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Legalities on using a camera during take off and landing

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Legalities on using a camera during take off and landing

Old 17th Feb 2011, 21:28
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Legalities on using a camera during take off and landing

As I was landing as SLF, in FRA this morning I was asked by a FA not to use my camera (pictures not video) during the approach and landing. I understand there is an issue about electronics appliances be used during landing and take off, but I thought it applies only to RF emitting devices.

Was she right or did she over-react? I would appreciate if some one can provide some legal text - not for confrontation but to make sure where I stand since I love to make pictures while airborne.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 21:37
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I would be surprised if this applied in Frankfurt but there are still a few countries that don't like having their picture taken and their airlines can also be a bit funny about pictures being taken from their planes.

The problem for FAs is knowing what does, and what doesn't, have RF kit these days. They are beginning to fit GPS chips in cameras so you can geotag your photos.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 21:51
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Thanks for the answer:

I spent my military service in joint (civil and military) airfield and I understand the issues with some airports. The point is that is a standard camera allowed to be used during landing according to the EU OPS?
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 07:48
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In theory a standard camera should be ok. But legally you are supposed to follow the instructions of the crew. It may help if you talk to the crew in advance.
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 09:48
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In theory a standard camera should be ok
Actually in a crash it would decpaitate someone, that's the other reason they insist on them not being used and eveything heavy is supposed to be stowed.
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 13:02
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SOE is correct, other than the security aspect in some countries, it's a SAFETY issue. Mind you, in my opinion, if the impact is severe enough for a small camera to decapitate someone then it will be severe enough for the heavy overhead bins and their contents (including duty free glass bottles) to come down and maim you too. The problem with some so-called safety issues on aircraft is that they are too selective. CC may rightly ask pax to secure their cameras yet they will ignore overloaded overhead bin issues.

By the way, I have seen a commercial pilot (Captain of a major airline - in uniform) using his camera on landing. Nothing said by CC.
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 14:01
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Both Virgin and BA on their safety instruction cards explicitly forbid the use of cameras during takeoff and landing.
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 15:41
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From what I recall many airlines in their safety announcements refer to refraining from using "all electronic devices" during take-off and landing. A camera would, presumably, be an electronic device under that rule.
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 18:28
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It's quite simple. Just think of it as:

Taxi, Takeoff and Landing (basically when seatbelt sign is on) = ALL electronic devices off

In Cruise (seatbelt sign off) = electronic devices that do not transmit or receive can be used (inc mobiles in flight safe mode)
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Old 18th Feb 2011, 18:36
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On a Ryanair flight the other day, Cabin crew challenged someone who took a photo of his friends sat near to him and demanded he delete from his camera. We had not even closed the doors for departure !!!

There then followed an announcment to say that on Ryanair flights no photographs allowed inside aircraft at any time or of the cabin crew. Not come across this one in 35 years of air travel.

Always something new on Ryanair.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 13:04
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A camera would, presumably, be an electronic device under that rule.
It depends, some cameras are entirely mechanical. Most have a small battery, but then so do digital watches.


Actually in a crash it would decpaitate someone, that's the other reason they insist on them not being used and eveything heavy is supposed to be stowed.
HT is correct, in any accident severe enough that a small camera would "decapitate" you, you would already be dead. Not "everything heavy" is supposed to be stowed. A large book is much heavier than a lightweight camera, and not only do CC not tell you to stow books before landing, they helpfully make an announcement to tell you about the personal reading light above you so that you can keep reading.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 14:19
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On a Ryanair flight the other day, Cabin crew challenged someone who took a photo of his friends sat near to him and demanded he delete from his camera. We had not even closed the doors for departure !!!

There then followed an announcment to say that on Ryanair flights no photographs allowed inside aircraft at any time or of the cabin crew. Not come across this one in 35 years of air travel.

Always something new on Ryanair.
I witnessed that too on Ryanair some time back. A fellow pax was warned that if he refused to delete his picture the police would be called on landing as it was 'illegal'. I put this down to a grumpy FA but maybe there is more to this?

Last edited by farci; 19th Feb 2011 at 14:21. Reason: Intellectually challenged
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 14:43
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I've also heard that AA (and possibly some of the other US airlines) prohibit photographs of AA staff (including cabin attendants). Not necessarily for the usual reason (protecting privacy, avoiding stalkers, etc) but to protect their 'procedures'. i.e. they don't want competitors filming their activities with the objective of copying them.

I admit, I heard this some years ago, it may no longer be the case - if it ever was.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 15:15
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Don't forget that if you are using a camera during takeoff and landing, then you are distracted away from the cabin environment. Thus in the event of something serious happening, you are likely to either a) not notice or b) keep using you camera (thinking of the fortune post event) putting yourself and therefore others seated near you at risk, rather than following crew instructions.

