going to have to agree to disagree, and let it drop. I'm not going to argue the details and specifics, you now know the reasoning, you disagree with it, and that's fine, your certainly not alone.

 

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