FAA to study portable electronic devices on airplanes

The FAA, which is under increasing pressure to allow the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) on airliners, has announced it will explore the issue in detail this Fall. Could the days of “please turn all electronic devices off until 10,000 feet” be coming to an end? Maybe.

The agency will first solicit comments from pilots, passengers and other parties, to better understand the safety issues presented by laptops, iPads and Kindles. While this is not directly aimed at general aviation pilots, the FAA is asking that private pilots contribute their opinion.

After collecting these comments, the FAA will then form an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to “provide recommendations that might permit the more widespread use of PEDs during flight while maintaining the highest levels of safety for the passengers and aircraft.” The goal here looks like a loosening of restrictions on the use of PEDs, but only if the FAA is satisfied that it does not reduce safety.

Feel free to add your voice to this debate. Comments can be submitted in four ways:

  • Email: Submit your comments via email to [email protected].
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.
  • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.