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Upcoming Proposed Bill to Allow iPad Usage on Planes

Apple's iPhone 4 | Apple Official Website

Apple’s iPad 4 | Apple Official Website

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskil, impatient with the slow progress of Federal Aviation Administration, has taken it upon herself to address the use of Apple’s iPad on airplanes. Thus, she’s putting up a bill that would let passengers use their mobile devices from takeoff through landing.

Senator McCaskil, Disappointed with FAA Admin Michael Huerta

In relation to this, Senator McCaskil expressed her concern over FAA Administrator Michael Huerta’s “lack of direct engagement” on the issue. The senator even sent a letter to Huerta, expressing her disappointment at the agency’s pace in dealing with the matter.

I am concerned that relying on the ARC to drive change on this issue creates the potential for the process to drag on indefinitely. Many stakeholders have entrenched positions on this issue and have long resisted commonsense changes to the [portable electronic devices] rules… I was disappointed by the lack of commitment to the matter in your response.

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 anymore a threat to other passengers or crew members than a hardback book.

McCaskil’s letter is in response to Huerta’s previous reply last February 12, 2013. Huerta stated that FAA was still “reviewing and evaluating the more detailed comments for the ARC”, and noted a six-month timeline before the Aviation Rulemaking Committee would present its recommendations to the agency.

As of the moment, airline passengers are required to shut down their mobile devices from closing of the cabin door until ten minutes after takeoff. They also need to turn off their smartphones or tablets before the aircraft’s landing, and they are not supposed to restart them without the flight crew’s permission.

Last March 2012, FAA announced that they would be making some changes on the policies regarding the use of portable electronic devices on airplanes. They also convened an Aviation Rulemaking Committee to the issue, and ARC is expected to deliver their recommendations some time over the summer.

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