FAA May Allow Tablet/E-Reader Use During Takeoffs, Landings Next Year
March 25, 2013 2:08 PM
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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."
The New York Times
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RE: Common sense.
3/25/2013 3:49:37 PM
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.
3/25/2013 5:16:00 PM
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?
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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