Huffington Post reports electromagnetic interference from cell phones and other consumer devices is a much bigger problem on airplanes than previously suspected. Citing data from the International Air Transport Association's safety data sharing program (STEADS), which covers just a quarter of world's airlines, the report notes that interference from portable electronic devices (PEDs) is suspected to have interfered with flight deck equipment in seventy five safety incidents over the past ten years.
The use of PEDs on board will not - I repeat - will not cause a plane to go tumbling through the sky like something in a made-for-TV-disaster movie.
What PEDs can and in fact have already done, is create a distraction for the flight crew. When that distraction comes at the wrong time it can lead to pants-wetting episodes and maybe even disaster. And that is why boys and girls, devices are supposed to be turned off as in OFF, below 10 thousand feet. The concept is that with sufficient altitude below us there is time to address any pesky error messages that might wind up being transmitted to the cockpit. Only now we know that those messages are pretty darn common