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A few years ago, Robert Goyer wrote an article about texting while flying. I would like to know how many pilots think that texting while flying is either dangerous or not dangerous and why you think that.
Well, let's see...would i distract myself while:
Pre-flighting the plane - no
Taxiing - no
Taking off - no
Climbing out - no
Cruising - sure, assuming I'm not too high to moot the effort and it isn't distracting me from staying ahead of the plane. I might type out a few texts while cruising and know that they won't be sent until I am well into my descent (meaning I hit send while @ 10000 ft and assume that the phone will send it when it sees coverage)
Descending - no
On approach - no
On final - no
Taxiing to the fbo - no
But the question of whether or not to text while in flight begs the obvious question what's so important about trying to make contact with someone RIGHT NOW that it overrides the litany of aviate, navigate, communicate. We know it is in that order for a reason.
Does "communicate" mean only with ATC? No. Use your own judgement. The gene pool is the final arbiter.
I usually get mobile ("cell" to you US readers) coverage at lower altitudes, but it won't be too long before we see phone transmissions converted and transmitted from aircraft anyway.
I use my iPhone to get ATIS and weather updates. (We're not blessed with XM weather here in Australia.) Cruise segment only of course. Not really any more 'distracting' than amending a route in an FMS or GPS in my opinion.
That said, I tend to agree with Tbraddock in that what text message could be that urgent it needs to be sent right now?
An old instructor of mine used to say - "Always be doing something useful - and prioritize everything." To my way of thinking texting is only going to happen when I have absolutely nothing else to do.
Lets see... Coming up to the FAF very close to the GS intercept when the tower comes back with the updated clearance which I am obliged to copy. Would texting be any more distracting in *ANY* phase of flight? I don't really think so. Welll... if I tried texting *while* trying to copy that updated clearance then I'd have to say yes, but other than that, it doesn't even come close and I wouldn't even answer the phone (which is supposed to be off) during an approach.
Having said that, I have had all functions on my phone disabled (at the phone company) except voice. I do not want to be looking at weather on a tiny screen, or trying to copy text off a small screen. So what if they give me a smart phone for free with a contract? Those are not things I want so I have a nice phone that only works as a phone.
I still spend a good 8 hours a day on computers, either fixing, building, programming, or surfing although about half of that is spent on e-mail. Give me a cell phone with a 25" diagonal wide screen and I might consider texting or using it for other than voice. <:-))
RH, I don't believe you are ever "obliged" to copy anything until you are good and ready. Depending on the weather and the reason why ATC wants to amend my clearance as I am approaching a FAF, I'd say "Unable." That's my opinion only, but at that point in time, if my approach clearance is going to be cancelled, all I'll accept is a heading and an altitude (or, I suppose, the published missed). I know i would be too busy reconfiguring the plane, worrying about traffic and resetting my head (gee, I had wanted to land, right?) to bother with writing down a new clearance. ATC can wait til I'm in a safe hold someplace, or maybe, just maybe, they'll say "Disregard; continue your approach."
Take extra care to avoid activities that might detract from flying.
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