Since Alec Baldwin was recently thrown into the recycle bin for airline passengers, the mainstream media folks have begun to capitalize on this issue by challenging the need to turn off PEDs (Personal Electronic Devices) for takeoff and landing. This opens up the much-needed discussion regarding this contoversial issue. The FCC and the FAA have been negligent in that they have engaged in only a very minimal amount of rudimentary testing. As a result, no double-blind, quantifiable science is available to provide a definitive answer to resolve this issue.
However, the April 13, 2006 issue of Aviation Week has an article titled “Are Personal Electronics a Threat To Aircraft.” This article indicates that, based on a very limited amount of anecdotal evidence, there is a possibility of electronic interference of cell phones and other devices that emit RF emissions to cause navigation signal anomalies during flight. While there still has been very little research to evaluate the effects of electronic gadgetry in the cabin of commercial airliners having a definitive detriment to airline safety, it is probably a good idea to err on the side of caution and continue to follow the edicts of the flight crew, and turn off the PEDs.
An additional consideration regarding PEDs inthe cabin is the possibility of an EMP transmitter. EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulsing. These EMP critters are the real deal when it comes to dangerous transmissions of invisible electonic signals that can wreak havoc. Even Newt Gingrich, a self-proclaimed intellectual, has pointed out that the threat factor of EMPs should be dealt with as a national security issue.
In lieu of the electronic games for entertainment on your flight I would suggest the nearly obsolete concept of reading a book made of paper. My reader review data indicates that The Rogue Aviator: in the Back Alleys of Aviation by Ace Abbott would be an excellent choice.