FAA Warns Guy Who Filmed Birds Striking Plane Engine

from the seems-sort-of-besides-the-point dept

You may recall a few weeks back that a Delta 757 leaving JFK on its way to LAX hit some birds on takeoff, damaging an engine, and requiring a quick turnaround back to JFK. The story got more interesting when it was revealed that one of the passengers on board just happened to be recording video out the window as the birds hit:

Of course, then the story went from interesting to silly, when the FAA decided that this YouTube video was evidence of wrongdoing and that it needed to "do something." At least they decided that the extent of "doing something" would be to just send the passenger a warning letter, telling him that he was supposed to have all electronic devices turned off during takeoff, and that the letter would be the extent of their actions (though they mention that they could take legal action). The letter does say that it will remain on file for two years, after which it will be dumped.

The passenger, Grant Cardone, points out that this is all pretty ridiculous:
"To think that a device, a telephone or this iPad can take down a plane is ridiculous, because figure 90% of all people in America now have an iPhone on them," Cardone said. "Nineteen percent of all people have a tablet of some sort. If only 10% of passengers on that plane had their device in the on position, thousands of planes would fall out of the sky every day."

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  1. identicon
    Jeremy, 8 May 2012 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re:

    I'll tell you why they do this. They do this because in the pre-GPS days, planes needed a method to land in low-visibility situations. In order to land in a low-visibility situation without GPS, you need undisturbed radio reception on certain frequencies to line up your plane into a proper approach vector for your plane for landing. IIRC these were initially very analog RF signals that planes used. It is quite understandable how an RF transmitter carelessly left on during a full-instrument-landing could cause a problem. However, these days we have GPS which is more accurate by orders of magnitude than those old instrument landing systems.

    In theory, the only way RF inside the average commercial airliner could bring cause a crash is if GPS were disabled, the landing strip were fogged in, and you were using the same frequency as those old landing approach systems. Outside of that, the pilots human eyeballs can substitute very well for landing.

    Keep in mind that regardless of whatever happens to the planes electronic systems, the Jet engines are impervious to ALL RF. You'll always have thrust and flight surface control, so you can always just land using your brain.

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