Advertisement
  1. News

FAA to update personal gadgets' use on planes

Published Mar. 19, 2012

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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Eboni Wiley, left, testifies at the trial of her ex-boyfriend Granville Ritchie who is accused of raping and killing 9-year-old Felecia Williams in 2014. Wiley led the girl to Ritchie, according to the state. Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Johnson, right, questions Wiley in a Hillsborough County Courtroom.Octavi OCTAVIO JONES  |  Octavio Jones
    Eboni Wiley was a friend of Felecia Williams’ family. She told jurors how she brought the girl to the man standing trial for raping and killing the 9-year-old.
  2. Students and community activists marched in Tampa last year after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The attack killed 17 people and gave rise to Florida’s school guardian law, which this year was changed to allow classroom teachers to be armed. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Damien Kelly, the director of the Office of Safe Schools, told lawmakers that 11 districts have said they would like the option to arm instructional staff, but it wasn’t clear if all 11 had...
  3. This Jan. 31, 2017 photo shows the entrance to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Gustavo “Gus” Antorcha cited a “difference of approach.”
  4. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The 15-year-old student was arrested Monday after shouting the threat out loud, according to St. Petersburg police.
  5. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, a Republican, has asked for a City Council vote on a resolution asking congress for gun control measures. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the Republican’s symbolic resolution will almost certainly fail.
  6. A homeless Vietnam War veteran in Clearwater answers questions for a Pinellas County homeless survey. A shortage of affordable housing is considered a major cause of homelessness among vets in the Tampa Bay area. [Times files]
    Local agency leaders called on members of Congress to increase national affordable housing options as a solution to veteran homelessness
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said it is obtaining a search warrant to start looking for evidence inside the house.
  8. Josh Hensley was known for dressing as Jack Sparrow. Facebook
    Joshua Hensley, 43, was found dead Monday morning. He went missing after setting out on a paddle board Saturday.
  9. 5 hours ago• Pinellas
    Ele Fox, Kiwanis Club of Dunedin member, and Joe Mackin, president of the Dunedin Cares Food Pantry are pictured in front of the case of meals they received to be distributed to families in need in the Dunedin area. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bessette. Stephanie Bessette
    Local Kiwanis clubs supply food in service project
  10. Volunteers work to refurbish a home as part of the Fuller Center’s Greater Blessings Program in Pasco County in August. Fuller Center for Housing Nature Coast
    Comedy show and dinner will help raise money for ministry working in Hernando, Pasco and Citrus counties and beyond.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement