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Are personal electronics a risk to commercial aviation?

Flight attendants usually asks for cell phone to be switched off throughout the flight, and other electronic device (including ipods or phones set to flight mode) during take off and landing. What are the verifiable explanation that such devices can interfere with flight communication and/or are dangerous?

  • I don't have any evidence for this, which is why I'm posting as a comment. But I've heard (from a buddy who's a pilot) that the reason they ask for this is so there is no liability when you don't listen to the safety precautions. They ask to turn off devices so they can have your full attention during the safety briefing. – wfoster Jul 20 '11 at 15:47
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    @wfoster - because nobody reads magazines, daydreams, stares out the window or talks to their seatmates during the briefing... – fred Jul 20 '11 at 18:18
  • @fred it still makes sense that they must say it so they don't get sued. I can imagine a lawsuit hasn't happened yet for that case, then we will probably have to put those down too :) – wfoster Jul 20 '11 at 20:23

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