Posts Tagged ‘in-flight electronics ban’

In-flight electronics ban is based on fears – not on any evidence

September 17, 2012

I am always irritated when the regulations regarding in-flight electronics are announced at the start of a flight. I dutifully switch my phone off not because I have any perception of causing danger but only because I don’t want to be denied travel.

There is no evidence whatsoever that using electronic devices on flights – whether during take-off and landing or while cruising – has any deleterious effects on aircraft navigation or any other technical operations during the flight. But this regulation – like so many others – was based originally on fears. Getting rid of an existing regulation even when there is no evidence that the fear is justified is extremely difficult. Once any irrational – but fear-based – regulation is in place the onus of proof shifts from showing something to be unsafe to proving instead that it is not unsafe. And proving a negative is not very easy.

An FAA regulator is walking down the street snapping his fingers continuously. A guy stops him and asks, “Why are you snapping your fingers all the time?”  “To keep wild elephants away.” “That’s ridiculous!“, says the guy. The regulator replies, “Oh, yeah? You don’t see any wild elephants around do you?”

The Wall Street Journal writes:

Do Our Gadgets Really Threaten Planes?

The ban on electronic devices rests on anecdotes, not on hard evidence—because there isn’t any.


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