iPad no flight risk says Federal Aviation Authority
American Airlines allowed to use in-cockpit fondleslabs “in all phases of flight”
Being asked to switch off your electronic devices during the takeoff and landing phases of a flight now looks even more anachronistic, after American Airlines announced it has been given permission to let its pilots use iPads in the cockpit “in all phases of flight”.
The airline is chuffed that the Federal Aviation Administration will let it do so, as the fondleslabs will store documentation that collectively weighs 35 pounds but which pilots must schlep aboard every flight. Replacing that slab of dead tree with a fondleslab is expected to save US$1.2 million of fuel each year.
That's a nice win for American and for punters, who can hope it translates into lower fares.
A nicer win may come from the fact that if the FAA thinks it is safe for an iPad to operate and emit electromagnetic radiation in the computer-packed confines of a cockpit, surely it becomes harder to justify the order to turn off other machines further back inside the plane.
Commercial airline pilot and blogger Patrick Smith has noted that the ban on using electronics is more about preventing them becoming projectiles if a plane hits turbulence. His verdict on the ban on in-flight mobile use is that “the FAA are merely erring on the better-safe-than-sorry side” rather than preventing any crashes.
American will start to use iPads in its 777 aircraft immediately and plans to stop issuing paper flight manuals for all of its fleet in early 2013.
The airline is also testing fondlesabs for cabin crew, writing that “... our Flight Attendants have also been piloting an initiative on handheld tablets, which will give them better information about the customers on their flight and their travel needs.” ®
The previous ban on mobile devices was to stop Dom Jolly like conversations taking place, much to the annoyance of the rest of the passengers, and not because it posed any threat to the aircraft.
<Nokia Ring Tone> "HELLLOO!!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME???? I'M ON A PLANE!! NO A PLANE!!! NO NOT SPAIN, PLANE!!!!. HUH WHAT'S THAT NOISE? IT'S THE PLANE!!!!!"
I can see it now:
"Siri, can you show me emergency landing procedures for Hong Kong airport?!"
"I'm sorry I can only look for businesses, maps, and traffic in the United States".
Re: Trigger Happy!
Oh, and let's see how long people last sitting next to me on 'business calls' while I'm humming and singing nursery rhymes. No rules against that, are there?
If I have to listen to their Very Important Input during their meetings, they might as well listen to me improving my singing skills.
Re: Isn't it about attention?
In theory - but the next time that you fly, check out how many people ignore the safety briefing by reading a newspaper or the inflight magazine.
The was a programme a while back relating to this; they highlighted that in tests, people panicked and completely forgot the briefing that they had received barely 10 minutes before. Several people couldn't work out how to release their seat belts. Most had no idea where the nearest exit was or how they could get to it.
Flying has become too safe; people are just not prepared for anything going wrong. At the end of last year, I was on a flight that has reached the runway and was just starting to take up position when the pilot aborted due to an hydraulics problem. We had to return to the hangar so that a fitter could check out the pipe. People were actually complaining; they really thought that the pilot should have taken off and waited until the destination to get it fixed!
Yes they will be fussy about the models. American Airlines say iPads are ok, but definitely won't be allowed Samsung tablets