Portable Electronic Devices: Do they really impact aircraft safety?

New rules could take flight

Right now, if you're landing or taking off, you're not allowed to use any kind of portable electronic device, like a tablet, smartphone, or even your laptop, but if the FCC gets its way, all that could change.

You might be able to use those devices except for cell phones for the entire flight, but safety is still the main concern.  
 
"I think its a little risky, given that the technology is just evolving," another woman said.
 
"I've forgotten to turn things off before and realized it later," one woman said.
 
We interviewed two retired airline pilots, Ron Carr and Ron Nielsen, to get their perspectives.
 
"If the airplane crashes, it won't be because of your portable electronic device," Nielsen said.  "I used to figure that I had at least one 16-year-old playing his Walkman on every flight."
 
"I don't think it's a good idea," Carr argued.
 
He says he's experienced the dangers first hand while flying into Los Angeles.
 
"We're coming in and all of a sudden, the localizer or the course needle starts to go back and forth like this," he said moving his hand back and forth.  "Once the cell phone was turned off, the system stabilized."
 
But Nielsen argues those systems have become more advanced and our portable devices no longer interfere with the plane's electronics.
 
"We don't use magnetic compasses in the same way we did before," he said.
 
"If you're flying where you're in the weather and you cannot see outside, you've got to put total trust in your instruments," Carr said.
 
His approach for now?  Better be safe than sorry for an issue that's still very much up in the air.
 
"It just takes one and I know I wouldn't want to be on that airplane," Carr said.
 

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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