FCC Chair has Time to Tell FAA Administrator that Public Likes/Needs PEDs

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ARTICLE: FCC Calls on FAA to Allow Electronics on Planes

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Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, obviously is not busy enough – he has time to write the FAA Acting Administrator to let him know that:

“They [peds] 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.”

Such a revelation will be put in the papers of the working group announced by the FAA back in August to assess the safety of such devices on board. Specifically (as mentioned here) the FAA requested comments on the following issues, which should have been submitted to the docket by October 27:

  • Operational, safety and security challenges associated with expanding PED use.
  • Data sharing between aircraft operators and manufacturers to facilitate authorization of PED use.
  • Necessity of new certification regulations requiring new aircraft designs to tolerate PED emissions.
  • Information-sharing for manufacturers who already have proven PED and aircraft system compatibility to provide information to operators for new and modified aircraft.
  • Development of consumer electronics industry standards for aircraft-friendly PEDs, or aircraft-compatible modes of operation.
  • Required publication of aircraft operators’ PED policies.
  • Restriction of PED use during takeoff, approach, landing and abnormal conditions to avoid distracting passengers during safety briefings and prevent possible injury to passengers.
  • Development of standards for systems that actively detect potentially hazardous PED emissions.
  • Technical challenges associated with further PED usage, and support from PED manufacturers to commercial aircraft operators.

Oddly the FCC has technical expertise on these topics; its engineers could comment intelligently on issues, such as consumer industry standards that might indicate their compatibility with the aircraft systems. Maybe they did submit such information.

In that context, the FCC Chair’s comments seem awfully gratuitous.

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