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US FAA Mulls Easing In-Flight Device Use

Those who have flown on American commercial airlines are familiar with flight attendant instructions to power down electronic devices for takeoff or landing. Soon, airline employees may be asking customers to use the device’s airplane setting instead. The Federal Aviation Administration appointed a working group to study portable electronic device use and may relax its rules to allow electronic reading devices even during takeoff and landing. There is reportedly no definitive evidence such devices affect a plane’s avionics. Although reader and tablet use is restricted, electric razor and audio recorder use is permitted. It is hoped that the group will formulate a single set of rules easily applicable, even to new types of personal electronic devices, especially as there are new devices for tracking daily activity and upcoming devices such as Google Glass. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says the agency’s stand is not consistent with its practice in light of it allowing iPads to be used as flight manuals and for some flight attendants to use devices holding information on flight procedures. She reportedly stated that “A flying copy of ‘War and Peace’ is more dangerous than a Kindle.” According to The New York Times, “There have also been more episodes of unruly passengers who have been arrested or removed from planes for refusing to turn off their cellphones or iPads.” Any proposed changes would not include smartphones or cellular telephones. The group reportedly plans to introduce its findings by July 31. (Fox News)(The New York Times)

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