FCC asks FAA to allow greater use of electronic devices in-flight

By , Dec 7, 2012

Back in August, the Federal Aviation Administration started calling for public input on whether or not airline passengers should be able to use portable electronic devices during any phase of flight.

The general consensus is that there’s no reason why passengers should have to power down their tablets and other devices during takeoffs and landings. And yesterday, the FCC offered its 2 cents…

On Thursday, the head of the Federal Communications Commission pushed for wider in-flight use of electronic devices during airplane flights in a letter to the FAA’s acting administrator Michael Huerta.

The Hill reports:

“FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights in a letter sent Thursday to Michael Huerta, the acting administrator of the FAA.

The FAA launched a study group this summer to review its policies and guidance on in-flight use of electronic devices as people have increasingly turned to mobile phones and tablets to connect with one another. To the chagrin of most passengers, the FAA said the study would not consider allowing “voice communications” during flights.”

Interestingly enough, the FAA actually considered dropping its ban for in-flight usage of wireless devices back in 2004. But it sunk the idea because it found no evidence that this would not cause airplane interference.

The Administration has loosened up a bit in the past few years though. It recently approved rules that allow passengers to surf the Web on wireless networks — like GoGo’s inflight internet — during flights.

What’s your take on all of this? Is using an iPad or other device during takeoff dangerous?

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  • Kaptivator

    Think its just a way for them to bleed more money out of people either increasing the cost of in-flight internet and or remove the cost all together but increase air fair. Side note: As a recreational pilot I use my iPad nav maps for flight plans and airport layouts and my iPhone for music during all flights. There has not been a time that i have had interference with ATC or any on board equipment during any phase of flight. (ex: of take off, landing, taxiing to take off or after landing, communicating with ATC on ground declaring flight plan and or getting clearance and being routed to land with the rest of the hundreds of planes big and small). Only thing that sucks is that you get no cellular signal once you climb above the blanket that cellular towers create for service. I don’t fly jet powered aircraft. However, if it doesn’t interfere with the prop planes that i fly, I doubt that it will have any impact on a commercial airliner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    bout damn time

  • 2008crna

    This archaic idea of no cellular phones is not only still pervasive in the airline industry but in hospitals as well. You will often see signs in ICU’s and ER’s that state that phones are not allowed to be used in the area. However, the current generation of monitoring equipment is shielded to resist all but the most extreme interference. In fact, if it wasn’t, the mere use of a telemetry (cardiac) monitor near a ventilator (breathing machine) would cause each other to short. This is just a stupid rule that may have once been a valid concern but is now merely a tradition.

    • Falk M.

      Uhm, have you ever thought about the idea of keeping the noise level a bit lower?

      It’s not the talk, but the sometimes very loud and unnecessarily long ring tones that annoy people.

      • 2008crna

        Perhaps that could be one reason but that wasn’t the reason we were told to tell families. Additionally, simply posting a sign to set the phone to “silence” would clear that issue. As for the talking, pretty much all families were considerate of those in the ICU and that wasn’t a problem. Nevertheless, you are arguing a point from a logical perspective when you never actually worked in the environment.

    • TexanPatriot2

      The staff is using cell phones…their personal cell phones, while they are enforcing signs for the patient’s families. Even one while she was at the DESK ON HER IPHONE. Seen it happen with my own eyes.

      I challenged her….”well, those are the rules.” was the pat answer.

  • Keith S.

    The one that REALLY gets me? Kindles. Not the Fire, but the e-Ink variety. Or any e-ink device. Passengers are still required to “turn these off”, even though when it is displaying a page, it is using NO power to do so.

    • Keith S.

      Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with iOS devices. :)

    • TexanPatriot2

      Exactly. I have one, and no, I don’t power mine down.

  • TexanPatriot2

    Just how many aircraft have been taken down by someone reading from an iPad during takeoff or landing? Again? How many?