A “disabled” passenger today can range from someone on crutches after a skiing accident to renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who has managed to survive amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) decades longer than his doctors predicted.
A recent investigation by USA Today found that a large percentage of people don't follow the rules and leave their electronic devices on during takeoff and landing. That's understandable, given the lack of evidence that doing so causes any major difficulty to the flight crew or the aircraft's navigation systems (despite the few anecdotal claims otherwise). Even the feds are looking into the matter, at long last, probably because FAA personnel are as dependent on their electronic appendages as any of us and they know better.
Modern aircraft cabins, equipped with sophisticated arrays of electronics designed to keep passengers comfortable, entertained and in touch, are wonders to behold. But keeping all of today's cabin components in harmony requires an integrated, easy-to-use control hub.
While modern business aircraft cabins offer superlative levels of comfort, they can be relatively noisy environments. Loud noise levels or even sporadic low-level noise over time can cause hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, annoyance, sleep disturbances and overall decreased performance. Obviously, operators should take steps to mitigate passenger noise exposure in their aircraft cabin.
Avionics makers, recognizing the phenomenal popularity of inexpensive, go-anywhere, tablet-based applications, have been feverishly developing ways to bring iPads and Adroid-based "post-PC" mobile OS tablet computers into business aircraft cockpits.
It's just a mess. First there's NextGen and its attendant ADS-B component nobody wants to pay for. Next, a coalition of avionics makers studied LightSquared's proposal to add a big, new Internet service in a frequency adjacent to GPS — and concluded it will wreak havoc on navigation devices. But that's if the increasingly intense solar flares don't do it first. Then there's the occasional need to dodge errant volcanic dust or clouds of radiation. In addition, GPS coordinates in Japan may have moved by as much as 13 ft. following the earthquake in March.
Are you an “Innie” or an “Outie?” If you’re not sure, a key component of the FAA’s NextGen Air Transportation System plan to modernize the National Airspace System — ADS-B — will require you to decide. The FAA’s final NextGen implementation rules, which will establish performance requirements for avionics needed to operate in an ADS-B environment, are expected about now, but another wrinkle is gumming up the timetable.