FCC Chairman Tells FAA To Allow Greater Use of iPads on Airplanes, Already

FCC Chairman Tells FAA To Allow Greater Use of iPads on Airplanes, Already

Let us use our monkey-flappin’ iPads on the monkey-flappin’ plane, already!

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today pushed for a wider use of electronic portable devices in-flight.

In a letter to Michael Huerta, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called for the FAA to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during airplane travel.

About time, right?

The FAA is already reluctantly coming around, with iPads being allowed to replace heavy, unwieldy paper logs and charts on some flights, as well as a study group launched this summer to review the policies on in-flight use of electronic gizmos like the uber-popular iPad. The FAA is still refusing to even look at revising its policies on voice communications during flights, though that is just fine with most of us who know how loud people can get on their cell phones in waiting rooms, grocery stores, and in other public places.

What “greater use” means to the chairman of the FCC is debatable, but since iPads, Kindles, and smartphones in :airplane mode” are allowed during flights, it does seem that the only issue here is take off and landing. IT sure would be nice to stop having to bring dead tree magazines along on a trip for the time between door closure and 10,000 feet, for sure.

As reported on The Hill, Genachowski pledged the FCC to work with the FAA, airlines, and airplane manufacturers on the review.

“This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives,” Genachowski wrote. “They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness.”

Yeah! That! And play tons of games and flirt on Facebook!

The FCC looked at the guidelines in 2004, but decided there wasn’t enough information to decide whether wireless devices would interfere with ground-based wireless networks.

  • Gregory Wright

    Are you sure the FCC chairman told the FAA or did the chairman make a request? The chairman does not have the authority to tell the FAA what to do.

  • roblef

    Are you sure the FCC chairman told the FAA or did the chairman make a request? The chairman does not have the authority to tell the FAA what to do.

    He can tell them if he likes. They don’t have to listen. :)

  • Aaron

    Once the FAA pulls their head out, they’ll realize that people leave their tablets and phones on all the time, even during take-off and landing, whether accidentally or purposefully. Have there been any planes spiraling out of the sky since the boom of smart phones and tablets?

    Aircraft manufacturers are shielding their electronics better, the electronics itself are getting better about rejecting spurious noise and radiation… there’s no reason why we can’t use our iPad in airplane mode during take-off and landing, as well as in-flight.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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