Print 13 comment(s) - last by danjw1.. on Mar 26 at 1:13 PM

However, cell phones would still be left off the list of usable devices during these times on a flight

As mobile gadgets become increasingly ubiquitous with new versions released at a rapid pace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is realizing that it may have to ease back on its rules concerning the use of readers/tablets during takeoff and landing. 

By the end of this year, an industry working group set up by the FAA may announce that the use of devices like Kindle e-readers and iPads can be used during takeoffs and landings of a plane. By this time next year, the new, more relaxed rules could already be implemented.

However, cell phones would still be left off the list of usable devices during these times on a flight.

The FAA set up an industry working group last year comprised of employees from Boeing, Amazon, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Association of Flight Attendants, aircraft companies, etc. The group first met in January to begin studying whether electronic devices really affect a plane's avionics or not.

The study is not only focusing on tablets and e-readers, but also future devices like Google's Glass product (augmented reality glasses) and Apple's upcoming smart watch. 

The group is expected to present its findings by July 31, 2013. 

While the group may announce that certain mobile devices are safe for takeoffs and landings, the gadgets will still have to be set in airplane mode during those times. 

The upcoming report from the industry group hopes to accomplish a system where flight attendants don't have to police passengers as far as what devices can be used and whether they're in airplane mode or not. It also hopes to move from having several regulations to just one set, which covers the proper devices and their use. 

The FAA has set rules that make it so passengers cannot use electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and e-readers during takeoff and landing on a flight. However, there is no solid proof that electronics affect the way a plane performs. This has been in question for some time, but the FAA continues to impose these rules on passengers, and it has caused panic and even injuries among those who travel by plane. For instance, a 68-year-old man punched a 15-year-old on a plane when the teenager refused to turn off his smartphone during a flight. According to the man, he was doing it to save the entire plane from any harmful consequences.

But in early December 2011, the FAA raised a few eyebrows when allowing American Airlines pilots to use iPads in the cockpit. The FAA allowed iPads to replace paper manuals and charts, and they could be used during takeoff and landing.

In December 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pressured the FAA to allow greater use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing because "they empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

Source: The New York Times

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Common sense.
By Gunbuster on 3/25/2013 3:26:27 PM , Rating: 5
If having electronics turned on posed any real risk they would not have an operating procedure that is 100% comprised of having 5 employees walk down an isle of 600 people, eyeball it, and then say we’re good.

RE: Common sense.
By jjlj on 3/25/2013 3:28:27 PM , Rating: 3
Plus 1, lol.

RE: Common sense.
By 3DoubleD on 3/25/2013 3:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
I've always thought most of the fuss was more about having heavy, hard, loose objects flying through the passenger compartment during the unlikely event of a malfunction during landing and takeoff. It is during these times mechanical failure is most likely.

A sudden change in altitude or other abrupt acceleration could send whatever is in your hands flying. I'd rather be hit by a newspaper, magazine, or book than a tablet or laptop (although I guess that would somewhat depend on the book! - beware of flying textbooks).

But it is true, they use the honor system when it comes to disabling any wireless communications, so it mustn't be an urgent issue. You'd also think that if a cell phone could generate a strong enough signal to cause a problem, planes would be prone to frequent malfunctions from all sorts of radio signals from both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial sources.

There is also the argument that they want your full attention during take-off and landing. If you have headphones in, you might miss an important announcement... but if the plane is going down... you'd probably notice even with headphones in. They also have no problem with people sleeping during take-off or landing. If they needed you to be alert then they'd wake everyone up.

RE: Common sense.
By Rukkian on 3/25/2013 5:16:00 PM , Rating: 2
I guess pretty much any hardcover is at least as bad as most tablets.

The issue that this now brings up - since they are saying tablets are okay, but cell phones are not, who decides which is which? There are 5.5" Phablets, with reports of 6+" phones on the horizon. Is this okay? What about an ipod touch (not a phone)? Will the attendants now have to go around measuring screens?

RE: Common sense.
By GreenEnvt on 3/26/2013 6:42:21 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, though it seems the devices can do something the pilots can notice though. A few years ago I was on a plane coming into Sao Paulo, Brazil. A guy a couple seats over turned on his phone as we were descending. Within 30 seconds the captain came on the PA in an angry voice and said "Whoever just turned on a cell phone turn it off! we're trying to land the plane!"

No idea how he knew. The attendants were all seated for landing already, so I'd assume it must have caused some sort of interference on some equipment.

RE: Common sense.
By Dorkyman on 3/26/2013 12:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
No studies have EVER shown interference. Mythbusters couldn't find a connection either. Avionics have excellent shielding.

I expect that probably 50% of smartphone users don't bother to either turn their phones off or put them in airplane mode. So the cabin is full of fully-operational devices. And still no issues.

No, I have to conclude it's nothing more than a control issue.

RE: Common sense.
By marvdmartian on 3/26/2013 10:47:44 AM , Rating: 2
I can't tell you how many times I've seen people, as the flight attendant make the "turn off all electronic devices" annoucement, simply turn their devices, inluding cell phones, to standby, versus turning them all the way off. And, so far, we're okay, since none of those planes crashed.

I believe the phones they need to worry about are the older (read: DINOSAUR) models, that emit more than recent models do. In other words, like the phone I carry, and ensure is turned all the way off, when flying! LOL

just an annoyance
By daboom06 on 3/25/2013 2:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
it just annoys me to hear that the FAA only this January has decided to see if the devices actually affect planes' avionics. now, if they've checked in the past, fine, but how they could have found and corroborated that portable cd players cause anything but my own ears to malfunction has always been completely absurd. i can understand their tactic, though. if you disallow everything then nothing can go wrong, and it costs less to just have blanket policing.

but i keep my phone on out of spite for them lying to me about how dangerous my mp3 player is.

RE: just an annoyance
By gmyx on 3/25/2013 3:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree that on all mondern planes there are no issues, I still keep my phone on airplane mode for the sake of the battery and to prevent roaming charges if you land a different airport than expected.

Older planes using analog, less protected avionics could be susceptible to interference with old more powerful (energy output) cell phones, but not anymore.

RE: just an annoyance
By jjlj on 3/25/2013 3:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
Is roaming still a thing? I know going to other countries is roaming but in the US? Of course I am assuming you are talking about roaming in the US.

RE: just an annoyance
By gmyx on 3/26/2013 6:46:40 AM , Rating: 2
If your a visitor to the states, yes roaming is still a thing. Everyone wants their piece.

By toyotabedzrock on 3/25/2013 8:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
Knives OK Cell Phones not so much.

I see a logic flaw.

Just plain stupid!
By danjw1 on 3/26/2013 1:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
Why not cellphones? This is ridiculous! While cellphones may have more powerful transmitters than WiFi transmitters, many tablets and e-readers have cell modems. So I just don't see any differentiation here. Both smartphones and these other devices are capable of being useful offline. This is just silliness from the FAA. There just isn't any reason to block any of these items. The real stupidity is that it doesn't seem that they are actually planning to do any real testing. Just setup a working group to discuss it. Well, that will certainly get to the bottom of the issue, won't it! ;-)

This is really just stupid bureaucracy! Idiotic bureaucrats digging in their heels and not going to budge!!

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