After decades enforcing rules barring the use of electronic devices in flight, the bureaucracy running the FAA seem to be getting their act together. Federal regulators inched a step closer to allowing passengers on commercial flights to use their mobile devices, computers, and other electronic gadgets during takeoff and landing. As an iPhone app developer and frequent air traveler this is truly welcome news.
According to a news report by the SF Gate, “The 28-member FAA advisory committee voted to recommend the change during a closed-door meeting last week and sent it Monday to the Federal Aviation Administration, which has final say on whether to ease current restrictions on the use of personal electronic devices on planes. If the panel’s advice is followed, passengers would have greater opportunity to use most devices below an altitude of 10,000 feet, although some devices would have to be switched to airplane mode. Downloading data, surfing the Web and talking on the phone would remain prohibited.”
Some regulators worry that safety concerns should prevent the FAA panel from relaxing their rules. Yet, a report recently published by Delta airlines highlights the negligible effect electronics actually have on flight sensors. Out of 2.3 million flights over two years, only 27 reports were filed by the airlines pilots and maintenance crews regarding in-flight device interference.
The San Francisco iPhone app developer community may be able to use this ruling to their advantage by producing specialized apps geared to unlocking value for the connected in-flight traveler. Restrictions are expected to be released sometime in 2014Tags: faa, faa rules, flying, in-flight electronics, sf gate, smartphones, travel, travel apps