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Home > Air Travel > What will happen if I fall asleep with my iPod on during the landing?
What will happen if I fall asleep with my iPod on during the landing?
Flying - Air Travel
Saturday, 05 August 2006 07:04

Dear Captain Lim,

I just wanted to thank you for all you have done to help me overcome this fear I have of flying. Three weeks ago, I went back home to Orlando, Florida (MCI) from Kansas City (MCO) and everyday, for two weeks before my flight, I*d visit your website in order to get more info and help calm me down. I*ll look at the turbulence forecast that you have linked for us and said to myself, "If I had left today, I would be alright". But my flight was excellent and I just wanted to once again thank you for changing my life.

Your website is the best cure for knowledge and understanding of what to expect and what is going on. While I*m at it, I also have a few questions:

My first one is: What will happen if I fall asleep with my iPod on during the landing? ?they always say to turn everything off.

And, my flight from KS (MCO) to Orlando Int (MCI) was only 2 hrs and 25 min, but on the way back it was 3 hrs and 10 min. Why is this if both fights were non-stop and by the same airline?

Richard M

Hi Richard,

If you have read my previous answers,
your iPod (a small digital music player) is classified as a restricted PED (Portable Electronic Device) under the Federal Communication Rule. It means that, although it does not intentionally radiate and transmit radio signals, it nevertheless emits low powered "electronic noise". Hence, you cannot use it during the take off, approach and landing but you can do so once the seat belt signs are off (usually passing 10,000 feet) during the cruise and descent.

How serious are the consequences of non-compliance? See what I have written to Calvin Walker in a previous FAQ...

"They have caused airplanes to do an uncommanded turns in an approach, the navigation systems to go haywire, the fuel quantity to read zero, confusing the on-board computers, etc...

Many pilots have reported interferences to communication and navigation equipment in various stages of their flights. How they knew these interferences came from passengers? When a pilot detects an unusual electronic fault, he would be notified by the inbuilt warning systems. If he could not troubleshoot the faults in the normal manner, his next action would be to find out from the Flight Attendants to see if any passengers were using some prohibited electronic devices. Sure enough, when one such device was found and requested to be switched off, the navigation system would return to normal.

Last year, as a Boeing 737 was making an approach to Chicago Midway Airport, the pilots noticed an erroneous airplane position from the cockpit instruments. At one point, it was indicating that it was on course and the next moment it was off course, showing that it was too far South. When they finally sighted the runway, they were too high and too far North to land. They eventually discovered that a lady passenger was using her cell phone. When she was asked to turn it off, the instruments returned to normal and the Boeing 737 landed safely.

Of course, this incident did not suggest a crisis was at hand. Electronic interference alone might not be a major threat but combined with other factors like bad weather and pilot*s fatigue, these minor threats could contribute to accidents."

Well, normally during the descent and passing 10,000 feet, you would be reminded (and awaken by the announcement and the differential pressures in your ears!) to switch off any electronic devices that would interfere with aircraft instruments. If you were still asleep with the iPod on, it is not as critical as using a cell phone that is totally prohibited. Hopefully, an alert Flight Attendant would wake you up in time to switch it off. As mentioned above, leaving the iPod on did not suggest a crisis was at hand but it is better to have it off prior to the landing.

The difference in time for the same distance flown is not unusual when you take into account the head or tail wind that sometimes can be as strong as 150 to 200 mph. A holding in-flight due to busy air traffic can also prolong the flight time.

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