FAA to Explore Smartphone Usage In Flight

It looks like the FAA will finally be putting together a committee to study the safe use of smartphones in flight. Currently, airlines don’t allow the devices during flight due to the possible interference with some of the airplanes more sensitive equipment, which could pose a safety risk. However, with the use of so many other devices being approved this is just one more to add to the list of the current approved portable devices.


The group that FAA chief, Ray LaHood will appoint for the study will not consider the use of the phones to make phone calls during flight. Not necessarily because of a magnetic radio interference with the airplanes avionics but mostly due to a consumer survey where passengers view that as a potential annoyance.


One of the biggest concerns among flight crews on the usage of most devices is the fact that the items can be physically dangerous. Heavier devices like lap tops and larger tablets can pose a potential threat to passengers if a situation like severe turbulence occurs, launching them uncontrollably through the cabin. Other concerns of possible danger can happen during the most crucial phases of every flight, take offs and landings. Unfortunately, experts say many passengers disregard flight crew instructions to keep the devices stowed during those times.


The appointed group will include pilots, flight attendants, electronic professionals, passengers and representatives from the aviation manufacturing industry. The committee will start work this fall and have six months to recommend how to use and test the devices.


The FAA is also looking for feedback from the general public on what they would like to see the group study.