The FAA to loosen regulations on electronics aboard planes

By on June 21, 2013, 11:45 AM
smartphone, faa, electronic devices, federal aviation administration

The Federal Aviation Administration will reportedly loosen the currently strict restrictions on the use of electronics aboard airplanes. The recommendation to change these regulations will be brought forth by a 28 member advisory panel, and if successful, fliers will have considerably more freedom during takeoff, taxiing and landing.

Although the exact changes are unknown to the public, it would appear that certain gadgets such as the e-reader might soon be allowed during an entire flight. For the sake of not throwing safety completely out the window, cell phone calls still won’t be allowed, which is probably for the better.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the FAA has been persuaded to re-evaluate the limitations due to the public’s new dependence on mobile devices, as well as their expectation to use these machines at all times of day. After all, the existing rules have been essentially left untouched since the 1960’s; a generation in which computing was in its infancy and smartphones were several decades away from existence. 

The FAA report went on to say that “the consumer electronics industry has exploded” and that restricting the use of such devices at low altitudes “has become untenable”. Current regulations place a flat-out ban on electronic devices while the plane climbs to 10,000 feet; however, despite these rules, one-third of passengers have admitted to accidentally leaving a device on during at least one flight.

The details of the amendments are still being debated and are subject to change. We must wait for an official announcement to see how much freedom we are really being granted.




User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

I never see anyone abiding by this rule. Some people dont even turn off the cell phones either. Just hide them.

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If they ever allow cell phone usage (for talking that is), I'll be walking to wherever I need to go. Like cell phones aren't already the most annoying thing in all of humanity. Let's just lock 250 people in a silver tube for a few hours and let them loose with their cell phones. Ugh....

veLa veLa said:

Didn't they prove that the whole requirement of turning your phone off was just a ploy to make you pay for expensive in flight calls?

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

People just blatantly disregard the safety rules. Just because there hasn't been a major disaster yet (that I'm aware of) it doesn't mean to say it won't or can't happen.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Didn't they prove that the whole requirement of turning your phone off was just a ploy to make you pay for expensive in flight calls?

The no call rule has to do with cell companies (they don't allow the cell towers to broadcast at those altitudes) and keeping people from chattering away on their phones in the cabin. The whole thing about phones interfering with the aircraft comms and nav is largely held to be bogus, as all of that equipment is shielded from interference. The only reason they tell you to shut the phones/other devices off is because the FAA mandates it.

1 person liked this | Win7Dev said:

Didn't they prove that the whole requirement of turning your phone off was just a ploy to make you pay for expensive in flight calls?

No. GSM smartphones actually do affect the navigation systems of smaller aircraft and could affect larger aircraft if there are enough people using them. 800Mhz frequencies are proven to cause a very significant effect with little power. Airplanes built 2009 and newer all have fully shielded cables so that this type of interference cannot occur, but chances are you won't be riding in a plane that new since most last 20 years+

MilwaukeeMike said:

I'm happy for the flight attendants. I've heard stories from them that getting people to shut off their phones is the most painful part of their job. People will look a flight attendant in the face and tell them their phone is off when it's in their front shirt pocket glowing. You'd think the Skymall could keep people busy for 20 mins during takeoff, but I guess some people already own all the Slap Chops and ergonomic pillows they need...

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If they ever allow cell phone usage (for talking that is), I'll be walking to wherever I need to go. Like cell phones aren't already the most annoying thing in all of humanity. Let's just lock 250 people in a silver tube for a few hours and let them loose with their cell phones. Ugh....

Don't worry, the practice of actually talking on phones is slowly going away. Some of the younger generation don't even know this function exists.

Emexrulsier said:

Nah phones don't really interfere at at with any navigation equipment just non techy savs which claim different. Same with medical equipment. Phones used to be banned in hospitals because of such claims which were all utter tosh

Guest said:

I fully support the FAA ban on cell phones voice calls in-flight, regardless of reason. My reason is simple... Phone usage will incite "AIR RAGE". Imagine sitting within 5 rows of some loudmouth for several hours while she loudly blabbed away on the phone with using foul language. It's a captive audience, we should NOT have to be subject to that!! I personally would think twice about flying.

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