This doesn’t have anything to do with thought leadership per se, I just wanted to share a good rant on this topic…
“Millions of Americans who got on a plane over the Thanksgiving holiday heard the admonition: “Please power down your electronic devices for takeoff.”
And absolutely everyone obeyed. I know they did because no planes fell from the sky. No planes had to make an emergency landing because the avionics went haywire. No planes headed for Miami ended up in Anchorage. We were all made safe because we all turned off all our Kindles, iPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys and laptops, just as the Federal Aviation Administration told us to. Realistically speaking, I’m going to bet that a handful of people on each flight could not be bothered, or forgot to comply.
According to the F.A.A., 712 million passengers flew within the United States in 2010. Let’s assume that just 1 percent of those passengers — about two people per Boeing 737, a conservative number — left a cellphone, e-reader or laptop turned on during takeoff or landing. That would mean seven million people on 11 million flights endangered the lives of their fellow passengers.
Yet, in 2010, no crashes were attributed to people using technology on a plane. None were in 2009. Or 2008, 2007 and so on. You get the point.
Surely if electronic gadgets could bring down an airplane, you can be sure that the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, which has a consuming fear of 3.5 ounces of hand lotion and gel shoe inserts, wouldn’t allow passengers to board a plane with an iPad or Kindle, for fear that they would be used by terrorists.
New technologies are often greeted with fear and that is certainly true of a disruptive technology like cellphones. Yet rules that are decades old persist without evidence to support the idea that someone reading an e-book or playing a video game during takeoff or landing is jeopardizing safety.
Nevertheless, Les Dorr, a spokesman for the F.A.A., said the agency would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to digital devices on planes.
He cited a 2006 study by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, a nonprofit group that tests and reports on technical travel and communications issues. The group was asked by the F.A.A. to test the effects of cellphones, Wi-Fi and portable electronic devices on planes.
Its finding? “Insufficient information to support changing the policies,” Mr. Dorr said. “There was no evidence saying these devices can’t interfere with a plane, and there was no evidence saying that they can.” I’m not arguing that passengers should be allowed to make phone calls while the plane zooms up into the sky. But, why can’t I read my Kindle or iPad during takeoff and landing? E-readers and cellphones can be easily put into “Airplane Mode” which disables the device’s radio signals.” Source: Fliers Still Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why – NYTimes.com
Go to the source if you’d like to read the rest of the article. Me? I know that I’ve accidentally left a cell phone on when I’ve flown and I’m still alive to type this post. I, for one, think this policy has to change. What about you?
- “Surely if electronic gadgets could bring down an airplane, you can be sure that the Department of…” (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Cell phones on airplanes: Just a matter of time? (marketwatch.com)
- Another take on electronic devices on planes (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- iPads Replacing Pilots’ Paper Manuals – NYTimes.com (nytimes.com)
- Do Electronic Devices Really Need to Be Turned Off During Takeoff and Landing? [Ask Lifehacker] (lifehacker.com)