Thus, the crew (acting on the Captains authority) are issuing you a lawful, safety related, command.

I wonder if the Ryanair change of policy follows the incident at CIA?
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 17:56
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if you are using a camera during takeoff and landing, then you are distracted away from the cabin environment. Thus in the event of something serious happening, you are likely to ..... not notice
That's right. Once I was on a B747 where the cabin caught fire. Also, both engines on the side I was sitting on fell off together. At the same time, we had an explosive decompression followed by a ditching.

But I was taking pictures so I never noticed a thing and sat there with my camera while everyone else evacuated.





Are you SERIOUS? Some of the things they fill the heads of the crew with just amaze me.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 18:20
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...is it just crew throwing their weight around? I know where my money is.
As a general rule, most CC have quite a lot of stuff to do pre-departure. I suppose it is conceivable that some crew member, somewhere, could be sufficiently bored that they choose to start an argument with a passenger, knowing the premise to be incorrect, for no apparent reason, but... I know where my money is.

There are two points that always fascinate me when reading these periodic discussions about the use on board of mobiles/cameras/ipods/Kindles/whatever.

Firstly - While you may be (or consider yourself to be) an expert on the functionality and capabilities of your piece of kit, there is no way that the CC can be expected to understand and be familiar with, every aspect of every product. Clearly, under these circumstances, some form of blanket restriction is necessary unless we are to take the passengers word for it: Although there can be no doubt that all of you here would tell the truth, the possibility exists that some misguided soul might tell a porky, or even, heaven forbid, not fully understand the technicalities of their own device or appreciate the possible danger of non-compliance.

Secondly - I'm always amazed that the whole electronics thing is such a big deal to some folk - it's 15 minutes out of your life without the toys. As impositions go, it seems (to me at least) fairly minor, if occasionally mildly irritating? Commercial Aviation is mass transport, and just like society, has rules: Some of those rules may be inconvenient, but most of us recognise that we cannot have a system where we obey only those rules that please us - we start to discover this from about the age of two onwards. It seems to me that arguing with the crew over such a trivial matter can only result in something of a Pyrrhic victory - neither party can possibly feel happier, and that's if you win. I'm savoring a mental picture of Agaricus bisporus being carried down the aircraft steps in restraints, kicking and struggling as he loudly debates the semantics of "Commanders authority with doors open" and "Legal vs Illegal Commands" with a brace of burly coppers. I'm sure that later on, in Court, he will be proved right in a landmark judgement from the ECHR - but for now, he's missing his flight and making life that bit less pleasant for everybody else he has come in contact with - because of a camera
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 21:22
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I witnessed that too on Ryanair some time back. A fellow pax was warned that if he refused to delete his picture the police would be called on landing as it was 'illegal'. I put this down to a grumpy FA but maybe there is more to this?
Certainly not illegal, I doubt the Police in the UK would bother turning up at all.
"He took a photo of a friend on a commercial flight? Dear God we'll be right there!"
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Old 20th Feb 2011, 03:08
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Once I was on a B747 where the cabin caught fire. Also, both engines on the side I was sitting on fell off together. At the same time, we had an explosive decompression followed by a ditching.

But I was taking pictures so I never noticed a thing
WOW. You must have got some great photos. Care to share them with us?
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Old 20th Feb 2011, 04:18
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The use of unauthorised portable electronic devices is explicitly forbidden on New Zealand registered aircraft during safety critical phases of flight. Other countries may word their rules differently, or may not have similar rules at all (although this would surprise me, a cursory search shows that U.S. FAR § 91.21 contains similar restrictions).

New Zealand CAR 91.7
91.7 Portable electronic devices

...
  • (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), no person may operate, nor may
    any operator or pilot-in-command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any
    portable electronic device on any aircraft flying under IFR during an
    instrument approach or departure procedure or during any other critical
    phase of flight.
  • (c) Paragraph (b) does not apply to⎯
    • (1) hearing aids;
    • (2) heart pacemakers;
    • (3) portable voice recorders;
    • (4) electric shavers;
    • (5) electronic watches; or
    • (6) any other portable electronic device if the operator of the aircraft
      has determined that the portable electronic device to be operated
      will not cause interference with any aircraft system or equipment
      in the aircraft on which it is operated.
  • (d) In the case of—
    • (1) an aircraft being operated on air transport operations, the
      determination required by paragraph (c)(6) must be made by the
      operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be
      used; and
    • (2) any other aircraft, the determination required by paragraph (c)(6)
      may be made by the pilot-in-command or the operator of the
      aircraft on which the particular device is to be used.
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Old 20th Feb 2011, 08:30
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WOW. You must have got some great photos. Care to share them with us?
I'd love to but they made me erase them "for safety reasons..."

I forgot to mention, the chap next to me was also taking photos with a Sony Cybershot and ended up decapitated. I think the wrist strap somehow got around his head.
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