EDI­TO­RIAL Faa­may re­lax rules for elec­tron­ics use

The Willow Grove Guide - - OPINION -

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion is poised to re­treat fURP D ORnJVWDnGLnJ SROLFy WKDW LV ZLGeOy flRXWeG DnG KDV XnGeUPLneG SXEOLF UeVSeFW fRU flLJKW VDfeWy LnVWUXFWLRnV.

The agency is pre­pared to re­lax its ban on the use of elec­tronic de­vices dur­ing air­plane take­offs and land­ings and beORZ 10,000 feeW ZKen D SODne LV Ln WKe DLU.

At least that’s what The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported re­cently, say­ing an FAA ad­vi­sory panel has con­cluded the SROLFy LV RXWGDWeG DnG VKRXOG Ee UeYLVeG.

:e KRSe LW LV. ,W’V Eeen REYLRXV WR DnyRne ZKR KDV flRZn in re­cent years, for ex­am­ple, that some air­line pas­sen­gers, by ac­ci­dent or con­scious de­ci­sion, fail to power off their SRUWDEOe GeYLFeV DV LnVWUXFWeG Ey flLJKW DWWenGDnWV.

3DVVenJeU VXUYeyV OLNeZLVe FRn­fiUP WKDW D VLJnL­fiFDnW PLnor­ity of trav­el­ers reg­u­larly break the rules, of­ten in­ad­verWenWOy.

But if leav­ing on elec­tronic de­vices at take­offs and land­ings is truly danger­ous, why hasn’t such be­hav­ior cre­ated prob­lems for pi­lots?

Well, ap­par­ently be­cause both mod­ern on-board tech­nol­ogy and the por­ta­ble de­vices that pas­sen­gers carry on have ad­vanced to the point that many ex­perts be­lieve the risk of LnWeUfeUenFe LV PLnLPDO RU SeUKDSV nRnexLVWenW.

The FAA’s ad­vi­sory panel isn’t ex­pected to of­fer rec­om­men­da­tions on cell­phone use, the Jour­nal re­ported, mean­ing only elec­tronic read­ers, com­put­ers and other such de­vices ZRXOG Ee Df­feFWeG. BXW eYen DOORZLnJ JUeDWeU XVe Rf WKRVe de­vices alone would be a ma­jor step to­ward saner reg­u­laWLRn. $nG WKe -RXUnDO VDyV WKe DGYLVRUy SDneO EeOLeYeV FeOOSKRne XVe neeGV WR Ee DGGUeVVeG DV ZeOO.

The New vork Times, which picked up the story, quoted an un­named panel mem­ber who said smart­phones may in­deed be swept into a rec­om­men­da­tion for “wider use of de­vices dur­ing take­off and land­ing, in­clud­ing tablets and VPDUWSKRneV XVeG RnOy fRU GDWD (OLNe ePDLO) EXW nRW WDONLnJ.”

Ob­vi­ously pas­sen­ger con­ve­nience never should be alORZeG WR WUXPS flLJKW VDfeWy. BXW exFeVVLYe FDXWLRn XVeG to jus­tify overly restric­tive rules can be a prob­lem, too, be­cause it breeds pub­lic re­sent­ment and re­sis­tance — which is WKe VLWXDWLRn WKDW exLVWV WRGDy.

The At­lantic’s James Fal­lows, a pri­vate pilot as well as a jour­nal­ist, has de­scribed the ad­mo­ni­tion to power off all eOeFWURnLF GeYLFeV DV “SXUe WKeDWeU,” nRWLnJ WKDW “Rn DOO ‘nRnDLUOLne ELJ DLUFUDfW’ flLJKWV, OLNe SROLWLFDO FKDUWeUV RU FRUSRUDWe MeWV, SeRSOe OeDYe WKeLU ‘GeYLFeV’ Rn WKe ZKROe WLPe, DnG LW neYeU FDXVeV D SUREOeP.”

We wouldn’t go so far as to de­scribe the power-off rou­tine DV “WKeDWeU,” EXW LW GReV DSSeDU WR neeG XSGDWLnJ, DnG Ze’Ue enFRXUDJeG WKDW WKe )$$ LV SUeSDUeG WR finLVK WKe MRE.

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