Do electronic devices really threaten airplane safety? FAA should call on MythBusters

We all know we’re supposed to shut off our “portable electronic devices” when our plane is taking off or landing. But it seems every flight has a few sneaks who just can’t be bothered.

Which begs the question: does the use of a smart phone or I-pad imperil the safety of everyone on the plane or has there never really been any reason for any of us to shut down?

The FAA announced that it will form a government-industry panel this fall that will study the issue for six months. Ok, it’s hard to cheer the launch of another government study. But it does seem to be a common-sense move…although it makes you wonder why no one thought to study the issue long ago. Without any research, how did the take-off and landing shutdown become the industry standard? And why does it need to take six months? The MythBusters folks could solve this in one episode.

- Jon Harmon

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