Last December, The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave American Airlines’ pilot approval to use iPads in-cockpit as a cost-effective replacement for heavy pilot bags. But what’s good for pilots and US Air Force is off limit to passengers who are still prohibited from using their wireless gadgets during taxi, take-off, landing or while the aircraft is under 10,000 feet.

Why? Well, as any avid fan of National Geographic’s Air Crash Investigation could tell you, this policy exists over fear of consumer electronics interfering with aircraft avionics and cockpit electronics. Good news for all you globetrotters out there with a penchant for playing Angry Birds in the skies, catching up with your email or just browsing the web while airborne.

According to the New York Times, the agency is considering relaxing its policies governing the use of gadgets such as e-readers, iPads and other wireless devices in commercial planes…

FAA’s Laura J. Brown told author Nick Bolton that the agency is taking a “fresh look” at the use of personal electronics on planes and is in the process of figuring out a way to start testing new electronics on airplanes:

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 cellphones, on aircraft.

Once they figure out the approval process, certifying gadgets will definitely take time because airlines will have to test each version of a single device before it can be approved. As a result, the use of personal electronic devices on commercial airplanes could wind up being entwined “in the kind of bureaucratic red tape only Washington can invent”, Bolton explains.

But wouldn’t you love to never hear that “Please power down your electronic devices for takeoff” admonition again?

  • Anonymous

    That would finally be good! Especially now that both Commercial Pilots & Passenger plane Pilots use iPads for their maps, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I never turn my electronics off when I fly. I always listen to music from my iPhone while using it to read kindle books. Granted, I am in airplane mode so it shouldn’t be sending any signals out, but I have also used an iPod Touch or WiFi only iPad without problems

  • I’ve always heard the concern is all those gadgets flying around in the event of a crash or significant flight action or correction. I think everyone knows by now that these devices don’t interfere with the cockpit avionics.

  • So I dont understand why can’t people just leave there devices off just for a little bit.

    • Anonymous

      Have you been in an airplane in the last 25 years? It is rarely “for just a little bit”

      • Hahah I’ve never been on a plane. How long is a little bit? It couldn’t be more than an 1/2 hr. I’m assuming? But I honestly have no clue.

      • Let’s just say, i’m currently in Europe and i’m going to japan next Month, thats a over 9 Hour Flight :-/

      • Anonymous

        As long as they close the door and back up a few feet from the gate, that counts as departing on time. The engine could be hanging half out of the nacell, but it counts. And they don’t need to turn on the HVAC.

        Usually less than a half hour, but the altimeter will work just fine while waiting on the Tarmac.

  • I’m just guessing here … 80 billion in the bank for Apple…..think there is a little influence with the FAA to allow iPads in flight????

  • any really know the reason why any device is forbidden? this is an easy explanation!

    Tenerife Airport Disaster…

    happened between Pan Am and KLM Boeing 747s. Because the FAA cannot make Boeing or other airlines companies in the US change radio equiptments, the ultimate answer is to turn off devices.

    Tenerife was caused by human error! the pilots were waiting for clearance to take off while pissed at waiting in the fog for a very long time. the FAA is so American! it likes to keep everything at scary mode just like allowing the retards to fly the system!

  • michiel josephs

    i always watch outside during takeoff/landing