FAA Proposes Ban on Flight Personnel Using Wireless Electronic Devices

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a proposal to make it illegal for pilots and flight attendants to use wireless electronics during flight operations including mobile and hand-held devices and laptops. The proposal is meant to conform to guidelines established last year in the Modernization and Reform Act. The proposed rule change does not apply to electronic devices directly related to flight operations, communications devices used for safety, or devices used during an emergency.

"This rule is intended to ensure that certain non-essential activities do not contribute to the challenge of task management on the flight deck and do not contribute to a loss of situational awareness due to attention to non-essential activities," the FAA wrote. "While this proposed rule affects small entities, it merely revises existing FAA rules and does not impose any cost on any regulated entity."

The agency is soliciting public comment on the rule changes until March 18. You can read the proposal in full in this Federal Regulation Brief (.Doc file) dated Jan. 15, 2013.

This proposal has no effect on the FAA's other proposal to remove restrictions on passengers using electronic devices during flight take-offs and landings

Source: Courthouse News


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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    FAA Document on PEDs

    While I know it upsets a lot of people, I would not call the PED regulation an 'overreach'. These aircraft were designed decades before such devices were envisioned and the tests they went through did not even begin to cover these kinds of cases. While they have not gotten much media attention there have been cases of the signals from personal electronics being misinterpreted by onboard systems as signals from things they expect,.. for instance a while back a 900MHz cell phone set off the fire surpression system in the hold of a passenger plane.

    Given how pissy people get when a plane goes down, I am not surprised they are being conservative about this. The FAA takes 'things that can cause hundreds of people to die' pretty damn seriously, even if they are rare events. When they don't people blame them for not protecting the public. Unfortunately people also blame them when they are doing their job because such protection is expensive and sometimes mildly inconvenient… and Americans HATE being momentarily inconvenienced or having phantoms of 'the government is infringing my freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want!'

  2. 0
    Imautobot says:

    My father-in-law is an FAA flight instructor who said it has never been an FAA regulation to turn off cellular devices.  It's strictly done because the airlines don't want to be liable if for some reason these devices do interrupt flight systems.

    Also, when my father-in-law flies (as in, when he's the pilot) he doesn't turn off his cell phone.

    This is just the government doing what it does best; overreaching.  Though I bet if you looked at this issue hard enough, it probably has to do with the airline industry lobbying to prevent passengers from entertaining themselves.  You know, they want to make sure you watch that crappy inflight movie; for a fee of course.

  3. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

    Of course anyone using personal electronics well they are driving or operating a commercial aircraft is bound to miss something important. I also remember the story you're talking about it was a scary situation since no one knew what was going on.

    I think there could be a happy medium to this.  I am all for camera's in the plan to watch the pilots behaviors.

    But to ban all electronics when they could be used for good could endanger a flight as well when needed.

    I say instead of opening an investigating to get rid of a positive tool the FAA instead looks for positive solutions on how electronics should properly be used on an aircraft by staff for the safety of the flight and crew.

  4. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    The FAA should ban arrogant, despondent and ignorant acts by the airlines and TSA. How about we make flying fun and awesome with courtesy,decorum, uber politeness and most flights you can get a refund on.

  5. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    No, this is saying personal electronics could hinder a flight and that's why they want to ban their use.  The only instance I'm aware of is a pilot who overshot his destination because he was busy messing around on his laptop.  Something like that, anyway.  I don't remember the details.

    EDIT: I was pretty close.  http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2009/10/29/104853.htm

    According to the article, some think it's more likely the pilots fell asleep.  Maybe personal electronics would have helped keep them awake.  My God!  The FAA will doom us all!


    Andrew Eisen

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