Want To Use Your iPhone Or iPad During Takeoff? The FAA Wants To Hear From You

Want To Use Your iPhone Or iPad During Takeoff? The FAA Wants To Hear From You

The FAA forces us to turn off our electronics during takeoff and landing. Tell them you want that rule changed.

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:

  • Email your comments to (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)
  • 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
Related
  • Aaron

    I might suggest a “one step at a time” approach.

    For the first step, allow cell phones and tablets to remain powered on, but in “airplane mode”. Test this out for 1 or 2 years to see if there are any issues or anomalies. Given the tiny amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted by devices in airplane mode, this shouldn’t cause any problems, but would go a long way to improve public opinion of the FAA.

    For the second step, allow cell phones and tablets to remain powered on, but with “airplane mode” enabled or disabled. There could be a few problems found here, many of these may not be technology related. If the ability of cell phones to operate on airplanes is enabled, we have to concern ourselves with people complaining about loud or inappropriate phone conversations. I might recommend only allowing data and text message transmission and reception, forbidding voice communications.

  • Arun Jolly

    This does a better job of explaining how ludicrous this rule is. http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2012/04/the-definitive-video-on-why-the-aeroplane-phone-ban-is-stupid/

  • Gregg Palmer

    I have no problem with people using iPads, iPods, etc during flight, takeoff and landing. They DONOT cause interference with avionics. I am a pilot and have a strong electronics background. I would however be opposed to people using their cell phones to talk on during flight. The last thing I want to do is listen to some idiot sitting next to me talking on the phone for an hour. I feel the same about people who use their phones in public places like restaurants, banks, stores, etc.

  • ImMansor

    I’d like to use the entire flight

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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