No one likes turning off their portable electronics on a flight during takeoff and landing, especially if they’re as harmless as an iPod or an e-reader. And the rule if often the subject of debate as we all become more reliant on these devices on a daily basis.
Thankfully, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now ready to reconsider the rule, and it’s asking passengers, flight attendants, airlines, and the makers of electronic devices for their opinion. Tell the FAA you think the rule is silly and you could help towards getting it abolished.
The FAA released a new document today which asks customers and other interested parties to comment on the use of electronic devices — including iPods, iPads, and notebooks — during an airplane’s takeoff and landing. It wants feedback on a wide range of topics, such as procedures for testing and gathering data related to the way in which portable electronics interact with aircraft systems; how to build avionic systems that aren’t affected by portable electronics; and more.
It also wants passengers to provide their thoughts on whether or not voice calls on aircraft would be distracting, and whether setting up and starting our devices would cause us to ignore the safety briefings held at the beginning of a flight.
What’s interesting, as noted by GigaOM, is that many makers of aircraft systems have already certified that their equipment continues to work unaffected when portable electronics are switched on.
There’s still a chance, however, that the FAA won’t change its mind, and that it will continue to be strict about the use of electronics during takeoff and landing. After all, safety is still its main concern, as today’s document notes:
In today’s avionics, there are various systems—global positioning, traffic collision and avoidance, transponder, automatic flight guidance and control, and many other advanced avionics systems— that depend on signals transmitted from the ground, other aircraft, and satellites for proper operation. In addition, there are advanced flight management systems that use these avionics as a critical component for performing precision operational procedures. Many of these systems are also essential to realize the capabilities and operational improvements envisioned in the Next Generation airspace system. As such, harmful interference from PEDs cannot be tolerated.
Nonetheless, it’s well worth submitting your opinion on this matter if you feel strongly about it. You can do so in a number of ways, including:
- Send you comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov
- Send a good, old-fashion letter to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
- Fax your comments to Docket Operations on 202-493-2251
- Via GigaOM