Line Out: Music & Nightlife

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... and when those airplanes start running into each other left and right, we'll have you to thank. Way to go!!!

Posted by brad | February 3, 2008 9:00 PM

In the case of iPods and the like, it has to do with the headphones. During takeoffs and landings, you need to be able to hear and follow instructions if there's an emergency. That's hard to do if you've got your MP3 player cranked to 11. Similar to the requirement to raise your window shades, it's in the interest of situational awareness. A bit excessive? Maybe, and after all, flight attendants don't go around waking people up or quizzing them on evacuation procedures. But what the heck, it makes the cabin a slightly safer place, and it doesn't cost anything.

I think the rule (FAA-based) has more to do with being able to hear and follow directions during an evacuation, rather than any actual concern about interference with the computers or radios on the plane.

Almost any accident--well, at least any *survivable* accident--would occur during takeoff or landing. Like that flight that crashed at the Toronto airport a few years ago. Being able to hear helps.

Still, go hoodies.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | February 3, 2008 11:12 PM

Yes. That's my sense of it too. Most of those rules are either mandated by the FAA or they relate to limiting carrier liability.

Let's just hope they never lift the in-flight personal cell phone ban. The last thing I want to do is have to listen to 40 people talking on the phone (texting would be okay with me though).

Posted by j-lon | February 4, 2008 12:55 AM

I've actually been busted trying to use this trick. The flight attendant asked me to take off my hood so they could ensure I wasn't listening to my iPod (for the record, I wasn't listening, just covering up my bed-head).

Posted by T | February 4, 2008 10:11 AM

Check out this technical brief on personal electronic devices and avionics:

A quote from the brief:
"1998, 747 airplane.
A passenger’s palmtop computer was reported to cause the airplane to initiate a shallow bank turn. One minute after turning the PED off, the airplane returned to 'on course.' When the unit was brought to the flight deck, the flight crew noticed a strong correlation by turning the unit back on and watching the anomaly return, then turning the unit off and watching the anomaly stop."

Could be a problem during takeoff.

According to the doc, there's plenty of uncertainly about whether a "non-emitting" electronic device (like an mp3 player) could cause a serious malfunction, but Boeing seems to think that it's a realistic concern. Can we just agree to follow this particular rule, please?

Posted by Patrick McGrath | February 4, 2008 3:43 PM

I follow this rule, but when I'm on a flight with many many people, I can't help but to think that there's at least one person on the plane who mistakenly didn't turn off their device (even after the flight attendant gives the reminder. Is their device going to kill me? I want to know exactly how many people mistakenly leave on their device.

Posted by stinkbug | February 4, 2008 4:05 PM

This post was a bad idea, Christopher. Anything that sends or receives a signal has the capability of messing with some of the aircraft’s avionics (depending on make/model/year of aircraft and avionics). For instance, the wifi-enabled iPod touch or iPhone (there are, of course, “airplane” settings for these that turn off the signaling functionality). I agree with Patrick, though, why take the chance? Also, what kind of person are you if you can’t stand to be without headphones in your ear for the 15 minutes during takeoff and 20 minutes or so while landing?

Posted by Ryan | February 4, 2008 4:07 PM

..."why take the chance?"

Because nothing is going to fucking happen. Some of us are sick and tired of all of this 'if it could save one life' papa-carries-kid do-what-you're-told bullshit. I swear to God if I was a driver, every time I would see "BUCKLE UP, IT'S THE LAW" I'd unhook that fucker 2 seconds flat.

..|., ,.|..

And maybe Friz is just sick and tired of listening to the same goddamn shit we hear every fucking time we board a motherfucking place.

Posted by bad day | February 4, 2008 4:17 PM

*plane. Fuck!

Posted by bad day | February 4, 2008 4:17 PM

@bad day: It's more like 120 to 300+ lives when you're talking about commercial airplanes.

Enjoyed the tantrum, though.

Posted by Ryan | February 4, 2008 5:32 PM

Another thing that I like on a plane enormous penis!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Penis | February 4, 2008 6:15 PM

So, we're to assume that in the entire popular history of cell phone usage, that absolutely nobody has left one on by mistake in their bag? I'd posit that statistically it's more likely that there's at least one cell phone turned on during every take off and landing on every commercial airliner. Ditto Bluetooth and Wifi electronics (Nintendo DS, PSP, laptops, PDAs), which have only gotten stronger in their radio range. Do planes drop out of the sky on a regular basis because of this? No.

If they posed a serious threat, they wouldn't let you bring them on the plane.

Of course, in the interest of safety, it might be a good idea to hear what's going on while becoming airborne and landing again. "Break, Break, Break" is a phrase you might not want to miss.

Posted by Tdubs | February 4, 2008 7:31 PM

Mythbusters tried to get a cellphone to interfere with a simulated airplane guideance system, and failed.

Also, cellphones send and transmit signals, but iPods do not. (Although electronic devices do emit high-frequency modulation)

I can't believe the Boeing brief about a PDA making the plane bank to the right. If that were true, they would need to ban them completely, or seriously redesign their control systems.

Posted by Mythbuster | February 4, 2008 9:09 PM

MP3 players have a system clock of 14.7 MHz, making them little shortwave transmitters capable of interfering with navigational signals, so listening to them during takeoff is a bonehead move. Sure, things can be left on by mistake, but if one hoodie-wearing asshole does it on purpose, all of them will.

Posted by next time bring a victrola, or play a harmonica | February 4, 2008 9:16 PM

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