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Palmtop Interferes With Airliner?

Palmtop Interferes With Airliner?

Regarding the Palmtop interfering with airline electrical systems personally, I think the whole thing is paranoia. No device in an aircraft, which is critical for safety, should be so sensitive to outside electromagnetic interference (EMI) that a flight would be in danger due to a passenger turning on a laptop computer or a Palmtop.

Sure, there might be a rare case where a passengers electronic device affected one aircraft system. However, all critical systems on board have backups. If a problem is noted, then all portable devices should be turned off until the plane lands, then the airplane should be grounded until the failure of the aircraft is found. That's right, any aircraft that can be disturbed by a passengers portable electronic device is broken. What would an electrical storm do to that same airplane? Or flying into LA International where there are lots of 50KW radio transmitters, cellular phones on the freeway below the landing pattern, and thousands of other sources of EMI on the ground?

The bottom line is that this whole issue is really one of too many lawyers. The airlines (and the FAA) are worried that they could get sued if a plane were to crash after they allowed some passenger to use a laptop in flight. Then someone would claim that this caused the problem. In our courts today, (where a lady can get $2M for spilling coffee in her own lap because the coffee was sold to her hot!) the sad truth is if you have money (such as an airline, or Boeing) then you will pay for accidents, regardless of the fact that it may not be due to gross negligence or intent.

Until people are willing to recognize the concept of acceptable risk we are going to continue to see more restrictions placed on our lives: No hot coffee since you might spill it, no more use of electronics on airplanes since we don't know that they wont cause a problem, no more skiing since you might hurt yourself, no more anything with risk, no more living, only existing...

--David Shier CompuServe ID: [74777,2477]

iPhone Life magazine


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