Do Our Gadgets Really Threaten Airplanes?

Do Our Gadgets Really Threaten Airplanes

Electronic devices and airplanes.  Is there a risk?  Do our gadgets really threaten aviation safety?

Anyone who’s flown in the past 20 years knows that the reminder to turn off your cell phones is more standard than peanuts on airplanes.

Back in 1991, the Federal Aviation Administration began a policy of prohibiting the use of personal electronics during takeoffs and landings.

The move was mostly motivated by anecdotal reports from flight crews that electronic devices affected an airplane’s navigation equipment or disrupted communication between the cockpit and the ground.

But do we take it seriously?

The Wall Street Journal recently recently conducted an online survey of American adults who have flown in the past year.

They found that 40% said they didn’t turn off their phones completely during takeoff and landing on their most recent flight.

More than 7% left their phones on completely, with the Wi-Fi active.

And 2% straight up used their phones when they weren’t supposed to.  (Think Alec Baldwin and Words With Friends.)

That means that on an average-size U.S. domestic flight with 78 passengers, about 30 of them will leave their phone on.

Not very comforting, is it?

The good news is that if personal electronics were really as dangerous as the FAA rules suggest, flights would be disrupted all the time.  But we just don’t see that.

But in this ever-connected world, where everyone has a cell phone, laptop, tablet, e-reader, or all of the above, it’s more important than ever to do your part to comply with the regulations every time you step into an airplane.