Almost a year ago we talked about the FAA finally looking over data about electronic usage during flights from take-off to touchdown. The results showed that nobody can really prove that turning on your Kindle will make the 100 ton jets come crashing to the ground, but on the flip side, nothing could prove that, given certain circumstances, the plane couldn't be affected, either. Of course, none of this matters to anyone outside of the US, as they can use almost any device as they wish, at any time during the flight; that is, until they hit 10 miles from our borders. So, where does all of this leave us? Well, given it's the FAA, we finally have an update!
It appears that the United States will be able to see the light of the rest of the currently connected-in-air world, as the FAA should be passing new guidelines that will allow the use of most electronic gadgets during a flight. Specifically, the association will be lessening the restrictions on which devices can be used under 10,000 feet after the cabin door has been shut. As of right now, "industry officials and draft recommendations prepared by a high-level advisory panel to FAA" show that the FAA will be cool with you using things with batteries during the entire duration of your flight, however cell phones could still be on the no-no list.
FAA spokesperson, Les Dorr, said,
Basically the panel is looking at a range of portable electronic devices, including computers and portable cameras. What the panel was not charged with was the use of voice communications.
This advisory panel to the FAA notified said group that the aircraft we have in the skies now are not simply a lightweight metal box that only uses radio to communicate to air traffic controllers. Instead, because of technology and innovation, the aircraft in the skies today are so complex and high-tech that the panel has told the FAA that the planes can handle a some MP3 tunes and readings of Fifty Shades of Grey during take-off and landing. Also, in the past, the FAA has allowed each airline to set and dictate its own policies on device usage and which devices are approved. This panel will set a standard that all airlines will have to abide by, so hopefully it'll be something that benefits the consumer and technology. And in the case of cell phones, it is expected that use of your cell phone will be permitted, however with the device set to "Airplane Mode" to turn off the cell tower radios in the phone. Anybody who has flown lately who has been advised to turn their phone completely off rather than simply set it to the mode that is labeled to the object in which they are being transported in will certainly understand the frustration and sheer confusion of the rules and policies in place now.
The FAA says the panel will be deciding on the new list of devices and rules through the end of September, where they will make a recommendation to the FAA, who will then decide the fate of our e-flying future.