Airlines and Your Gizmos

Posted by Dennis December 9th, 2011

In a previous post I talked about the ridiculousness of airlines requiring you to “turn off all electronic devices” during takeoff and landing.  This week the #*$%  hit the fan when Alec Baldwin refused to turn off his iPhone and was promptly escorted off the plane.  I had to laugh when I saw the news clip, because the FAA had some old geek try to explain how dangerous it could be.  He pointed to some graphs and said something like “see there, it could happen!”.  I, for one, was less than convinced.  EM fields are VERY weak from most of the stuff we carry around, and will stay that way so they’re not BATTERY HOGS.  The further away you get, the weaker it is – dramatically so (goes like 1/r squared for all you math freaks out there).  Add to this the fact that all airplane electronics are CAREFULLY SHIELDED and you get, well, NOTHING.  NO SIGNIFICANT INTERFERENCE.  But don’t let ME be your proof.  I suspect it’s ALREADY OUT THERE.  See, I would bet big money that on EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT out there, right now, that at LEAST 10% of the passengers ignore the request.  That means every single plane flying is PROOF that there’s no problem.  I’ve seen it.  I know of at least two passengers on my last two flights that just slipped their phones in their pockets.  Not off, no “airplane mode”, just hidden.  Have we had ANY crashes related to this?  Nope.  Not one that’s been proven.  OH WAIT, but they’re citing the New Zealand crash as evidence!?  Ummm yes, because it was THE PILOT’S CELL PHONE CAUSING IT.    The cell phone was within INCHES of the equipment!  Another one is hearsay evidence that a pilot is claiming about a GPS.  Let’s face it folks, pilots ARE NOT physicists, and they shouldn’t try to be.  My final argument would be this:  if it’s so easy to interfere with the plane this way, why wouln’t a terrorist just use a super-souped-up smart phone to crash the plane?  If it was do-able, they would have, I’m fairly certain.   I say “Way to go Alec Baldwin!”  Glad you made a stand. 

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