Electronic devices can wait when flight safety is at risk

Sara Davis, Staff Writer

“Ladies and gentlemen, during departure and landing please turn off all of your cell phones, iPads, tablets or any other electronic devices.”
If you have ever traveled on a plane before, this phrase will sound familiar to you. This phrase, or something along the lines of it, has been a part of standard protocol to complete before the departure or landing of an airplane.
It has always been assumed that we have to shut our electronics off due to the fear that the signals would interfere with important cockpit equipment.
People are starting to wonder if these electronic devices would actually cause any type of dangerous interference.
It is more than likely that if you have been on a plane, either you or a passenger nearby has left their cell phone or iPad on.
That being said, if you had this experience, you are reading this right now, so chances a negative outcome did not occur due to the electronics being left on.
So why is there still this rule that the electronics have to be turned off? Is it really necessary?
This question seems to be occurring more often as the population becomes more dependent and involved with their electronic devices.
According to Time US, a Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee recommended that airline passengers be allowed to use smart phones, tablets, e-readers and other personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.
If these rules became effective, passengers would be able to use most devices, although some would have to be switched to airplane mode. Downloading data, surfing the internet and talking on the phone would still be prohibited. But people could still read e-books, listen to music, watch movies, play games and do work.
Time US also says that passengers are still required to turn off phones and other electronic devices while planes are under 10,000 feet in altitude to prevent interference with sensitive cockpit equipment.
Takeoffs and landings are the most important phases of flight, but new planes are equipped to prevent electronic interference, and critics have long complained the safety concerns behind the regulations are groundless.
That being said, are electronics really an issue?
Although they do not occur often, there have been airplane accidents that have been said to be caused by cell phone interference.
According to “The Telegraph,” in 2003 a mobile phone interference was cited as a possible reason that a charter flight crashed in Christchurch, New Zealand. Although it was cited, was it ever proven to be the exact reason?
It makes you wonder why the Aviation Administration would request for the use of electronic devices be off during departure and landing in the first place.
Overall, the question that still remains is “there are findings that show that the electronics could interfere with the airplane’s important equipment, but do they actually cause accidents?”
With all of the equipment involved in an airplane, and all of the surrounding factors that could have an effect on the plane, there are many aspects that could factor into a plane getting out of control.
Maybe it is just the pilot that needs to keep his cell phone off.
I really don’t think we need our electronic devices on 24/7, especially if there is even the smallest chance of them interfering with the cockpit.  Better safe than sorry.