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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee has recommended that electronic device restrictions on commercial aircraft be relaxed. According to the committee, airline passengers should be permitted to use smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other personal electronic devices during taxi, takeoff and landing.
The 28-member committee agreed on the recommendations during a closed-door meeting, the officials said. The recommendations will be included in a report to be delivered to the FAA early next week, they said.
Current rules prohibit the use of electronic devices such as the iPad or the iPhone below 10,000 feet, which means airline passengers are instructed to power off their devices as the plane ascends and descends. Pilots and crew, however, are allowed to use iPads during all phases of flight and many airlines have replaced pilot flight bags with iPads to reduce weight and save money.

united_pilots_ipad-1-500x357.jpg
The ban has been in place to prevent electronic devices such as cell phones from interfering with cockpit equipment, but modern planes are designed to prevent electronic interference.

The Federal Aviation Administration began reexamining the regulations that ban electronic device usage below 10,000 feet last year, and in March, the FAA's advisory committee reported that it hoped to loosen device restrictions by the end of the year.

Under today's recommendation, passengers would be able to use most devices, though some, like Apple's iPhone, would need to be switched to airplane mode. Downloading data, browsing the web, and talking on the phone would remain prohibited, though reading e-books, listening to music, watching movies, and playing games would be permitted during all phases of flight.

The recommendation will be delivered to the Federal Aviation Administration next week, but it remains up to the FAA to decide whether to follow the recommendations of the committee. The FAA created the committee and was involved in committee deliberations, so it is likely that some of the changes will be implemented, though a timeline for the change is thus far unknown.

Article Link: FAA Advisory Committee Recommends Relaxation of Electronic Device Restrictions on Commercial Aircraft
 

Illusion986

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2009
354
3
Definitely about time! So many rules are active from 10-20 years ago that no longer make sense.
 

donutbagel

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2013
932
1
I always thought these restrictions were nonsense, ESPECIALLY the one where I can't have a radio that's receiving FM signals (not even sending!), but what's so wrong with having the rules? People can't stop using their stuff for like 5 minutes?
 

mantan

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2009
1,725
979
DFW
Not surprised they are allowing people to use read/browse during all phases of flight or that they don't want people talking on the phone.

I'm a bit surprised they are allowing people to wear headphones during takeoff/landing. Most incidents occur during takeoff/landing and for safety reasons you'd think they would want passengers to be able to hear any announcements.
 

rols

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2008
536
232
And tomorrow morning I fly to LA!... a week too early to take full advantage of this new policy.

A week? In a week it goes to the FAA, who then decide what they want to do about it and start the rule-making process which may eventually result in the rules being changed. Then those rules go to the airlines who decide whether they are going to relax their policies and change their safety videos (even if the FAA says you can, that's a minimum policy, the airlines are free to continue to enforce something stricter) and then, only then, will anyone be taking advantage of anything.

I'm pessimistically going for a year or two .. and another 10 before other aviation authorities in other parts of the world decide to follow suit, if they do.
 

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
3,425
48
Kirkland
These rules are very outdated, so it's good they are updating them as technology improves.

I dunno, how about the fact that they are nonsense?

I always thought these restrictions were nonsense, ESPECIALLY the one where I can't have a radio that's receiving FM signals (not even sending!), but what's so wrong with having the rules? People can't stop using their stuff for like 5 minutes?

Definitely about time! So many rules are active from 10-20 years ago that no longer make sense.

I'm not sure how nonsense they are, I can't speak for the air side, but I routinely work in the Air Traffic Control room for an Air Force base here in the UK, and nearby mobile phones will routinely cause the consoles to transmit that static "dun dun dun... dun dun dun... dun dun dun.." noise to the pilots if they're actively transmitting at the time.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 603
Dec 9, 2008
5,343
27,862
How many stock photos of Pilots using iPads do you need? :D We even had a lawsuit aimed at one of the members who was using a stock photo as his avatar.

Please, I'm not even a journalist or webmaster, and I have a few hundred pilots-using-iPads photos. Right under my pilaf-on-iPads folder. :p
 

anberlinairlift

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2010
84
0
Charlotte Hall, MD
I never knew how playing Bejeweled or watching a movie on your phone offline ever interfered with cockpit equipment in the first place. And it's not like you really get signal up in the air like that anyway, so talking on the phone is pretty much out of the question. And most planes have WiFi built into them now anyhow...

