Electronic devices are not allowed to be used on a plane during take off, taxiing, climb or descent. Although this is done to ensure the safely of the plane and its passengers, this often turns out to be quite a hassle for the passengers. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration has plans of re-evaluating different electronic devices to see if they are safe to be used on the planes.
FAA is bringing together a government-industry group which will delve deep into the impact of using different electronic devices on a plane and then see how safe they are for inflight use. However, this group will not be considering the use of cell phones during flight.
The devices which this group will consider include MP3 players, DVD players, laptops, pagers, hand-hand game consoles, electronic cameras, GPS monitors and eReaders. FAA will also look into the testing methods which are currently prevalent in the airline industry to gauge the safety of any given device.
According to FAA, “PEDs have changed considerably in the past few decades and output a wide variety of signals. Some devices do not transmit or receive any signals but generate low-power, radio frequency emissions. Other PEDs, such as e-readers, are only active in this manner during the short time that a page is being changed. Of greater concern are intentional transmissions from PEDs. Most portable electronic devices have internet connectivity that includes transmitting and receiving signals wirelessly using radio waves, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth,5 and various other cellular technologies. These devices transmit high-powered emissions and can generate spurious signals at undesired frequencies, particularly if the device is damaged.”
The agency goes on to say a number of signals are being generated by different sources these days, signals which don’t really interfere with the plane’s functioning. Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says, “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.”