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June 21, 2013

FAA May Change Rules for Flying with Electronics

cellphone on planeFrequent flyers may be happy to hear the days of strict rules for some electronic devices may soon be over.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority is considering a set of draft recommendations that would ease restrictions on some devices for low altitude flights, says a report by CNet.

An advisory panel presented the FAA with the report after undertaking a comprehensive study last year regarding the safety of using portable electronics in flight.

As a result, the working group has made recommendations that flyers with certain devices — like e-readers —

should be able to use their gadgets for the duration of the flight.

Although some restrictions may be lifted, Smartphones are unlikely to be part of the guideline changes, says CNet, as the group was asked not to consider them in its recommendations.

Currently, the FAA prohibits the use of small electronic devices like Smartphones and tablets until the plane reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet, the concern being that devices could cause take-off problems by tampering with ground-based wireless networks.

Recent studies have shown that electronic devices in fact do not interfere with the airplane’s navigation, says an article by TechHive.

“That rationale was shown to be false in a late 2011 article by Nick Bilton at The New York Times . Bilton visited EMT Labs, an independent testing facility, to see what kind of interference our gadgets were putting out that could help bring down a plane. The result? Nada,” says TechHive.

A recent study by the Airline Passenger Experience Association posted on the Consumer Electronics Association website may prove this to be true.

About 30 percent of travelers who boarded a plane within the last year said they accidentally left their devices on the entire flight, with 61 percent of those travelers carrying a Smartphone as their device of choice, according to the data.

The study also indicates that 99 percent of all travelers carry some kind of personal electronic device when they’re flying.

The advisory panel is slated to make its final recommendations to the FAA by September.


Image courtesy of [samuiblue] /