Aviation Safety Reporting System on passenger electronics problems in flight
The FCC does not CARE if you turn on electronic toys, computers, DVD payers, e-readers or (gasp) sex machines in flight. they had asked the FAA to forbid use of cellphones aloft because too many cellular sites could be accessed at one time from a height.
The FAA, however, has its own reasons. The FAA wants aircraft not to experience loss of communication or navigation links, unwanted activation of collision or terrain avoidance systems, and other safety-affecting glitches that are or could be caused by passenger use of electronic devices.
The Aviation Safety Reporting System published a document in late July with synopses and details of 50 incidents as of that month, in which passenger electronic devices figures. Many do involve interference with aircraft systems, and some are well enough buttressed by their narratives to be very credible.
CRJ200 First Officer reports compass system malfunctions during initial climb.
When passengers are asked to verify that all electronic devices are turned off the
compass system returns to normal.
IN AN APPARENT PED INTERFERENCE EVENT, A PAX'S PORTABLE GARMIN GPS
MODEL NUVI 660 ALLEGEDLY INTEFERED WITH A B737 CLASSIC'S (NO GLASS)
DME NAVIGATION UPDATE FUNCTION.
B737-800 FLT CREW EXPERIENCED SEVERAL TCAS RA'S ALLEGEDLY GENERATED
BY A WI-FI ENABLED LAPTOP COMPUTER.
These are voluntary pilot reports, not the well researched and edited result of investigations. Some are credible, some are not, and some aren't about interference, but things like batteries or power supplies on fire or exploding. Harmless stuff,eh?
I like ACN: 673795 (21 of 50). Search down to that and you'll see why. Others approach its narrative impact.
Is "impact" the wrong word?
Bonafides: I have worked as an Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) engineer for 30 years,five of the last six years on aircraft electronics EMC design, test, and remediation of problems. I had previously spent 14 of my 21 years in the US Army as an Avionics repairman, supervisor and instructor.