Re: Radios in the cabin (was Re: ATC on passengers' headsets)

From:         Dewayne Matthews <dewayne@wiche.edu>
Organization: University of Colorado at Boulder
Date:         03 Sep 95 23:01:50 
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ehahn@bass.mitre.org (Ed Hahn) wrote:

>As I'm sure others will mention, radio receivers in the passenger
>cabin are not permitted.  And with radio receivers, there is very good
>technical reasons for this:

Delta Air Lines specifically permits the use of scanners during flight
(above 10,000 feet). As others have mentioned, however, you can't hear
much of anything.

>Other portable electronic devices (CD players, laptops) have
>anecdotally been blamed for navigation equipment interference, but
>unlike radio receivers, no systematic problems with these devices have
>been found.

About a year ago, I was on a Delta MD88 at cruise altitude between Denver
and DFW when a flight attendant came out of the flightdeck and told all
the other flight attendants to immediately check that all laptops, etc.
on the plane were turned off.  I was in the first row, and a guy behind
me was using his laptop.  When the FA came up from the back and said nobody
was using anything, the guy in 2B was still having trouble turning off
his computer (he said he couldn't save his file).  The FA said "I'm sorry,
but you have to turn it off NOW!" Later she came by and apologized, and
said "The captain wants to know if your computer is a Compaq." The guy
said said "Why, yes, as a matter of fact it IS a Compaq."  (Just like the
Bugle Boys jeans commercial.)  He asked what all the fuss was about, and
she said that the first time she was on the flightdeck "all the instruments
were black." (Of course, the MD88 has a glass cockpit.)  She said after
she went back up "they were just now coming back on." BTW, the computer
had an external mouse.

So, to make a long story short, I no longer believe that the airlines are
over-reacting to laptops.

Dewayne Matthews
email:    dm@wiche.edu