We’d all like to be able to use our gadgets more during long flights, but we’ve always been told that doing so may interfere with the plane’s electronics in some fashion, causing us all to meet an untimely end. Whether anyone’s plane has ever crashed because of someone turning their Game Boy on is still unclear, but it looks like we might not have to worry about it for much longer anyway.
The chairman of the FCC (the American federal agency that regulates consumer electronics) has told the FAA (the American federal agency that regulates commercial air travel) that they should “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during air travel.
The FAA has been doing some studies recently about whether there really is any harmful interference when people use their electronic gadgets on board, and preliminary results are pointing to no, so they’re already considering loosening up those restrictions. If anyone would know a thing or two about wireless interference, it would be the FCC and its chair, since they regulate that sort of thing here on the ground.
In his letter to the FAA, the FCC’s chairman says:
“This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives. They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness.”
Hopefully the FCC’s opinion will carry enough clout to get the FAA to make the right call on this one. It sure would be nice to be able to use all that gadgetry we carry around with us, especially while we’re stuck in a seat for several hours with nothing else to do.