New FAA Rule Prohibits Non-Essential Use of Electronics in Airplane Cockpits

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    At the same time the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is easing restrictions on the in-flight use of electronics for passengers, it is tightening its rules on electronics usage by pilots. A new FAA rule (PDF) published on Tuesday prohibits the personal use of electronic devices by flight crew members while an aircraft is being operated. It is an addendum to the FAA's 1981 "Sterile Cockpit" rule that requires pilots to refrain from non-essential activities during critical phases of flight.
    This FAA rule is a response to earlier instances of distracted flying by commercial airline pilots. In one 2009 incident, two pilots for Northwest, now Delta Air Lines, overshot their destination airport by 150 miles because they were using their personal laptops. During a 78-minute period, neither pilot noticed communications sent by company dispatchers and air traffic control. They only corrected course after a flight attendant called the cockpit to check on the flight's estimated time of arrival.

    Though the personal use of electronic devices is banned, the FAA rule does permit the essential use of electronic flightbooks in the cockpit. Several US airlines, including JetBlue, American Airlines and United, have adopted iPads to replace heavy flight bags. These iPads are equipped with key flight charts, reference documents and checklists necessary for the operation of the aircraft.

    While pilots must pay attention while flying, a recent FCC proposal would allow passengers to make phone and data calls while flying. In response to consumer opposition to in-flight calling, lawmakers are drafting a bill that would ban in-flight phone calls, says the Associated Press.
    The bill requires the Department of Transportation to issue regulations that would prohibit phone calls during flight. The bill has passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will move to the floor for discussion.

    Article Link: New FAA Rule Prohibits Non-Essential Use of Electronics in Airplane Cockpits
  2. macrumors 68020

    Nov 10, 2007
  3. macrumors 601


    Mar 2, 2012
    Right, because otherwise pilots would be checking twitter and playing Flappy Bird :rolleyes:
  4. macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2008
    Wonder if this is from the Southwest mis-landing.
  5. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    This is just common sense....would you want your pilot messing with his / her tablet or smartphone when they are responsible for your life? I'm pretty sure that this has been in the works for a while...we can play while they get paid.

    Just seems right to me.
  6. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    Customers talking on cell phones should be banned by the airlines, not by the FAA or any other government organization, if the issue is entirely with it being rude rather than it having to do with safety.

    Phone calls are banned on a bus I frequently ride, and all electronic devices must be silenced, as a consideration for other passengers, not because it would cause any technical problems.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    Flight Attendants

    Are flight attendants considered part of the "flightcrew"? I'm just wondering because it seems like, more and more, instead of walking around serving customers you walk up to the galley and they're all back there playing on their phones.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2010
    You would be SO surprised at to what goes on in the cockpit.
  9. macrumors 68040


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Honestly I would rather have the pilots entertained goofing around on their phones than falling asleep because they have nothing to engage their minds during the hours-long cruise portion of the flight.

    Modern aircraft, once in cruise on autopilot, require almost no interaction with the crew to fly. There's no reason to have the pilots staring out into space with absolutely nothing to do. If there's a problem, aircraft systems will let them know and they can deal with it.
  10. losthorse, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014

    macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2012
  11. macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2007
    Sausage factory and politics!


    I think that was distractions from a 'visitor' in the cockpit.
  12. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Are you allowed to talk to each other, Oliver?
  13. macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2008
    ... right up to the point where the monitoring / indication & warning system(s) fail...

    ... and if they're not focused on the flight/journey etc, then they have no situational awareness, which is exactly what they need the instant a problem is recognised...

    Do we really have to wait until there is a loss of life and an aircraft before doing the sensible thing of banning the use of these items in the flight deck?

    Oh, and by the way, pre-flight checking/prep of the aircraft is also, in my book (ex air force instructor & flight safety officer) is also a critical stage of flight, even though the aircraft is not in the air - or even necessarily moving...

    I agree though that maintaining alertness during the cruise phase is an ongoing challenge.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Rajani Isa

    Jun 8, 2010
    Of course, in the mentioned incident here - there was no "Problems" as far as auto-pilot is concerned. So the plane went miles out of it's way. They were so "harmlessly" distracted that they missed communications from the ground. That's always a serious safety issue.
  15. bradl, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014

    macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Nope.. from NWA188 from SAN-MSP where they were supposed to land in Minneapolis, but were 150 miles past their destination before ATC got hold of them. They were too busy on their personal laptops at that time.

  16. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2009
  17. macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2014
    I've never met a government employee that didn't think we proles couldn't function without them.
  18. macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011
    No, it was an FAA-certified dispatcher, who is required to make a trip as an observer in a cockpit jump seat at least once per year.

    The people allowed access to the cockpit during flight is limited by FAR 121.583. It's a pretty small list, and all of them are very aware of their obligation to not interfere with the flight crew in any way, especially below 10,000 feet.

    The media's claim of "distraction" is laughable to anyone that knows the regulations and airline policies. I'll wait until the NTSB releases their report, but I suspect it was as simple as the pilots thinking they had identified the airport, but focused on the wrong one.
  20. macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2010
    Almost Rock Solid
    No Flappy Bird frenzy while you're on duty, Captain!
  21. macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
  22. macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2007
    No distractions just a couple of WN Cowboys flying a VFR approach and screwing up. ;)
  23. macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Picking nits here, I know..

    but they weren't on a VFR approach. Visual Approach, yes, but that is an IFR procedure. And in all fairness, they weren't the first, and certainly not the last.

    NWA1152, scheduled from MSP to Rapid City, SD, made it to its destination, but instead of landing at Rapid City Airport, landed at Ellsworth AFB, 10 miles away.

    And let's not forget that Boeing Dreamlifter that was supposed to land at Wichita that landed at a Jabara airport, 12 miles northeast of Wichita.

  24. macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2011
    This ruling may make sense to many, but it represents both too much and too little, while failing to address the real problem.

    Automation (and system reliability) has already reduced crew workload from requiring a 5-man crew to just 2. And the only reason the 2nd person is needed (in cruise) is in case someone needs a bathroom break!

    "The sledge-hammer to crack the walnut": it's very different operation for crews on a short 2-hour domestic flight, traversing busy metropolitan areas compared to a 16-hour polar flight which has a 5-hour period of "dark nothingness".

    "Don't want the pilots sleeping...": it's approved in Europe, and scientifically verified. Different places, different rules.

    "I'm not allowed to drive using my phone": with the exception of the Google cars, you don't have an autopilot - you're manually driving the car! (And in some places; "what's that idiot in front doing, 70mph and he's only 20-feet ahead of me...") What if the proposed ban on mobile use during driving was technically enforced? Cell stations sense you are moving in a car, and inhibit operation. Great idea, but it can't tell if you are the passenger or driver! Just like the car Nav systems that don't let your passenger program for you, while driving.

    Pilots already have the "Sterile Cockpit" rule, and a professional/legal responsibility "not to be distracted". As humans, some are better or more compliant than others.

    So who do you want flying your aeroplane?
    Someone sleeping, so they are fresh to face challenges,
    Someone wide awake, engrossed in "level 35 of Mission X"
    Someone reading a book,
    Or an e-book...

    Chances are you've got several of all of these in any airline...

    ... at least, for the next two months!
  25. macrumors 68020

    Jan 22, 2009
    Where is the stewardess when you need her??

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