FAA mulls allowing use of some e-gadgets for entire flight

June 21, 2013 at 6:08 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- Federal Aviation Administration officials say rules may be relaxed on using some personal electronic devices when airplanes take off or land at U.S. airports.

The FAA said it granted a two-month extension to a group tasked with examining the feasibility of changing the decades-old restrictions on use of personal e-gadgets on airplane.

"We recognize consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft," the FAA posted on its Twitter page. "We will wait for the group to finish its work before we determine next steps."

NBC News reported Friday the FAA could relax the ban requiring devices be shut off before a flight departs or lands. Passengers also must turn off their devices below 10,000 feet.

Cellphones would still be powered down under the proposed changes, but devices such as e-readers could be used during the entire flight, the officials said.

The proposed rules are based on suggestions from the 28-person advisory panel, NBC News said.

"The FAA knows it was fighting an uphill battle," Joe Schwieterman, a DePaul University professor who has documented the use of on-board electronics, told NBC News. "The public was growing skeptical that the old approach made sense."

The prohibitions against onboard electronics were imposed in the 1960s.

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