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FCC Urging FAA to Allow More Devices on Planes

Under current rules, no fliers are allowed to use laptops, tablets and e-readers if the plane is below the 10,000 feet level

December 11, 2012 – Travelers on airplanes, who hate the moment they must turn off their tablet and smartphones when on board, appear to have a huge and powerful ally in their quest to have rules changed by the government.

The Federal Communications Commission head has contacted the Federal Aviation Administration urging the regulatory agency to allow for greater use of e-readers, tablets and other electronic devices while in flight.

Under current rules, no fliers are allowed to use laptops, tablets and e-readers if the plane is below the 10,000 feet level due to concerns the electronic gadgets might interfere with instruments on the aircraft, says the FAA. Any type of disruption could be of great risk because of the low altitude when crew members are preparing for a landing or readying for a takeoff.

However, the FAA announced in August it was assembling a working group to look at the policies on the electronic devices like Kindles, iPads along with rules that must be followed, as to when passengers may use them.

The working panel will not take into consideration cell phone use for calls when in flight, which is already prohibited under rules set by the FCC. The group has not been fully assembled, but will include members of the aviation manufacturing industry, the mobile technology industry, air attendants and pilots groups, different airlines and passenger groups.

The FCC said it would not comment further on the situation. The FAA said earlier in the year that the FCC would be an important partner in the recommendation that might give more widespread use of the electronic gadgets during an aircraft’s flight, while strictly maintaining the highest of all levels of safety for the aircraft and most importantly for the passengers.

Industry observers have pointed out the studies to examine portable electronic gadgets’ impact on an aircraft are out of date. They are from 2006, before many of the gadgets that are popular today were even in the market.

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