Monday, March 19, 2012

FAA asks if new iPad crashes planes

New York Times reports: The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to review its policy that bans the use of electronic devices including Kindle e-readers and tablet computers on airplanes when taxiing, taking off and landing. Smartphones would not be included in the review.
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In the digital age where the average American can have a smartphone, mp3 player or tablet computer on them at any time, flying can be a bit of a hassle. You're typing a report, talking with friends, or scoring big on Words With Friends, when you're told you have to turn off your device for take off. The same thing happens when you have to land. But that could all change.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already cleared pilots to use iPads to store and organize their paperwork, and they can use them during any phase of the flight. The New York Times is reporting that the FAA may now reconsider whether passengers can do the same. The NYT's quote an FAA official saying that the administration has decided to take a "fresh look" at personal electronics on aircraft.

But this isn't something that will happen quickly. It could take a long time for the testing to be completed. Experts say that current guidelines state the airline must test each version of a single device to get approved by the FAA. For example, an airline would have to test each version of the iPad, on a separate flight, with no passengers on the plane to allow iPads on during takeoff and landing. The cost to do these tests is also quite expensive.

And while the FAA does plan to test whether e-readers, tablets and other gadgets don't interfere with aircraft avionics, it not going to include smartphones in its testing.

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