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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > Senator renews FAA skirmish to loosen in-flight gadget rules

Senator renews FAA skirmish to loosen in-flight gadget rules
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Mar 8, 2013, 02:44 PM
 
In a frustrated letter to FAA director Michael Huerta on Thursday, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) expressed concern with Huerta's "lack of direct engagement" on the subject of in-flight use of personal electronic devices. The senator is proposing a bill to greatly increase the usage window of cellphones, tablets, music players, and other electronic devices before, during, and after the flight, including during takeoff and landing.

"Simply put, electronic devices that are currently allowed above 10,000 feet should be allowed for use during all phases of flight. It is preposterous to think that an e-reader in a passenger's hands during takeoff is any more a threat to other passengers or crew members than a hardback book." wrote the senator. McCaskill addressed Huerta regarding the issue in December, noting the hypocrisy of flight crews being allowed to use the devices during flight as "electronic flight bags" that replace the volumes of paper charts and aviation informational bulletins and instructions. Huerta's response in February told the senator that the FAA is in a comment accumulation phase from the aviation and technology industries, and has formed an Aviation Rulemaking Committee that has been instructed to deliver recommendations this summer. The senator was not pleased with the response. Regarding Huerta's actions, she noted in an an interview with Politico that the letter "basically said, 'We're in a process and we're looking at the process.' So the next step in the process is calling the stakeholders in ourselves and beginning to try to pull together the right legislation." "Ultimately, it will be up to the FAA, and you as administrator, to provide leadership, make a decision and compel the needed changes to the current rules. With this in mind, I was disappointed by the lack of commitment to the matter in your response," the senator tersely wrote in her letter yesterday to the FAA chairman. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski met with the senator last week, and they agreed to work together on the issue. McCaskill is drafting a bill to completely dispose of the old rules, but Electronista was unable to get a comment on the contents of the bill.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 9, 2013 at 12:04 AM. )
     
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Mar 8, 2013, 03:27 PM
 
The problem is that the airlines want to keep their passengers in a passive, obedient, mode because it allows them to stack you into ever smaller spaces, keep you strapped in your seat, and reduce service. All in the name of security. The airlines control the FAA and it is easier for them to set rules and restrictions for everything they can think of rather than try to enhance their customer experience, and by making they FAA regulation, they eliminate any competitive pressure.
The solution is not to write to the administrator, it is to fund the FAA independently of the airlines and stop the airline / lobbyist / FAA carrousel. But that would put the government in service of its citizen rather than its corporate sponsors and lobbyists, and we cannot do that if the citizens don't care and don't want to pay for their government while the corporations are perfectly to buy all the government they can get.
     
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Mar 8, 2013, 03:29 PM
 
The problem is that the airlines want to keep their passengers in a passive, obedient, mode because it allows them to stack you into ever smaller spaces, keep you strapped in your seat, and reduce service. All in the name of security. The airlines control the FAA and it is easier for them to set rules and restrictions for everything they can think of rather than try to enhance their customer experience, and by making them FAA regulation, they eliminate any competitive pressure.
The solution is not to write to the administrator, it is to fund the FAA independently of the airlines and stop the airline / lobbyist / FAA carrousel. But that would put the government in service of its citizen rather than its corporate sponsors and lobbyists, and we cannot do that if the citizens don't care and don't want to pay for their government while the corporations are perfectly to buy all the government they can get.
     
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Mar 8, 2013, 05:29 PM
 
The FAA enforces regulations that it writes (FAR's). These are essentially non-legislative laws, developed by bureaucrats. She just has to introduce and pass a bill to defund the FAA's enforcement activities until they update the appropriate FAR to allow the use of personal electronic equipment. Mission accomplished.

The reason we all have to be in our seats, with our seatbelts on for takeoff, is because the FAR's say so. The pilot can lose his or her license, if the person in seat 24D isn't wearing his seatbelt for take-off. Yes, there is little common sense to be found here.
     
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Mar 8, 2013, 06:07 PM
 
be, and as much a time saver as it might be, the issue is whether people are capable of acting responsibly in their jobs, in a reasonable time frame.

Request, remind, cajole, THEN threaten, then act. That is the usual path when dealing with incompetence. I think we're in the cajole stage.
     
   
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