The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to loosen current restrictions on the use of personal electronics on planes, more than year after the agency announced plans to reconsider its gadget ban. According to the Wall Street Journal, a 28-member advisory panel will recommend that the FAA relax its restrictions during taxiing, takeoff, and landing, as part of an investigation launched last August. Under current regulations — which have remained unchanged since 1966 — airlines ban the use of all devices until planes reach an altitude of 10,000 feet.
The panel’s draft has yet to be finalized, and details are still under debate, but the report makes clear that existing regulations “have become untenable.” If the FAA agrees to implement the recommended changes, passengers would have greater freedom to use gadgets after a plane’s cabin doors have closed. Some, including e-readers, would be allowed for use throughout the duration of a flight. A formal decision on the matter isn’t expected until the panel submits a final version of its recommendations at the end of September.
The report doesn’t address cellphone calls placed from within a plane. The Federal Communications Commission maintains a ban on all in-flight calls, for fear that they may interfere with wireless networks. The panel, however, is expected to include a discussion of cellphone use in its draft that the FAA “may or may not address.”
Today’s rules were implemented nearly 50 years ago, when policymakers feared that devices could tamper with navigation systems and onboard radios. In its draft, the panel notes that planes have become “much more tolerant” since then, while gadgets have evolved to “stay within a tighter range of frequencies.”
via | TheVerge