updated 12/27/2011 12:48:00 PM ET 2011-12-27T17:48:00

It may no longer be necessary to turn off your electronic gadgets while flying, a new study suggests. in fact, electronic gizmos, from smartphones to iPads, are an increasingly crucial part of how modern pilots fly the friendly skies.

Ernesto Martinez has been a pilot for 7 years; he told Fox40.com that thanks to maps, airplane and airport information, approach planes, and sectionals, no tool has made flying easier than his iPad.

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"All that information is pre-loaded into the iPad so there is no communicating through Wi-Fi or the cellphone network -- so it's really not sending any cellphone signal," he said.

Martinez isn't alone: Both American and United Airlines pilots use iPads in the cockpit, Fox40.com reported, which raises questions as to why passengers can’t use them.


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And passengers -- including "Words With Friends" fan Alec Baldwin -- have recognized that fact. And they've been using electronics in droves.

A new investigation by USA Today found that a large percentage of people don’t follow the rules and leave their electronic devices on during take off, flight and landing. FOX40 found people even willing to admit to it.

"Everyone kind of disobeys it. I've even heard from flight attendants that it doesn't do anything,” said one passenger.

But Martinez says otherwise.

"If you have a large aircraft and there are many people on their phones, it can get into the cockpit,” said Martinez.

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The study looks at hundreds of documents that found electronic devices give off electromagnetic interference, but that the amount is small.

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© 2012 Discovery Channel

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