General Question

willbrawn's avatar

Why do they have you turn off all your electronics when you fly?

Asked by willbrawn (6606points) June 25th, 2009 from iPhone

When you take off on a flight they have you turn off your phones, games, and laptops why? Because then you can turn them back on 5 minutes later. Anyone know?

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17 Answers

sandystrachan's avatar

Is it not for the fear and just incase while during take off , your equipment makes the cockpit go screwy and the plane crashes.
Even tho its a myth that has been busted many times .

CMaz's avatar

Is is not really an electrical issue. But it does put fear into you. So, you follow direction. It is because if everyone was on the phone, or playing with the laptop or what ever other crap you bring to keep busy. If there was an emergency they would not be able to depend on your total attention.

sandystrachan's avatar

@ChazMaz They could flick the lights on and off, or the pilot can nose dive .

CMaz's avatar

Now that would get your attention. But still would not get my GF off the phone.

Harp's avatar

According to Boeing

“Operators of commercial airplanes have reported numerous cases of portable electronic devices affecting airplane systems during flight. These devices, including laptop and palmtop computers, audio players/recorders, electronic games, cell phones, compact-disc players, electronic toys, and laser pointers, have been suspected of causing such anomalous events as autopilot disconnects, erratic flight deck indications, airplanes turning off course, and uncommanded turns.”

The page linked above provides several reported instances of interference.

DeanV's avatar

Many create radio interference, and pilots and planes are not huge fans of that.

Harp beat me to it.

nikipedia's avatar

I would not be surprised if some of it also has to do with being better prepared for evacuation. Takeoff and landing are the riskiest times for plane crashes, and evacuating a downed, flaming plane requires everyone paying attention and following directions.

DeanV's avatar

@nikipedia I dunno, there are definitely some people that would spend more time getting the phone out so they could text their friends and tweet that their plane was crashing…

Tink's avatar

@dverhey Id be one of those people :(

dalepetrie's avatar

They say it’s because it interferes with the navigation systems. But it’s really a government conspiracy to cover up the fact that there is a special frequency of communication which can ONLY be tapped into when ascending or decending (though NASA and the CIA have developed a machine that can simulate take off and landing for this purpose). This channel, known as the “X Channel” is reserved for communicating with extra-terrestrial beings from Rigel 7.

It all began on July 11, 1947, 3 days after the discovery of a crashed UFO at Roswell, New Mexico. The US Air Force was conducting a test flight from the Groom Lake Air Force base in SW Nevada (currently known as “Area 51”). They had just moved the alien bodies from Roswell to Groom Lake, and had recovered some rather advanced communications equipment from the crashed spacecraft which seemed to have a much larger range than conventional radio equipment. The military had discovered a number of these radio devices and had managed to get two of them communicating with each other.

One was flown to a small town outside Paris, and the other was brought to Groom Lake, both were placed on US Air Force planes, one stationed in Groom Lake and the other stationed in a top secret French facility created in the aftermath of WWII. Both aircraft were sent into flight at exactly 5:17pm GMT with the hopes that they would be able to communicate with each other.

Seconds after take off, both pilots reported a strange signal coming from the radio and then they heard what was clearly a response to a distress call. Within a few seconds, they realized that it was the mothership attempting to contact the crashed UFO. Shortly after their realization, they lost the signal as both craft moved to cruising altitude.

Within 2 months, the military realized they could only communicate on this radio during ascent or descent in an aircraft, and they also realized that their standard electronic equipment was capable of picking up these signals as well. The military contacted the major airlines and sent personell into the cockpits of many commercial airliners and determined that the radio equipment pilots used could also pick up these signals.

In the meantime, the US government opened channels of communications with these alien beings, and began work on a prototype of a machine which would continuously simulate take off and landing so that the channels of communiation could remain open. Unfortunately, these aliens have proven to be unfriendly, and have refused to share any of their advanced technology with us, and there is currently a massive diplomatic effort underway to keep Rigel 7 from sending a fleet of war drones to end all life on the planet and rape it for its natural resources. Since we don’t have anything really to offer them that they hadn’t already figured out on their own, we have very few bargaining chips, and the government doesn’t want someone’s cell phone or iPod to pick up on a transmission where they Rigelians are threatening to kill us, it would cause a great panic, and that panic might be what caused our extinction.

This is because the only reason the Rigelians have allowed us to live for these past 62 years is that they are amused by human suffering…they are responsible for every major epidemic and pandemic we’ve had in at least the past 50 years…everything from AIDS to Swine Flu has been manufactured and sent here by a drone (they’re smart enough to land in the Ozarks and places that have been hugely discredited…they could pretty much park the mother ship in any number of cities in the deep south for a week and a half and the rest of the world would say the reports were the ramblings of drunken rednecks after all). So, if mankind were to panic and start to come together to fight the alien menace, it would simply put be “less entertaining” for our unseen overlords and they’d just be done with us.

So please, please heed your flight attendants’ warnings, if you know what’s good for you.

CMaz's avatar

Well there you go.

CMaz's avatar

Do not really take much into account what boeing says. If a cellular device or any personal electronics could impede the flight characteristics of the aircraft.
We would all be at risk. I do not believe they would take that risk.

dalepetrie's avatar

@ChazMaz – yeah, Boeing is about as credible as I am, eh?

CMaz's avatar

I will give you more credibility.

dalepetrie's avatar

Yeah…how much lurve does BOEING have after all?

merddyn's avatar

I don’t know this to be the answer, but here is my theory.

They want the cell phones off because it results in a concentration of communications traffic that could affect or interfere with communications between the plane and air traffic control. One or two probably wouldn’t make a difference, but imagine over a hundred phones all crammed in right next to each other. As the plane lifts off, the increasing altitude will rapidly put you above the signal bounce from towers (most signals sent over the air travel in a bouncing type pattern rather than a straight line). Even if everyone weren’t using their cells, every active cell phone on the plane would start immediately searching for an accessible tower once the signal attenuated too much.

As for all the other electronic devices, I at least partially agree with @nikipedia in that it’s a matter of making sure the flight attendants don’t have to WORK at getting your attention in the event of an emergency when every second counts. I also believe that it’s due to the increased risk of collision or the need for evasive maneuvers which could render those free objects into potentially lethal projectiles.

I think the requirements involve being both a certain distance from the airport and above 10,000 feet to get you clear of any major congestion directly around the airport where risk is greatest. I think the FAA would happily ban electronics for the duration of the flight if they didn’t think that they would have a mutiny that would end up with no one flying due to extreme boredom (nobody reads anymore…unless it’s on a Kindle or something lol).

Anyway, that’s my theory. Thoughts?

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