FAA Reconsidering Ban on Gaming During Takeoff

Fanghawk

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FAA Reconsidering Ban on Gaming During Takeoff

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: <a href=http://ca.ign.com/articles/2012/08/28/the-faa-might-finally-let-you-play-your-handheld-during-takeoff>IGN

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OldNewNewOld

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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.
 

Fanghawk

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

Dags90

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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.
 

Schadrach

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praetor_alpha said:
Obligatory Penny Arcade comic. [http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/10/30]
Speaking of Penny Arcade, this could theoretically start applying in time for PAX East 2013. =)
 

thethird0611

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DVS BSTrD said:
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.
 

Nooners

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

newwiseman

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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.
 

JediMB

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

xyrafhoan

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Nooners said:
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.
 

Woodsey

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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 said:
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.
 

vxicepickxv

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xyrafhoan said:
Nooners said:
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.
 

Spygon

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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.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Woodsey said:
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.
 

Woodsey

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Ed130 said:
Woodsey said:
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.
 

aattss

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

Rainboq

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aattss said:
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
 

Therumancer

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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.
 

theultimateend

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Therumancer said:
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.