ederal Aviation Administration restrictions prohibiting the use of personal electronics during takeoff and landing date back to 1991, motivated by the concern among pilots and flight crews that such devices could affect navigation equipment or disrupt communications between the crew and ground control. But the suspected problems have never been officially verified, and the fact that countless travelers accidentally leave devices on or knowingly defy the rules outright suggests that the restrictions may have no basis in reality. The increasing number of pilots using iPads to replace hefty aircraft manuals may also be contributing to the FAA’s weighing of convenience against questionable restrictions.

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