Hope for flyers: FAA to test electronics use during landing, take-off
Tests will determine if using popular electronic devices on a flight interferes with the plane’s sensitive avionics.
Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM
By Dan Howley, LapTopMag
Flying isn’t something most travelers look forward to, unless its in first-class or the time-machine from “Back to the Future II.” The only respite from the mind-numbing whir of the plane engines and perpetual neck pain is the ability to switch on your tablet or laptop and watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
Unfortunately, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t allow passengers to use electronic devices of any kind during taxing, take-off or landing. But that may soon change.
According to the New York Times, The FAA is expected to conduct new testing on the use of electronics such as tablets on planes. Smartphones are still being excluded. The agency’s decision follows complaints from passengers and high-profile incidents concerning the use of electronics (Alec Baldwin’s infamous Words with Friends incident comes to mind).
The tests will consist of using popular electronic devices on a flight without passengers to determine if the device interferes with the plane’s sensitive avionics. The kicker is that the FAA will only be able to test one device per flight, meaning they’ll have to dedicate one flight to an iPad 2 and another to the new iPad, and so on. The FAA has offered airlines the opportunity to conduct these tests on their own, but with so many electronic devices in use, doing so would have been prohibitively expensive for an industry that’s been hemorrhaging cash for years.
So when can you expect to be able to use your favorite device on a plane without interruption? Well we hate to break it to you but, it seems like it will still be some time before any new regulations go into effect. Still, it’s good to know that the issue is at least being looked at.
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