Can't play MP3 Player below 10K, right?

Old Aug 20th, 2005, 11:21 AM
  #1  
Cassandra
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Can't play MP3 Player below 10K, right?

Am I right in thinking that MP3 players are under the same restrictions as CDplayers, cassette players, games, etc. -- can't play'em on take-off or landing?

I'm still not quite able to fully understand how it is that these things "broadcast" signals that could disrupt navigation. The signal goes somewhere other than up the earphones, apparently?
 
Old Aug 20th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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This whole "no electronics" thing is not based on actual science, but hysteria. Like many things in transportation these days...
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Old Aug 20th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Oh yeah, but to answer your question. You can't play your MP3 during take-off and landing, just like other electronic items.
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Old Aug 20th, 2005, 03:22 PM
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Everything depends on the airline. Last year Delta said not on take off and landing on a 767; Alitalia said NOT AT ALL on a 767. They were not very nice about it. Like rrkwan says, there's no legitimate reason, it's just stupidity which varies from one company to another.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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I'm curious as to where this particular restriction came from. I'm vaguely aware of some idea that navigation and/or communication is supposed to have gone wonky on a plane once when someone used -- what, a Gameboy? A radio? Does anyone have any idea about an actual, documented incident? When, where, what? It always seems like such an urban legend, but on the other hand, I'm in no hurry to have them approve cellphones in flight for reasons other than safety (except maybe the safety of the blabbing cellphone user).
 
Old Aug 20th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Another example is this. Every safety experts will tell you many accidents/incidents happen while the plane is taxiing around the tarmac.

And compared to other low-emission electronic devices like discmans and MP3 player, cellphones actually emit a relatively high power signal from itself.

So, why is it that cellphones are prohibited once the cabin door is closed when departing, but they are allowed during taxi TO the gate after landing?

Anyways, I believe Aer Lingus prohibit electronic use throughout their flights.
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Old Aug 20th, 2005, 10:59 PM
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rkkwan: do you work for an airplane manufacturer (Boeing or Airbus) or is this just your opinion as a passenger?
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Old Aug 21st, 2005, 05:08 AM
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In the past, the few electronic devises that there were (basically radios) operated normally by generating high frequency signals which tended to "escape" the device. The same was true of the early laptops and some gaming devices. These errant signals could indeed affect navigation systems so they were banned. We've all experienced excessive interference from TVs and radios with our early computers and vice versa. (Remember when we could put a radio on top of a computer and play a song with the emmisions caused by a clever program?)

Nowadays the devices still generate high frequencies (think of the timing clock in your computer) but they are much better shielded and emissions are minimized and very weak. The prevalence of digital rather than analog systems has also mitigated. But the FAA regulations are slow to follow.

The reason for the take-off and landing restrictions are because these are the times (esp. landing) when navigation is precise and often automatic. Interference at altitude is easier to deal with because there is somewhat less navigational precision and, in the event of a problem, the pilots have a little time to figure things out and correct/adjust.

So there is indeed a valid reason for the restrictions, but it is becoming less and less each year.

As to why devices can be used during taxi after landing but not before takeoff, in both cases radio navigation is not really used at this point in the flight. But human nature governs and people are reluctant to immediately stop usage ("just one moment..."). If allowed on takeoff taxi you cn be assured it would be a last minute scramble to ensure all devices are off which could delay flights. After landing, people can (and do) even keep on talking as they deplane.
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Old Aug 21st, 2005, 07:17 AM
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Thank you, NoFlyZone, that helps a lot.
 
Old Aug 21st, 2005, 08:56 AM
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NFZ - Thanks for the explanation.

travelsparks - I'm just a passenger with a little more interest in air travel than the regular public.

BTW, just want to add that I always follow the rules of the airlines and FAA when flying. In fact, I even take off my headphones during takeoff and landing, even though the audio system of the plane is still operating.
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Old Aug 21st, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Apologies for the spelling errors above.

>I even take off my headphones during takeoff and landing...

Smart move as with them on you may not be able to hear emergency instructions. For the same reason, it's generally illegal to drive a car with hearphones on.

And, before anyone mentions, built-in audio and video systems are certified not to cause interference (similar to aircraft radios), so they are ok to be operating.
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Old Aug 21st, 2005, 11:39 AM
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NFZ - I understand that all A/V equipment onboard are designed to specs for use on planes, so I can understand why they can be operating all the time.

My problem is that there's little scientific documentation about the actual risk associated with electronics used by passengers. And the FAA (and their counterparts around the world) simply suddenly place this restriction. I don't recall a single crash that can be attributed to this problem.

