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F.A.A. Taking “Fresh Look” At Passenger Use of Devices During Takeoff/Landing

F.A.A. Taking “Fresh Look” At Passenger Use of Devices During Takeoff/Landing

“Everyone please continue to use their electronic devices.” This is something you could be hearing from flight attendants in the future. The F.A.A. has recently been certifying the use of iPads in the cockpit, and the ban on the use of electronic devices during takeoffs and landings is once again coming under fire.

Cult of Mac’s Ryan Faas:

In a move that will music to the ears of Words With Friends addict Alec Baldwin, the agency is looking at allowing the use of electronic devices by passengers during takeoff and landing

The last time the F.A.A. considered the matter was in 2006 – a time before most of today’s devices like iPads and Kindles simply didn’t exist. According to the New York Times, the agency fully aware that it’s time to take a “fresh look” at the issue.

One of the challenges to getting devices certified and allowed during all phases is of flight is that current F.A.A. rules require each airline to request device permission “once the airline demonstrated the devices would not interfere with aircraft avionics.” That’s a time consuming and expensive proposition that doesn’t translate directly into revenue for an airline. Since the airlines don’t have an incentive to go through all the needed steps, the federal agency is looking at the option of taking on the burden of testing itself, though how long it will take to make any changes is an open question.

One potential issue is that demonstrating that devices don’t impact a plane’s systems needs to be done separately for each type of device. So, for iPads, that means the original iPad, the iPad 2, and the new iPad would all have to be tested. And each generation would need to have all its various models tested, both WiFi, and 3G/4G models. Each device model will also need to be tested on separate flights, and with each type of aircraft that every airline flies.

Fass: “It’s also worth noting that the agency also has no plans to include smartphones in any policy or rule changes, most likely because of the longer range antennas and/or the sheer volume of devices that would need to be tested.”

While it’s nice to see that the F.A.A. is finally addressing this issue, it looks like we’ll still be turning off our devices during takeoffs and landings for the foreseeable future.