According to report by The New York Times, Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) is looking to relax the rules for electronic reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change, which would not include cellphones, is expected to be announced by the end of this year. So, instead of being told to power down your electronic devices for takeoff, you might be hearing “please put your devices on ‘airplane mode’ for takeoff” pretty soon.
One of the F.A.A officials has told that the agency is under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot. The source notes that there is no proof that devices like iPads and Kindles affect a plane’s avionics. Interestingly, F.A.A. allows passengers to use electric razors and audio recorders during all phases of flight, even though they give off more electronic emissions.
Last year, the agency announced that an industry working group would study the issue. The group, which first met in January, comprises people from various industries, including Amazon, the Consumer Electronics Association, Boeing, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Federal Communications Commission and aircraft makers. The group plans to introduce its findings by July 31.
To guarantee that the F.A.A. follows through with its promise to relax the rules, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she planned to hold the agency accountable by introducing legislation.
“So it’s O.K. to have iPads in the cockpit; it’s O.K. for flight attendants — and they are not in a panic — yet it’s not O.K. for the traveling public,” she said. “A flying copy of ‘War and Peace’ is more dangerous than a Kindle.”
The issue is only increasing in importance as more and more North Americans board flights with wearable computers, including daily activity trackers like Nike Fuelband.