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The FAA may (finally!) relax in-flight electronics use limits

Ian Paul | June 24, 2013
Put down that hollowed out copy of War & Peace! Pretty soon, you may not have to hide your iPad mini during takeoff and landing. The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority is considering a set of draft recommendations urging the regulatory body to ease restrictions on the use of personal electronics at low altitudes.

Yes, yes, the study was commissioned in part by the CEA, and clearly a group that runs the Consumer Electronics (CES) tradeshow every year has a bias towards easing the FAA's rules. But let's inject some homespun common sense into the discussion. Raise your hand if you are part of the 30 percent that has forgotten to switch off your phone during landing and takeoff. Yeah, my hand is up too. Did your plane go down? Mine neither. Huh.

It is well past time to overhaul the FAA's rules governing portable electronics. It's great that the FAA's working group is taking some extra time to ensure their recommendations are safe. But in an era when iPads are replacing navigation charts in the cockpit, perhaps it's time to allow us cabin dwellers to view spreadsheets, read e-books, and play games regardless of altitude.


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