The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently reviewing policies on using in-flight electronic devices from takeoffs to landings of commercial airplanes.
The aviation authority is gathering information from airlines for their views on the proper usage of electronic devices during flights.
It will look into trials airlines will use on portable devices to produce a rule of thumb for passengers, and study ways to lay down standards to allow electronic devices throughout the flight stages.
The FAA is asking advice from airlines if it is necessary to implement new designs on aircrafts to ensure safety from radio signals emitted by electronic devices.
In addition, it is sending word to all mobile device makers to share the data they have on devices with certifications for in-flight use.
The FAA is considering whether airlines should make publicly available their device usage policies for travelers, or not.
“We’re looking for information to help air carriers and operators decide if they can allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today’s aircraft. We also want solid safety data to make sure tomorrow’s aircraft designs are protected from interference,” said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
There have been longstanding debates on the prohibition from using electronic devices during particular levels of flight, calling it ‘dangerous’ or a ‘safety risk’.
Airlines remain tightlipped when it comes to publicly available proof that implies safety risks from the Wi-Fi connectivity of mobile phones, tablets and notebooks.
The FAA’s request for airlines to step up and talk about the effects of electronic device usage on aircrafts could mean the lifting of rules on switching off devices during takeoff and landing.
The FAA said th Request for Comments will appear in the Federal Register on August 28, and it truly is up now (see source link below).
And we quote an excerpt taken from the request’s summary:
The FAA seeks comments on current policy, guidance, and procedures that aircraft operators (ranging from pilots of general aviation aircraft up to and including air carrier certificate holders at the major airlines) use when determining if passenger use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) may be allowed during any phase of flight on their aircraft. Current FAA regulations generally prohibit the use of all PEDs during flight, with the exception of portable voice recorders, hearing aids, heart pacemakers, and electric shavers. These regulations also provide an exception for any other PED that the aircraft operator has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication systems on the aircraft. To better effectuate the safety purposes of these regulations, this notice requests comments about key areas of policy and guidance that are used by aircraft operators when making these determinations. It also requests comments about other technical challenges for addressing the problems associated with determining if and when PEDs can be used. The desired outcome of this solicitation is to have sufficient information to allow operators to better assess whether more widespread use of PEDs during flight is appropriate, while maintaining the highest levels of safety to passengers and aircraft. The Agency stresses that the existing regulations allow the operator to authorize the use of PEDs, and that no specific FAA approval is required. The aircraft operator is responsible for assuring that the interference from PEDs does not pose a flight risk. Once all the comments have been collected, the FAA intends to establish an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to review the comments and provide recommendations that might permit the more widespread use of PEDs during flight while maintaining the highest levels of safety for the passengers and aircraft. The FCC will be a key partner in this activity working collaboratively with the FAA, airlines and the manufacturers to explore broader use of PEDs in flight.
Source: FAA (PDF)
Image: Cristeen Quezon via Flickr (CC)