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  (Source: NBC Universal)

The committee will be formed this fall with recommendations due in March 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be forming a committee soon to investigate whether the use of electronic devices can be increased on planes.
The FAA will form the committee this fall with the intention to study the issue for six months. Recommendations should be available in March 2013, but any real actions could take longer. 
The committee will consist of pilots, airplane makers, airlines, flight attendants, mobile technology companies, passenger associations and even the public. 
This study focuses on whether passengers on an airplane can use tablets and e-readers during takeoff and landing. The FAA was adamant about passengers not using electronics below 10,000 feet because of concerns regarding interference with aviation systems needed to fly the plane. Since there are so many types of tablets and e-readers, where each individual gadget would have to be tested, the FAA banned them all
However, many argued that there is no scientific proof that these devices cause interference. Also, American Airlines pilots were allowed to use iPads in the cockpits starting in December 2011, which raised further questioning. 
Back in March, the FAA said it would review the rules regarding the use of tablets and e-readers on airplanes during takeoff and landing. 
"With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cell phones, on aircraft," said Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the FAA.

Source: The Federal Aviation Administration

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Stupid stupid stupid
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2012 1:22:53 PM , Rating: 4
It's about power and control.

Based on the remotest of chances that a consumer device could cause interference to the old VOR navigation system, the Feds showed how macho they were by banning.

In fact, there is no evidence that any such interference has ever happened, and even good ol' Mythbusters had to resort to extreme measures to get ANY interaction (Okay, so dropping a cigarette into the toilet can't ignite sewer gas? So let's replace the toilet water with gasoline and the cigarette with a blowtorch...).

That's not to say a bad guy couldn't bring on board some special terrorist that looks like a laptop but that intentionally blankets the airwaves with noise, but that's a different scenario.

Years from now the old-timers will smile when someone mentions "Remember when you had to turn off your phones on takeoff and landing? Man, what sheeple we were then."

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2012 1:25:05 PM , Rating: 3
"terrorist device"

An edit button would be nice.

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By geddarkstorm on 8/28/2012 1:32:19 PM , Rating: 4
Didn't you know, the edit button was put on the list of "terrorist devices".

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By eBob on 8/28/2012 2:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the edit button is a very special terrorist.

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By inperfectdarkness on 8/28/2012 3:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. It's also funny to note that 99% of all electronic devices come with a label that says it has to abide by FCC regulation in two ways.

1. It cannot cause harmful interference.

2. It must accept external harmful influence, including that which may cause undesired operation.

So the question is, why exactly has the FAA decided that the FCC isn't competent enough to do it's job...and why have they gotten away with it for decades?

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By Solandri on 8/28/2012 4:58:19 PM , Rating: 3
Because if, despite the promises of the FCC, the radio in your MP3 player doesn't work due to interference, you get upset and shake your fist.

If the radio on a plane doesn't work due to interference, it misses a TCAS transmission from another plane on a collision course, and hundreds of people die.

I agree the FAA is erring too far on the side of safety. But it's not entirely unwarranted.

RE: Stupid stupid stupid
By Amiga500 on 8/28/2012 5:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you are aware of the stringent standards that need to be passed for certification.

A few dinky mp3 players or mobile phones aren't gonna screw up any aircraft communications gear.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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