Is using devices on planes really dangerous?

Most of us who fly have seen someone on a plane using a cellphone, after the crew tells you to shut them off. Sometimes they get kicked off the flight, as happened to Alec Baldwin. But is it really dangerous to leave them on during takeoff and landing?

CBS News correspondent John Blackstone spoke to a couple of people who would know: "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot and CBS News aviation and safety expert Capt. Chesley "Sulley" Sullenberger and Dave Carson, an engineer at Boeing and co-chairman of the Federal Aviation Administration committee that issued the electronics ban.

What's the big deal with cell phones on planes?

Sullenberger knows better than most that, every once in a while, something quite unexpected can happen on an airplane. "The bottom line for me is very simple: None of us has the right to put others at risk for our own convenience."

"It seems like the documented problems are fairly rare," Sullenberger said. "But there are some."

For all those who hate switching off their devices, Boeing's Dave Carson said, "It's easier to just say turn them all off. If they have a battery, turn it off. If they have a switch, turn it off."

Carson says the potential for interference depends on how close a passenger is sitting to an antenna on the top of the aircraft. "So a passenger sitting right there by the window -- the signal can get right out into the antenna."

"Each time we fly, and people leave devices on," Sullenberger said, "they're conducting an unauthorized scientific experiment to see if this time it makes any difference. If it affects anything electronically on the airplane."

From the air, experts say, one phone can blanket hundreds of towers, potentially disrupting the entire system.

To see John Blackstone's report, click on the video in the player above.

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