19
Mar
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Hey! Good news! The F.A.A is going to take another look at its stance on "no digital devices during take-off/landing" policy. Sounds pretty promising, right? Not so fast -- this process could take... well, forever. Why is that? Because in order to change the policy, every single device would have to be tested. One at a time. On every plane in existence. No, I'm not kidding.

For example, if the F.A.A wanted to approve Amazon's Kindle for use on planes during taxi, take-off, and landing, then it would have to test every single version of the Kindle (and Fire) on every single plane, on every single airline. So, in other words, if they run these tests once a month, per airline, per device, it could take several months to get approval for a single device. Do you see how complicated things could be when Android tablets come into play? Of course, this process could be hastened if more time is dedicated to running the tests, so we'll just have to see how far the F.A.A. deviates from my hypothetical.

Either way, at least the policy is being reviewed, and that's a good, albeit slow, start.

[NYTimes]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    As a relatively frequent traveler, the hour per flight spent without being able to read my e-reader or play music or game is like torture that involves having to read in-flight magazines and listen to at least 10 announcements about how awesome airline Bla is.

    Now, I don't see the FAA allowing Android devices for a long time, at least not before creating some sort of a centralized certification system that OEMs can follow, but if they could at least add a Kindle/Nook to the list, it'd already be a huge step forward. In the next 1-2 years please?

  • rxpert

    If they ONLY approved 1-2 brands/models of tablets there would be an uproar

  • tubaking182

    i don't ever turn my devices off on the plane, or even put them into airplane mode, i have found that if listening to music and you pretend to be asleep during taxi/takeoff/landing they will pretty much leave you alone. the devices do not interfere with the plane any more than they interfere with the radio in my car

  • ralph

    A little consistency would be nice - on the one hand we're being told that $$ridiculous is being spent on equipment for bomb-sniffing and nude-scanning passengers (with ZERO actual terrorists caught, BTW), while on the other hand some random electronic device is not allowed to be turned on during taxiing in case it interferes with the airplane electronics and fools the pilot into turning right onto the highway instead of left onto the runway, I'm just glad terrorists aren't as smart as the FAA & TSA.

  • http://cometapps.com Barry Fruitman

    This is insane because by the time they test every device out today they'll all be obsolete!

    What is needed is standardized testing for mobile devices that is approved by the FAA and can be performed by licensed independent labs. Then the device manufacturers can submit their devices for testing and certification (at their expense).

    Of course all the device manufacturers will comply because they will want the coveted "approved" label on all their devices.

    • http://bioserge.com wolfkabal

      Even by these standards. What "check" process would be put into place to ensure that each device flight attendants see is "valid" - are they now going around looking at every device to find a specific label or stamping?

      I know this is basically the same thing that most of us seen during the initial release of the ipod (and other mp3 player devices) and before technology was considered something offensive. But seems like that's introducing more work for everyone and it's easier for the FAA to simply say NO to everything and be done.

      Not holding my breath on this one.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

    The smart choice wouldn't be to test each device separately...it would be to run just a few tests with a few of each device scattered throughout the plane, and absolutely every seat has one device or another. The issue isn't about 1 or 2 devices, it's about every damn passenger carrying something on. Considering anybody with technical knowledge already knows that people aren't turning off the wifi radio by simply turning off the screen, and a ton of phones are never actually switched to airplane mode anymore, it's clear that the airplanes aren't having trouble with this.

    The issue shouldn't be about testing for "approved" devices, it should be about testing individual technologies as defined and regulated by the FCC. Even better, how about producing equipment that can test for interference in the plane. They could solve ALL of these issues by building a faraday cage around the passenger section of the plane, ensuring no disruption with the cockpit or the equipment while still being able to offer in-flight wifi.

  • Awesome Sauce

    they do not tell you to turn off ur electronic devices due to interference with the aircraft. they tell you to turn them off so you can pay attention to announcements by the crew. most accidents happen when taking off and landing and if you are the dildo jamming to skrillex when the tire blows and your sitting there yelling "WHATS HAPPENING WHATS HAPPENING??? ALL I HEARD WAS WOBBLE!!!" They do not want to have to repeat emergency instructions to everyone who wasnt listening due to music.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

      In all fairness, they can allow tablets/e-readers while still banning headphones during takeoff (as they have long done). Headphones are a peripheral subject here, definitely not the reason this restriction exists, but it does make plenty of sense to continue restricting them until you're in the air.

  • Asphyx

    You know the excuse about testing is so rediculous...
    Every unit already goes through a ton of testing to get FCC approval and if they just spent a little time figuring out what on devices could actually affect a plan, they could do that testing on the ground when it goes through FCC approval so don't buy any of that crap!

    Truth is the only reason they stop you from using them once you leave the gate is because of time, takes time to go down an aisle and see if everyone has their units away and they don't even check radio status just that they don't see you using it!

    I can understand not having a unit out for landing and takeoff because lets face it anything out becomes schrapnel as flying debris should something bad happen. And if something bad did happen it won't be death by Tablet or Cell phone anyone is worried about!

    If they were really worried about radio signals they should put WiFi in the planes that will not interfere and that takes away any reason for having your cell radio on which is the actual frequency everyone is worried about!

    Or put wired connections in people could use instead!

    They will review their rules and come up with a non-answer because I suspect the reasons for the ban have less to do with radios and more to do with some terrorist remote detonating a bomb they missed getting on the plane.

  • Chahk

    Like Bill Maher said, "If my phone can bring down your plane, you need to build a better plane!"