FAA might expand in-flight portable electronics usage

The Federal Aviation Administration is forming a government-industry group to find out if portable electronic devices can be used safely during airplane flights. This means that passengers might eventually be allowed to use their smartphones and other portable electronics with less restrictions during flights, such as during takeoff and landing.

As anyone who has flown on an airplane knows, smartphones and other electronic devices are not allowed to be used mid-flight and especially during the critical takeoff and landing procedures, in case of radio frequency interference with flight equipment. Of course, with the huge range and variety of different personal electronic devices, surely some would be okay to use, some of the time. For example, some airplane pilots use iPads during taxi and takeoff.

With the formation of the study group, the FAA is planning to find out what devices might be safe to use, and when. However, one thing that can be ruled out immediately is making voice calls on cell phones during flight, which will not be considered at all.

"With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight."

The group, which will be established in the coming months, will meet for six months and then make its recommendations to the FAA.

Source: FAA

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