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旅游英语飞机起降时能打手机吗

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  Do Our Gadgets Really Threaten Planes?

  WAS ALEC BALDWIN RIGHT? When the actor tussled withAmerican Airlines personnel last December over his desire tocontinue playing a game on his phone during takeoff, he wasevicted from the flight. Defying airline safety rules is not a goodidea, but was Baldwin perhaps correct not to take the dangerseriously?

  On Aug. 31, the Federal Aviation Administration requested public comment on its longstandingpolicy of prohibiting the use of personal electronics during takeoffs and landings. The restrictionsdate back to 1991 and were motivated in part by anecdotal reports from pilots and flight crewsthat electronic devices affected an airliner's navigation equipment or disrupted communicationbetween the cockpit and the ground. Over the years, however, Boeing has been unable toduplicate these problems, and the FAA can only say that the devices' radio signals 'may' interferewith flight operations.

  To gather some empirical evidence on this question, we recently conducted an online survey of 492 American adults who have flown in the past year. In this sample, 40% said they did not turntheir phones off completely during takeoff and landing on their most recent flight; more than 7% left their phones on, with the Wi-Fi and cellular communications functions active. And 2% pulled afull Baldwin, actively using their phones when they weren't supposed to.

  Consider what these numbers imply. The odds that all 78 of the passengers who travel on anaverage-size U.S. domestic flight have properly turned off their phones are infinitesimal: less thanone in 100 quadrillion, by our rough calculation. If personal electronics are really as dangerous asthe FAA rules suggest, navigation and communication would be disrupted every day on domesticflights. But we don't see that.

  Why has the regulation remained in force for so long despite the lack of solid evidence to supportit? Human minds are notoriously overzealous 'cause detectors.' When two events occur close intime, and one plausibly might have caused the other, we tend to assume it did. There is no reasonto doubt the anecdotes told by airline personnel about glitches that have occurred on flights whenthey also have discovered someone illicitly using a device.

  But when thinking about these anecdotes, we don't consider that glitches also occur in theabsence of illicit gadget use. More important, we don't consider how often gadgets have been inuse when flights have been completed without a hitch. Our survey strongly suggests that thereare multiple gadget violators on almost every flight.

  Fear is a powerful motivator, and precaution is a natural response. Regulators are loath to makepolicies less restrictive, out of a justifiable concern for passenger safety. It is easy to visualize thehorrific consequences should a phone cause a plane to crash, so the FAA imposes thisinconvenience as a precaution.

  Once a restriction is in place, though, removing it becomes a challenge because every day withouta gadget-induced accident cements our belief that the status quo is right and justified. Unfortunately, this logic is little better than that of Homer Simpson, who organized an elaborateBear Patrol in the city of Springfield and exulted in the absence of bear sightings that ensued.

  We are not suggesting that people should disobey the current rules. But we believe strongly thatpolicies like the FAA's ban should be based on evidence rather than on fear. The evidence showsthat nearly every flight must have some phones and gadgets on, and those flights have not beenfalling out of the sky.

  亚历克?鲍德温做得对吗?2011年12月,这位演员坚持要在航班起飞时继续玩手机游戏,与美国航空公司的空乘人员发生争执,结果被赶下飞机。违反航空公司的安全规定不是一个好主意,但鲍德温认为飞机起降时使用手机并没那么危险的观点有没有可能是正确的呢?

  2012年8月31日,美国联邦航空管理局就其长期以来坚持的禁止在飞机起降期间使用个人电子设备的规定向公众征询意见。这项禁令可以追溯到1991年,部分是源于一些飞行员和空乘人员的非正式反馈,说电子设备会影响飞机的导航设备,或干扰驾驶舱与地面的通讯。然而,这么多年来,波音公司一直无法证实这类问题的存在,FAA也只是表示,电子设备的无线讯号“可能会”干扰航班运营。

  为搜集电子设备是否会干扰飞机起降的实际证据,近期我们对492名在过去一年中搭乘过航班的美国成年人做了一项网上调查。在该样本中,40%的受访者表示,在其近期的大多数航程中,他们没有完全关闭手机;7%以上的受访者说他们没有关机,无线Wi-Fi和手机通讯功能都处于启动当中;还有2%的受访者则跟鲍德温一样违反了相关规定,在飞机起降时仍在使用手机。

  让我们想想这些数字意味着什么。一架美国国内班机平均能容纳78名乘客,而根据我们的粗略计算,这78人全部关闭手机的可能性是无穷小的:小于十万万亿分之一。如果个人电子设备真像FAA所说的那么危险,那么美国国内航班的导航系统和通讯设备每天都会受到干扰,但我们并没有看到这些现象。

  为什么在缺乏确凿证据的支持下,这种禁令还能持续这么长时间?众所周知,人类的思维往往会不假思索地“下定论”。如果两个事件接连发生,而其中一个事件貌似导致了另一个事件的发生,人们就会倾向于做出这种假设。空乘人员说当他们发现有乘客违反规定使用电子设备时,航班上的设备出现了这样那样的故障,我们没有理由去怀疑他们说的这些故事。

  然而,在这些故事中,我们没有去验证无电子设备违规使用时导航设备是否运行正常。更重要的是,我们没有考虑有多少航班是在一些手机打开的情况下顺利起降的。我们的调查结果显示,几乎每次航班都存在几个打开手机的乘客。

  恐惧是一个强大的助推剂,谨慎从事则是一种自然反应。出于为乘客安全着想的正当理由,监管当局不愿放松相关规定,他们的脑海中无法摆脱因使用手机而导致飞机坠毁的悲惨画面,因此FAA宁可让乘客不方便,也要确保安全第一。

  一旦禁令实施,要想废除它就变得十分困难,因为一直都没有发生因电子设备而导致的航空意外事故,从而进一步巩固了我们的信念,认为目前的规定是正确和正当的。然而,这种逻辑与动画片《辛普森一家》中的情节一样可笑:在片中,辛普森爸爸煞费苦心地在斯普林菲尔德组织了“防熊巡逻”,并欢欣鼓舞地认为,没有发现有熊出没要归功于“防熊巡逻”,而不是因为这个城市本来就没有熊。

  我们并非建议大家违反现行的航空安全规定,而是强烈认为,FAA对于电子设备的禁令应该基于证据而非恐惧。证据表明,几乎每个航班的起降都有手机和电子设备开启,而这些飞机并没有从天上栽下来。
 

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