August 27, 2012 at 17:53 PM EDT
FAA Reviewing Use Of Gadgets In The Air, But Forget About In-Flight Cell Phone Calls
Don't expect to make mid-flight phone calls from your smartphone anytime soon. While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is putting together a group to re-examine current testing procedures and policies airlines have in place for gadgets, they will not be considering airborne use of cell phones for voice communication. But that is a small price to pay for safety, especially considering that these policies and procedures are way behind the speed at which we adopt new technology. The government-industry group will look at how these devices are tested for use in the air, as well as the current standards for use of portable electronic devices on board an airplane.
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Don’t expect to make mid-flight phone calls from your smartphone anytime soon. While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is putting together a group to re-examine current testing procedures and policies airlines have in place for gadgets, they will not be considering airborne use of cell phones for voice communication.

But that is a small price to pay for safety, especially considering that these policies and procedures are way behind the speed at which we adopt new technology. The government-industry group will look at how these devices are tested for use in the air, as well as the current standards for use of portable electronic devices on board an airplane.

The group will meet for six months before giving recommendations to the FAA for a policy refresh. But the first step starts with the public. The FAA is looking for feedback on the current policies, opening up an official Request for Comments tomorrow, August 28. You can check that out here.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta had this to say:

We’re looking for information to help air carriers and operators decide if they can allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today’s aircraft. We also want solid safety data to make sure tomorrow’s aircraft designs are protected from interference.



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