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Senator Attacks FAA Over In-Flight Electronics Restrictions

Please Turn Off Electornic Devices

Senator Claire McCaskill has attacked FAA director Michael Huerta over his “lack of direct engagement” in the discussion regarding in-flight electronics restrictions.

The Senator is in the midst of proposing a new bill that would allow for increased use of cellphones, tablets, music players, and other electronic devices. The new bill would allow for electronics use during flight and also during and before takeoff and landing.

In her letter, Senator McCaskill writes, “Simply put, electronic devices that are currently allowed above 10,000 feet should be allowed for use during all phases of flight. It is preposterous to think that an e-reader in a passenger’s hands during takeoff is any more a threat to other passengers or crew members than a hardback book.”

This is not the first time Senator McCaskill has gone on the offensive against the FAA and director Michael Huerta. In December, McCaskill noted that flight crews are allows to use their electronic devices during flight. Flight crews use “electronic flight bags” to replace massive amounts of paperwork from informational bulletins and flight instructions.

Responding to the Senator in February, Huerta said the Federal Aviation Administration is currently in a phase of comment collection from aviation and technology experts. The FAA also created the Aviation Rulemaking Committee, an organization meant to deliver recommendations by Summer 2013.

Following Huerta’s response, the Senator told Politico his response “…just basically said, ‘We’re in a process and we’re looking at the process.’ So the next step in the process is calling the stakeholders in ourselves and beginning to try to pull together the right legislation.”

After that interview, Senator McCaskill wrote in her FAA letter, “Ultimately, it will be up to the FAA, and you as administrator, to provide leadership, make a decision and compel the needed changes to the current rules. With this in mind, I was disappointed by the lack of commitment to the matter in your response.”

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is working with Claire McCaskill on drafting a bill to completely dispose of the old rules.

Do you think the FAA should allow electronics to be used during all stages of flight?

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Comments

2 Responses to “Senator Attacks FAA Over In-Flight Electronics Restrictions”

  1. Anonymous

    Good reasons NOT to vote these stoopid women to congress. And women in general are becoming a pain in the arse across the land.

  2. Anonymous

    It's a bit more complex than some seem to realize. For starters, it was not the FAA, but the FCC which initiated the cell phone ban, not for ostensible interference with flight instruments, but to avoid saturating the networks at altitude. Cell technology has changed, and more GSM has come on line, but the effect of hundreds of phones left on at altitude has to be considered in any serious discussion. Secondly, it is not "ridiculous" to assume that an electronic device may capture a passenger's attention in a different way from a printed book. It is a well established fact, and airlines have the responsibility to weigh and consider distractions during taxy, takeoff and landing, when evacuations may be necessary, and in the extremely rare event this becomes necessary, two minutes is the goal to evacuate all of the occupants. Not easy if everyone is hard-wired into their favorite "device". What is good to see is that the issue is at last being discussed seriously, a sign that not much of anyone buys the old line any more of laptops and tablets interfering with flight instruments and causing navigation problems or instrument approach inaccuracies.