Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

FCC Asks FAA to Allow Greater Use of Gadgets During Flights

By - Source: The Hill | B 19 comments

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to extend the permissible use of gadgets on flights.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did not refer to a general acceptance of voice calls, but "greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices."

That "greater use" apparently would allow communications other than voice as Genachowski noted that such devices "empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

Genachowski reportedly sent the letter to FAA administrator Michael Huerta, who has not officially responded to the request yet. It was unclear whether the note would be targeted at greater availability of Wi-Fi connectivity on airplanes or the permission to allow cellular connections during flights.

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    abbadon_34 , December 10, 2012 9:45 AM
    electronic devices, of any types, do not interfer with an airplane, it's been tested and proven time and time again, same with hospitals, it is a myth they perpatrate because they don't want people talking on their phones (I don't blame them, I just wish they would tell the truth)
  • 15 Hide
    Weps , December 10, 2012 9:25 AM
    I bet that if they decide to somehow monetize it (Wi-Fi option with your ticket, costing extra) they'll implement it faster than you can say "fasten your seatbelts".
  • 14 Hide
    memadmax , December 10, 2012 10:28 AM
    This isn't the 80's anymore, where you had to kick the flight computer to get it running again... Nowadays, flight computers are built to withstand hits from lightning... I think it's time to loosen up the rules a bit...
Other Comments
    Display all 19 comments.
  • -7 Hide
    bavman , December 10, 2012 9:19 AM
    Seems to be lots of rumors and myths about this issue. Stuff about how electromagnetic radiation is stronger when travel at fast speed like on a plane. Someone should probable run tests to confirm/deny, but until then I'd rather live without my phone or wifi for a couple hours and make it there safely.
  • 15 Hide
    Weps , December 10, 2012 9:25 AM
    I bet that if they decide to somehow monetize it (Wi-Fi option with your ticket, costing extra) they'll implement it faster than you can say "fasten your seatbelts".
  • 18 Hide
    abbadon_34 , December 10, 2012 9:45 AM
    electronic devices, of any types, do not interfer with an airplane, it's been tested and proven time and time again, same with hospitals, it is a myth they perpatrate because they don't want people talking on their phones (I don't blame them, I just wish they would tell the truth)
  • 12 Hide
    kingnoobe , December 10, 2012 9:51 AM
    bavman mythbusters actually already did something about it. And it would be very very rare thing for a cellphone to cause any risk, but if you look at the big picture tons of electronics (plane)+a load of a different planes (some of which may have poorer shielding) + a load of different cellphones/electronics.

    It's a fair assumption to say the FAA simply doesn't want to run the risk of anything that it doesn't have to. And nobody is gonna die with having to go a few hours without their phone or other electronic device.
  • 1 Hide
    mrmaia , December 10, 2012 10:25 AM
    Quote:
    That "greater use" apparently [...] enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."


    I sincerely don't think it would do that much difference.

    The "electronics can make your plane fall" culture is already way too rooted into people's minds imo. Even if the companies do allow gadgets, they'll have problems with slightly more paranoid people refusing to fly with someone else who uses them.
  • 14 Hide
    memadmax , December 10, 2012 10:28 AM
    This isn't the 80's anymore, where you had to kick the flight computer to get it running again... Nowadays, flight computers are built to withstand hits from lightning... I think it's time to loosen up the rules a bit...
  • 2 Hide
    danwat1234 , December 10, 2012 11:39 AM
    Sign this petition! George Takei (Mr. Sulu) wants you to be able to play words with friends on flights as well..
    http://www.change.org/petitions/federal-aviation-administration-faa-allow-e-readers-and-other-safe-devices-to-be-used-at-all-times-during-flights
  • 2 Hide
    house70 , December 10, 2012 1:20 PM
    A lot of nations have already done away with this requirement. Is about time for the US to get with the times...
  • 0 Hide
    waylander , December 10, 2012 1:48 PM
    I really do think that the noise would be horrific if that many people confined into that small a space all started talking on their phones....

    email and texting would be fine IMO.
  • 2 Hide
    aoneone , December 10, 2012 1:50 PM
    Didn't Mythbusters debunk this ancient myth?
  • 0 Hide
    juanc , December 10, 2012 1:53 PM
    I rather get home safe...
  • 1 Hide
    tellingson , December 10, 2012 2:10 PM
    The FAA has been working on changing this rule for a couple years now. I can see why it got implemented.

    On my old Nextel (IDEN) phone, I could tell anytime a call was coming in even before my phone started ringing because my PC speakers would start popping. While this wouldn't take down an airplane, it could cause the pilot to miss some crucial information from the air traffic controller.
  • 1 Hide
    Camikazi , December 10, 2012 2:27 PM
    waylanderI really do think that the noise would be horrific if that many people confined into that small a space all started talking on their phones....email and texting would be fine IMO.

