US Aviation authority to reassess the risks of using gadgets during take-off and landing
People may be able to use ebook readers, laptops and mobile phones on planes in future as aviation authorities reassess the risk to aircraft.
The use of portable devices such as Kindles and Apple iPads is restricted during flights, with passengers having to wait until the pilot is confident these devices won't interfere with aircraft systems.
However the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that it will re-evaluate its current regulations which ban the use of these devices at the start and end of flights.
A spokesperson for the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) explained this is an "international agreement" as take-off and landing are the "critical phases of flight".
Michael Huerta, Acting Administrator for 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."
Professor Sir William Stewart, a member of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones said: "New devices tend to be treated over-cautiously, as with mobiles at fuel stations and hospitals, and perhaps this is right.
"But it is hard to see why anyone ever thought iPads in flight mode were more of a problem than the dreadful airline magazines around take-off, or indeed mobiles at fuel stations."
The only real danger that devices such as a Kindle may represent if used during a flight is if the user has their 3G connection switched on. But to ensure the regulations for PEDs are adhered to, passengers are still told to switch them off.
The FAA will now form a government-industry group which will assess whether the devices pose any safety issues, and will decide if they can change from what point they can be used in flight.
However, Professor Stewart feels there there is a danger of resistance to accept anything new, despite evidence that could suggest their safety.
The use of mobile phones on flights will not be discussed as the ban on their use on flights is a rule made by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
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