Have any governmental agencies done comprehensive tests on the effects of personal electronic devices used in the cabins (and cockpits) of commercial airliners?

With the ubiquitousness of cell phones, laptops, kindles, ipads, etc, it strikes me that everyone seems to just know that using a cell phone in the cabin of an airliner has no appreciable/measurable affect on the electronics of the aircraft.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ you start the question being neutral, you end it assuming nobody did it. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Aug 20, 2014 at 11:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Frederico I deleted the biased paragraph. You were correct. $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 20, 2014 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ Take a cellphone with you in the cockpit and you will witness yourself that it interferes with radio communication. You can hear in your headgear each time when it negotiates its connection with a cell tower. $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2014 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf Years ago, as a contractor to the US Government, I was issued a BlackBerry. That thing wa notorious for interference. Every time it checked status with the networks, 'bzzt bzzt bzzzzzt'. I don't recall hearing that with more modern cell phones, however. $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 20, 2014 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ The 'bzzt bzzt bzzzzzt' sound you used to hear from blackberries and older cellphones were not interference with the "electronics" as I recall, but rather direct interference with the wires leading to the speakers (or headphones). Nuanced distinction, but important in this particular case. It also would happen if you put the blackberry near a spiderphone or something on a conference table. Very annoying I recall. :) $\endgroup$
    – JasonR
    Sep 19, 2014 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


Yes, they have done a lot of testing, hence why they now finally realize that most electronics are of no harm, and you can use them.

The FAA announcement page has a link to a fact sheet of their report, as well as a link to the PDF of the report.

In addition to the FAA report, other agencies have weighed in (such as Boeing). Basically, the rules were instituted in the 1960s, and remained virtually unchanged since then, so it was time to make a change.

  • $\begingroup$ This change does not apply to cell phones except in flight mode. That seems an important detail. $\endgroup$
    – Hugh
    Jan 28, 2017 at 14:14

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