    Email and texting and web browsing but talking would be horrible. I've already experienced someone talking on one of those expensive first class phones they used to have (might still have been long time since I went first class), OMG they were talking as if they were alone and very loud. Multiply that by however many people there are on the phone and there might end up being a problem since some people just can't talk quietly on phones no matter where they are.
  • -1 Hide
    Camikazi , December 10, 2012 2:29 PM
    tellingsonThe FAA has been working on changing this rule for a couple years now. I can see why it got implemented.On my old Nextel (IDEN) phone, I could tell anytime a call was coming in even before my phone started ringing because my PC speakers would start popping. While this wouldn't take down an airplane, it could cause the pilot to miss some crucial information from the air traffic controller.

    There is a difference though, your speakers are made to accept all interference from anywhere and to not give off more than a certain amount while a plane is shielded to the point that interference would not bother it. You can check the back of pretty much all consumer electronics and it will say they are made to accept all interference but not give any or to give little off itself, planes are not in this category.
  • -2 Hide
    cats_Paw , December 10, 2012 2:49 PM
    Guys, just watch Michael Moore on 9/11 and you will see how badly you are lied to about all this stuff.

    Now, on a personal note: everytime i fly (not very often) i always have my mp3 and my laptop.
    I cant use laptop on take off, the mp3 on the other hand, i got mixed answers. Sometimes they allow it, sometimes they dont (normally when you explain that the radio and the mp3 cannot work togheter, and that you plan to only use mp3, they let you).

    Now, i perfectly understand why no laptop: if there is a turbulence, and your laptop flies out and kills that annoying little kid behind you, everyone will blame the airline, so they reduce the chance of a problem this way.

    I agree with that. Now, about phones, its no myth that they "can" interfiere with plane electronics. I was once flying and the stewardess was capable of finding the 1 guy that forgot to turn off his cellphone.

    I belive that if everyone used their phone, we could have some bigger issues.
    On a final note, planes have been crashing more often since the economical recesion, so im a bit scared of adding more potencial problems to the current situation.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 10, 2012 3:23 PM
    I've flown over 100 times in the last two years and I find the current electronics regulations a pain in the neck. I can understand the worry about cell phones, not so much from the standpoint of interference with the plane's electronics but more from the stupidity that it imparts on the user. If we allowed cellphone usage from the gate to take off I can only imagine the havoc this would cause. Don't beleive me, how many idiot drivers do you struggle to pass each day only to seem them cluelessly chatting on their phones!

    Laptops are more an issue of size and awkwardness in the cabin. Sometimes you have to enforce safety for those that just don't get it. I can relent on this issue.

    However, why I can't use my small iPod / zune or use my Kindle / Nook / tablet is beyond me. These devices won't interfer with anything and as long as the pilot / flight attendants have finished their pre-flight safety demonstrations, why can't I use them? I can go on and on about how many hours I've spent taxiing at airports or sat waiting at the gate for one problem or another. It is very irritating, uncomfortable and boring.

    I flew in China a lot this last summer and found their system as good as that in the US, but more efficiently organized and more accomodating to the customer. While the populace flying there is definitely ruder, there is much we can learn from how they've embraced flying in so short a time.
  • 1 Hide
    sykozis , December 10, 2012 3:29 PM
    Yes....watch Michael Moore's conspiracy theory based movie.....

    Fact is, plains aren't nearly as susceptible to radio interference as the FAA has claimed. It's been proven. The EMI shielding used in planes eliminates nearly all possibility of a cellphone (or multiple cellphones) from taking a plane down. If it was even remotely possible for a plane to be taken by a bunch of people making phone calls or browsing the web, or sending texts messages....plains would never get off the ground. Plains are subjected to more than 1,000,000 times the EMI produced by a full passenger roster every flight. You're more likely to have a plain run out of fuel, than be taken by EMI from cellphone usage. Aircraft communications also operate on a completely different frequency than the general public can legally access. This frequency is also immune to interference from outside radio communications.

    The theory that radio waves/EMI produced by electronic devices can bring down a plain.....is and has been false since the FAA first made the claim.
  • 1 Hide
    punahou1 , December 10, 2012 3:52 PM
    This is why I like Myth Busters. Next should be to remove those ridicules signs at the gas pump that falsely state cell phones can ignite gas...
  • 0 Hide
    COLGeek , December 10, 2012 4:30 PM
    As long as the planes can fly safely AND I don't have to listen to someone yell into their cell phone for the entire flight, then I say power on at 10000 ft. Just no cell calls please!