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Thursday, December 6, 2012

F.C.C. Calls on F.A.A. to Allow Electronics on Planes

Now the United States government is telling the United States government to allow devices on airplanes during takeoff and landing.

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday, urging the agency to allow more electronics on airplanes.

According to The Hill, which obtained the letter, Mr. Genachowski said the F.A.A. should “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights.

The letter, which was addressed to Michael Huerta, the acting administrator of the F.A.A., went on to promote the importance of allowing people to use these devices on planes as more Americans become increasingly reliant on devices for work and pleasure.

“They empower people to stay informed and connected wi th friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness,” Mr. Genachowski wrote.

The F.A.A. did not respond to a request for comment.

Although there is no proof that devices like Amazon Kindles and Apple iPads interfere with an airplanes avionics, the F.A.A. has maintained strict rules about passengers turning off their devices during takeoff.

After repeated pressure from the public and media outlets, the F.A.A. has since relented. The agency said it would initiate a review of its policies about electronic devices in all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing. But this review process has been slow.

“This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives,” Mr. Genachowski said in the letter.

The last time any testing was done to review gadgets on planes was in 2006, long before iPads and most smartphones and e-readers existed. During the study, the F.A.A. found that “there was no evidence saying these devices can't interfere with a plane, and there was no evidence saying that they can.” Still, they chose to enforce strict rules about gadgets on planes during takeoffs and landings.

But not everyone has been forced to put their gadgets away. Earlier this year the F.A.A. approved iPads instead of paper flight manuals in the cockpit for pilots, but the agency still refuses to allow passengers to read Kindles and iPads during takeoff and landing.