For over a year now, there has been a push to allow electronic devices during takeoff and landing of flights. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) even started getting in on the argument to push the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to update their policy to be more compatible with today’s technology. Thanks to a recent report and draft recommendations, the FAA may relax the ban on electronic devices during takeoff and landing.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the FAA may lift the ban on some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes. This would allow passengers the ability to continue using their gadgets during takeoff and landing. This comes after a high-level advisory panel offered recommendations to the government agency.
The draft report concludes that existing rules, which haven’t changed much in more than 50 years, are completely incompatible with today’s technology.
“As the consumer electronics industry has exploded,” the report says, “the FAA’s traditional stance of giving individual airlines leeway to evaluate the safety of specific devices before allowing them to remain on at low altitude has become untenable.”
One reason experts say that the FAA needs to make changes to regulations is that current policies are undermining the organizations authority. The report showed that nearly one-third of passengers admitted to leaving an electronic device on, at least once, during takeoff and landing. If you think the FAA is making up rules about passenger safety because your iPhone didn’t cause any plane crashes, then you are more likely to dismiss the FAA’s other regulations because you don’t trust their importance.
Another reason that the experts are recommending the FAA update their policies is that technology has improved so much that most electronic devices are not capable of interfering with aircraft instrument panels. According to the draft report, devices have improved dramatically to use less power, transmit weaker signals, and stay within a tighter range of frequencies.
The report is still in draft form and the FAA isn’t expected to make a decision until the report is final. However, with all evidence pointing out that it is safe to allow the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing, it is likely we will see the ban lifted before the end of this year.