FCC Chairman Asks FAA to Ease In-Flight Electronic Restrictions

The days of powering down your e-reader or tablet during airplane take-offs and landings may soon be a thing of the past. Yesterday FCC chairman Julius Genachowski sent a letter to the head of the FAA, asking him to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights, saying that the devices “are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives.”

Currently, electronics must be powered down when an airplane is below 10,000 feet.  The FAA doesn’t have to listen to Genachowski’s plea, but the agency is currently reviewing whether or not to relax the current restrictions on in-flight electronics use.

The last official testing of gadget use in-flight was conducted all the way back in 2006, long before e-readers and iPads hit the market, the New York Times reported earlier this year. Pilots can already use tablets in the cockpit, even during take-off and landing.

Even if the FAA does give in to Genachowski’s plea, don’t expect to start whipping out your e-readers in-flight in time for holiday travel. Earlier this year, a Virgin America representative told the Times that airlines would need to test each version of each device it wants to certify for in-flight use, each on its own flight with no passengers onboard, and for each model of aircraft the airline uses. And that isn’t for an entire range of devices, but rather individual models; for example, the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, and Kindle Fire HD would all need to be tested separately.

It’s still a promising step in the right direction for the FAA. Just don’t expect to start chatting it up with your grandma during a transcontinental trip; the FAA has no plans to ease the current restrictions on voice calls or smartphones.

Via The Hill

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options