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FAA Advisory Committee Recommends Relaxation of Electronic Device Restrictions on Commercial Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee has recommended that electronic device restrictions on commercial aircraft be relaxed. According to the committee, airline passengers should be permitted to use smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other personal electronic devices during taxi, takeoff and landing.
The 28-member committee agreed on the recommendations during a closed-door meeting, the officials said. The recommendations will be included in a report to be delivered to the FAA early next week, they said.
Current rules prohibit the use of electronic devices such as the iPad or the iPhone below 10,000 feet, which means airline passengers are instructed to power off their devices as the plane ascends and descends. Pilots and crew, however, are allowed to use iPads during all phases of flight and many airlines have replaced pilot flight bags with iPads to reduce weight and save money.

united_pilots_ipad-1
The ban has been in place to prevent electronic devices such as cell phones from interfering with cockpit equipment, but modern planes are designed to prevent electronic interference.

The Federal Aviation Administration began reexamining the regulations that ban electronic device usage below 10,000 feet last year, and in March, the FAA’s advisory committee reported that it hoped to loosen device restrictions by the end of the year.

Under today’s recommendation, passengers would be able to use most devices, though some, like Apple’s iPhone, would need to be switched to airplane mode. Downloading data, browsing the web, and talking on the phone would remain prohibited, though reading e-books, listening to music, watching movies, and playing games would be permitted during all phases of flight.

The recommendation will be delivered to the Federal Aviation Administration next week, but it remains up to the FAA to decide whether to follow the recommendations of the committee. The FAA created the committee and was involved in committee deliberations, so it is likely that some of the changes will be implemented, though a timeline for the change is thus far unknown.

Top Rated Comments

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12 months ago

these restrictions were nonsense



but what's so wrong with having them?


I dunno, how about the fact that they are nonsense?
Rating: 14 Votes
12 months ago

I'm OK with this as long as people text, play games, or listen to their headphones. I'm not Ok with this if people are talking loudly on their phone.


Yeah! I wish those people would step outside to place their call, preferably during takeoff :D
Rating: 10 Votes
12 months ago
Holy recycled photograph, Batman! (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/25/faa-still-looking-at-digital-device-use-during-takeoff-and-landing/)
Rating: 9 Votes
12 months ago

And tomorrow morning I fly to LA!... a week too early to take full advantage of this new policy.


A week? In a week it goes to the FAA, who then decide what they want to do about it and start the rule-making process which may eventually result in the rules being changed. Then those rules go to the airlines who decide whether they are going to relax their policies and change their safety videos (even if the FAA says you can, that's a minimum policy, the airlines are free to continue to enforce something stricter) and then, only then, will anyone be taking advantage of anything.

I'm pessimistically going for a year or two .. and another 10 before other aviation authorities in other parts of the world decide to follow suit, if they do.
Rating: 9 Votes
12 months ago
Definitely about time! So many rules are active from 10-20 years ago that no longer make sense.
Rating: 8 Votes
12 months ago
This is why we need better math and science education in the US.
Rating: 6 Votes
12 months ago
I'm OK with this as long as people text, play games, or listen to their headphones. I'm not Ok with this if people are talking loudly on their phone.
Rating: 6 Votes
12 months ago

So long "Air Plane Mode".



Under today's recommendation, passengers would be able to use most devices, though some, like Apple's iPhone, would need to be switched to airplane mode.


All wireless will have to be turned off.
Rating: 6 Votes
12 months ago

Holy recycled photograph, Batman! (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/25/faa-still-looking-at-digital-device-use-during-takeoff-and-landing/)


How many stock photos of Pilots using iPads do you need? :D We even had a lawsuit aimed at one of the members who was using a stock photo as his avatar.
Rating: 6 Votes
12 months ago
Finally.

It is done. These rules have been hanging by a thread. The first line of enforcement has always been a stewardess who have known they were a load of crap. There are two reasons why the rules were known as a load of crap. First, science. The planes are, quite logically, not designed to be susceptible to publicly available and used radio waves. Second, experience. These rules have never been enforced on private planes and thousands of those fly every day (often with the same stewardess covering those flights). So everyone has known for a long time that there was no real safety issue here.

Once the stewardess stop even trying to enforce this rule, the rule is done. It doesn't matter when some regulatory body makes the final call.

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I'm not sure how nonsense they are, I can't speak for the air side, but I routinely work in the Air Traffic Control room for an Air Force base here in the UK, and nearby mobile phones will routinely cause the consoles to transmit that static "dun dun dun... dun dun dun... dun dun dun.." noise to the pilots if they're actively transmitting at the time.


None of the phones in the passenger area are "nearby" the pilot's microphone or speakers.
Rating: 6 Votes

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