FAA to look at in-flight device use

Aug. 27, 2012 at 7:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says it will study policies and procedures to determine when portable electronic devices can be used safely during flight.

"With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an FAA release Monday.

"Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight."

FAA regulations require an aircraft operator to confirm radio frequency interference from such devices is not a flight safety risk before it can authorize them for use during certain phases of flight.

A government-industry group will be set up to consider a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them, the FAA said.

"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," acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. "We also want solid safety data to make sure tomorrow's aircraft designs are protected from interference."

The government-industry group, including representatives from the mobile technology and aviation manufacturing industries, pilot and flight attendant groups, airlines and passenger associations, will be formally established this fall and will meet for six months, the FAA said.

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