Now, if there's real documented risk, then FAA should ban people from bringing them on the plane. Just like a knife onboard can lead to hijacking - and we can count how many people have been killed because of that. But if portable electronics are dangerous, then can they afford to have me sitting on the plane taking off or landing, but I honestly forgot to turn off my iPod after I put it away?

But if the risk is so miniscue - like it only happens for a particular crappy MP3 player made in some 3rd world country, or if it only happens if 5 passengers are using the same MP3 player model, etc - then how can one access that risk?

That's why I say it's not scientific. If there is actual risk, they should be banned onboard, period. If the risk is too low to calculate, then banning them is based on hysteria.
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Old Aug 21st, 2005, 01:26 PM
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According to testimony before Congress:

"In 1996, the FAA commissioned a study on the potential interference to installed aircraft electrical and electronic systems from portable electronic devices carried aboard aircraft by passengers. The study was conducted by RTCA Inc., a non-profit organization that sets industry standards for airplane electronics. Both the FCC and industry participated in the study. Boeing Co. and Airbus Industrie subjected their aircraft with cell-phone frequencies and discovered no interference with communication, navigation or other systems. The study findings indicated that the probability of interference to installed aircraft systems from portable electronic devices is low at this time. The study went on to note that the possibility of interference to aircraft navigation and information systems during critical phases of flight, e.g., takeoff and landing, should be viewed as potential hazardous and an unacceptable risk for aircraft involved in passenger-carrying operations. Based on the finding, RTCA recommended that the use of portable electronic devices be restricted during critical phases of flight."

The gentleman also said that while devices are shielded against emitting, the shielding is not perfect.

Perhaps the TSA folks could check our shielding, as well as our shoes.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 10:13 AM
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I firmly beleive that if operation of these devices were such a menace, the devices themselves would be banned.

A group of terrorists could simply agree to all turn on their MP3 players, cellphones, or walkmans all at the same time; who could possibly prevent it.

You are right, rkkwan, it's hysteria, superstition, and part of a zero-tolerance / zero-common sense mentality.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 06:39 AM
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Forgive a very dark thought, but it seems to me these things can house devices other than music and games, and I'm wondering just how effective Xray is likely to be in detecting their "innards" -- and/so maybe the idea is that activation of a Whatever-it-is above 10K is somehow preferable to having it happen on approach or departure..... Sorry, certainly sounds paranoid, nutty, and over-thought, I know, but I'm just casting around for some warped rationale for all this, and remembering that cellphones appear to have been the triggers for some of the London bombings......
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:15 AM
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You may not be able to hear the flight attendant say, "the pilot has not turned off the seatbelt sign" if you are listening to music.

I remember walking on an Easy Jet flight from Athens to London Gatwick and the flight attendant said, "take off your earphones. You won't hear our demands." I wasn't playing music but I did follow the instructions. And then gave them a nasty review in www.airlinequality.com
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 08:04 AM
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Good point but for the record, I can NEVER hear the pilot on the overhead PA anyway, and sometimes the FA is inaudible, too.
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Old Aug 24th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Yesterday on announced list of prohibited electronic devices on UA was calculators. Hard to imagine how calculator could harm anything.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Post script: Just got back from nice visit to DS (aka Laptopper) in the Bay Area and was amused -- slightly -- to have the senior FA make the usual "turn-off-your cellphone, laptop, etc......" announcement, at the end of which he said, "basically, if it has an on-off switch, turn it off!" ;-)

(Re: dangers of the calculator: punch in the number of miles of the trip, divide by the cost of the ticket, subtract estimated cost of snack-pack multiplied by disgusting factor between 1 and 10, take square root of knee-room in inches and multiply entire result by probable age of the plane. Then throw the calculator at the next FA who says, "we're out of the chicken, but we have kippered herring.")
 
Old Sep 5th, 2005, 10:30 PM
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Just came back from a trip IAH-BOI via SLC, and I have found new evidence to suggest why this rule is bogus.

I noticed that we were almost at final approach to Salt Lake before they announced to turn off electronics, return seat backs, etc... And then it dawned on me that SLC is over 4,000ft (4,226ft in fact) in altitude, so that's why they announced it that late.

So, what if an airport is over 10,000ft? There are plenty of those in the world, and even in the US, there are some with seasonal commercial flights that are pretty high - like Telluride at 9,076ft.

I guess that means you can still listen to your MP3 just under 1,000ft over that airport.
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