1-Nov-2013 8:34 AM

FAA relaxes regulations regarding use of PEDs

US' FAA announced (31-Oct-2013) a relaxation of its rules regarding the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) to allow use during all phases of flight, with the exception of cell phones. The FAA adopted the recommendations of a 30-Sep-2013 report by its PED advisory rulemaking committee (ARC):

  • Most commercial aircraft can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs;
  • The FAA should provide airlines with new procedures to assess if their aircraft can tolerate radio interference from PEDs;
  • Once an airline verifies its fleet is PED tolerant, it may allow passengers to use handheld, lightweight electronic devices – such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones, at all altitudes;
  • In some instances of severe weather with low-visibility, the crew should continue to instruct passengers to turn off their devices during landing;
  • Heavier devices, such as standard laptops, should be safely stowed under seats or in overhead bins during takeoff and landing. Items that do not meet the operator’s size criteria for use during takeoff and landing must be stowed in accordance with the aircraft operator’s approved carry-on baggage programme;
  • All loose items should be held or put in the seat back pocket prior to takeoff and landing;
  • The ARC did recommend that the FAA consult with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review their current rules regarding the use of cell phones.

The FAA will immediately provide carriers with implementation guidance, with implementation to vary across carriers. Before relaxing PED use, airline will be required to evaluate avionics as well as changes to stowage rules and passenger announcements, in addition to revising manuals, checklists for crewmember training materials, carry-on baggage programmes and passenger briefings. US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said: "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. These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future." [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II] [more - original PR - III] [more - original PR - IV] [more - original PR - V]

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