Sooo I guess my point is, why the hell were they ever worried about smartphones and tablets in the first place lol
 

wingsabre

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2012
123
6
I'm OK with this as long as people text, play games, or listen to their headphones. I'm not Ok with this if people are talking loudly on their phone.
 

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
16,455
5,290
It's about time. I can now be productive again during the first and last 15 minutes of a flight.
 

sshambles

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2005
740
1,071
Australia
Macrumors front page material - this is not.

Different restrictions for different countries.
In New Zealand, you can use them basically whenever - except during refueling.
 

Illusion986

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2009
354
3
I'm not sure how nonsense they are, I can't speak for the air side, but I routinely work in the Air Traffic Control room for an Air Force base here in the UK, and nearby mobile phones will routinely cause the consoles to transmit that static "dun dun dun... dun dun dun... dun dun dun.." noise to the pilots if they're actively transmitting at the time.

From what i understand this is cause by using your cellular reception and perhaps even wifi...Both will still be not allowed. But in airplane mode iPhone does not send nor receive outside data.
As far as the sound you are talking about i find to run in to it much less, last time i heard it was with iPhone 3G as it would make my computer speakers hum right before receiving a txt or a call but that was with a simple iMac im sure equipment you work with is much more sensitive.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,750
477
I'm OK with this as long as people text, play games, or listen to their headphones. I'm not Ok with this if people are talking loudly on their phone.

Yeah! I wish those people would step outside to place their call, preferably during takeoff :D
 

TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
4,430
1,272
Finally.

It is done. These rules have been hanging by a thread. The first line of enforcement has always been a stewardess who have known they were a load of crap. There are two reasons why the rules were known as a load of crap. First, science. The planes are, quite logically, not designed to be susceptible to publicly available and used radio waves. Second, experience. These rules have never been enforced on private planes and thousands of those fly every day (often with the same stewardess covering those flights). So everyone has known for a long time that there was no real safety issue here.

Once the stewardess stop even trying to enforce this rule, the rule is done. It doesn't matter when some regulatory body makes the final call.

----------

I'm not sure how nonsense they are, I can't speak for the air side, but I routinely work in the Air Traffic Control room for an Air Force base here in the UK, and nearby mobile phones will routinely cause the consoles to transmit that static "dun dun dun... dun dun dun... dun dun dun.." noise to the pilots if they're actively transmitting at the time.

None of the phones in the passenger area are "nearby" the pilot's microphone or speakers.
 

bernuli

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2011
671
371
I'm not sure how nonsense they are, I can't speak for the air side, but I routinely work in the Air Traffic Control room for an Air Force base here in the UK, and nearby mobile phones will routinely cause the consoles to transmit that static "dun dun dun... dun dun dun... dun dun dun.." noise to the pilots if they're actively transmitting at the time.

It is the same thing in the air. Pilots can here it in the headset when cell phones are transmitting.

Todays planes may be shielded from todays devices, but cell phones seem to get more and more powerful. So changing the rule without a very costly investigation seems wrong.

Shutting cellphone off will save you money, and precious battery time.

B

----------

Finally.
None of the phones in the passenger area are "nearby" the pilot's microphone or speakers.

True, they are in much closer proximity to the fly by wire wires. I'd rather hear some flutter in the headsets rather than the ailerons.

B
 

TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
4,430
1,272
Not surprised they are allowing people to use read/browse during all phases of flight or that they don't want people talking on the phone.

I'm a bit surprised they are allowing people to wear headphones during takeoff/landing. Most incidents occur during takeoff/landing and for safety reasons you'd think they would want passengers to be able to hear any announcements.

You may be surprised to learn, but they are not actually counting on the passengers hearing an announcement and then quickly acting on a life saving maneuver. There is no "Quick everyone move to starboard" on a plane. If everyone is screaming as the plane is going down, you will take off our headphones. There is no real safety move for the passengers. Rumor is that the assume the crash position is to make sure that your dental records are more likely to be near your body in the wreckage. That's a nice thing, but hardly mission critical. And also there is generally going to be plenty of time to get that message through even the most clueless headset wearer.
 
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