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Portable electronic devices may / may not make your plane fall out of the sky

Brian Heater

We've all no doubt mocked an in-flight call to shut off all portable electronic devices at some point -- heck, we've all probably had a saucy flight attendant who's done the mocking for us. After all, the idea that our plane might plummet 30,000 feet because we're fiddling with our iPhone seems a bit silly, given all we know about portable electronics. A newly discovered study conducted by the International Air Transport Association, however, calls into question the flippant nature with which most of us dismiss those warnings. Between 2003 and 2009, the study found 75 incidents in which electronic interference may have affected flight controls, navigation systems, or set off engine indications. It's far from definitive proof -- it's more along the lines of anecdotal evidence from crew members, but hey, anything we can do help our plane keep flying is probably a good thing, right?

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