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In-Flight Laptop Warning

Concern is rising among members of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), particularly in the field of avionics (electronic equipment used in aviation) that a real danger exists during take-offís and landings due to increased use of PEDís or Personal Electronic Devices.

The problem stems from personal equipment that is aging or has been modified, creating gaps in its electromagnetic shielding, or from the increased sophistication of the newer machines with operating frequencies near the same frequencies as the avionics of the aircraft.

Although the FAA has yet to make a general ruling on the subject, most airlines require PEDís to be turned off during take-offs and landings. Many people ignore these requests and continue to use their equipment without understanding what the consequences could be. While the danger is small the potential is real.

It is important to refrain from using your in-flight laptop-office until you have reached a reasonable altitude and to shut it down during descent. If you are in doubt about when you can safely turn it on, check with your flight attendant. If a fellow passenger is using his or her laptop, you would be within your right to point out the danger to them. Perhaps, one day, those "smoking/no-smoking" lights might return to service as "laptop/no-laptop" warning signs.


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