Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FAA to update personal gadgets' use on planes

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal Aviation Administration rules state that you cannot use certain digital devices on an airplane during taxi, takeoff or landing.

But this rule might change soon.

Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the FAA, says that the agency has decided to take a "fresh look" at the use of personal electronics on planes.

That's going to be welcome news to the people in the United States who, according to Forrester Research, by the end of 2012 will have bought more than 40 million e-readers and 60 million iPads and other tablets.

Yes, you read that correctly. The FAA, which in the past has essentially said, "No, because I said so," is going to explore testing e-readers, tablets and certain other gadgets on planes. The last time this testing was done was 2006, long before iPads and most e-readers existed. (The bad, or good, news: The FAA doesn't yet want to include the 150 million smartphones in this revision.)

Brown said that the administration's current rules allow airlines to request use of electronic devices "once the airline demonstrated the devices would not interfere with aircraft avionics."

Airlines have not done this because it is an expensive and laborious affair.

So, likely bowing to public pressure, the FAA has decided to take this initiative into its own hands and is going to figure out a way to start testing new electronics on airplanes.

As Ms. Brown said: "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."

But don't start using your Kindle during takeoff just yet. There's plenty of work to be done before these rules are changed. While the FAA is no longer ignoring the devices, it could very well entwine them in the kind of bureaucratic red tape only Washington can invent.

The FAA said it is exploring how to bring together electronics "manufacturers, consumer electronic associations, aircraft and avionics manufacturers, airlines, pilots, flight attendants and passengers" to figure out how to allow greater use of these electronics on planes. That's a lot of people, organizations and bureaucracy to juggle. Plus the money to do this testing is going to have to come from somewhere.

FAA to update personal gadgets' use on planes 03/18/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 18, 2012 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    While the Lightning is still trying to bolster its blueline via trade, it selected a big, right shot defenseman Cal Foote at No. 14 overall Friday in the NHL Draft.

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  2. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  3. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.

  4. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  5. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.