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Faa To Allow Electronic Devices During Flights - Chicagotribune.com

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will now permit passengers to use gadgets such as tablet computers and e-readers during take-off and landing. Many airlines are expected to adopt the new guidelines by the end of the year. Aviation and mobile technology experts had advised the FAA the rule change would be safe. Analysis Jonny Dymond Washington correspondent For America's frequent flyers, it is one of the great frustrations of modern life - being ordered to turn off their e-readers, tablets and electronic games lest they interfere with communication equipment on take-off or landing. But for those who fear reading a book, old-fashioned newspaper or even the in-flight magazine, relief is at hand. Happily, for those who enjoy http://mashable.com/2013/10/29/display-advertising-cash-in/ in-flight respite from everybody else's one-sided conversation, making phone calls will still be strictly prohibited. "We believe today's decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer's increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights." A review committee recently determined that most commercial aircraft can tolerate radio interference signals from such devices, the FAA said. Covered under the rule change are lightweight, electrically powered devices including music players, gaming consoles and smart phones - with the mobile telephone service disabled. Phone calls from mobile phones remain prohibited throughout flights under separate regulations of the Federal Communications Commission. Individual airlines will have to assess whether their planes can handle the additional radio interference from the devices. "There is one thing that won't change," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told reporters at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport near Washington DC on Thursday.

CDT, October 31, 2013 U.S. airline passengers soon will be able to continue reading their Kindles and playing on their iPhones and iPads during takeoffs and landings. The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday cleared gadgets for takeoff by saying they will be allowed to be used in airplane mode during all phases of flight very soon, according to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. The FAA is immediately issuing guidance to airlines on how to implement the change, which will vary among airlines. The rule change will still not allow voice phone calls from wireless phones. The agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year, the FAA said in a statement. Its unclear how many airlines would implement the change in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday travel season. "We already started work to implement this as safely and quickly as possible, and are excited to offer this new benefit because our customers tell us they want to use their portable electronic devices, said United Airlines spokesman Luke Punzenberger. The FAAs current policy forces passengers to turn off most portable electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, tablet computers and e-readers, during takeoffs and landings -- technically, below 10,000 feet. The fear is that the devices might interfere with flight equipment. However, surveys have showed that many passengers do not turn off their devices, either intentionally or accidentally. Critics have said the change is a long time coming, sometimes pointing to the fact that many pilots in the cockpit use iPads as part of their electronic flight bag, instead of carrying bulky paper navigation charts and manuals. The change would not only be welcome by the flying public but by such companies as Amazon, which makes the Kindle reading device, and soon-to-be Chicago-based Gogo, which provides inflight Wi-Fi Internet access. Gogo this week announced it would relocate its headquarters and 460 employees to 111 N. Canal St. from its current base in Itasca. After the change is implemented, passengers will be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices "during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions, the FAA said. Wireless phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled -- no signal bars displayed -- and cannot be used for voice calls. A different agency, the Federal Communications Commission, has since 1991 banned inflight use of cell phones because of potential interference with ground networks. Flight attendants will not be policing whether a device is in airplane mode, Huerta said.

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