stories filed under: "faa"
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 10th 2012 5:18am
Numerous people have talked about the ridiculousness of requiring airplane passengers to put away their iPads or other portable devices during takeoff and landing on airplanes. There used to be excuses about how it could impact the equipment in the plane, but no one actually believes that any more. Now, even FCC boss Julius Genachowski is getting impatient with all of this and has asked the FAA to stop procrastinating and start allowing the use of such devices. The letter, of course, was more polite than that, but makes it clear that the FCC is ready to get on with the show and would like the FAA to finally "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices."
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 19th 2012 3:33am
from the about-time dept
It's been pretty clear for quite some time that there's no real safety reason why electronics are barred during takeoff and landing on airplanes. Furthermore, there's no legitimate technological reason for not allowing mobile phones on planes either -- that one's more just about keeping other passengers from going into a rage at having to hear others' half-conversations. However, it seems that more and more people are getting annoyed that they can't use their snazzy new ebooks or tablet computers (not just iPads, mind you) on airplane take-off and landings. Nick Bilton, over at the NY Times, asked the FAA what was up with that, and they admitted that they're taking "a fresh look" at those devices and whether or not they should be allowed to be used at those times. Of course, as he notes, this might just lead to a bunch of bureaucratic red tape -- including every possible device having to go through significant testing:
Abby Lunardini, vice president of corporate communications at Virgin America, explained that the current guidelines require that an airline must test each version of a single device before it can be approved by the F.A.A. For example, if the airline wanted to get approval for the iPad, it would have to test the first iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad, each on a separate flight, with no passengers on the plane.But, hopefully, a better, more efficient process can be found, and people will actually be able to use these devices on airplanes that aren't just over 10,000 feet...
It would have to do the same for every version of the Kindle. It would have to do it for every different model of plane in its fleet. And American, JetBlue, United, Air Wisconsin, etc., would have to do the same thing. (No wonder the F.A.A. is keeping smartphones off the table since there are easily several hundred different models on the market.)
Ms. Lunardini added that Virgin America would like to perform these tests, but the current guidelines make it “prohibitively expensive, especially for an airline with a relatively small fleet that is always in the air on commercial flights like ours.”
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 7th 2008 10:12am
from the someone-deserves-to-be-fired dept
Wired is running an article about FAA concerns about the computer networks on Boeing's new 787. Apparently, the airplanes have been designed with a computer network in the passenger area that can give fliers internet access. That seems reasonable enough. However, somewhere along the way, someone at Boeing decided to connect that network to the plane's control, navigation and communication systems. It's hard to fathom how anyone would ever consider connecting a general passenger network on an airplane to critical systems that actually deal with issues related to keeping the airplane in the sky. Boeing's response is less than satisfactory as well. While it claims it's fixing some of the issues raised, it also says the report is overblown, noting: "There are places where the networks are not touching, and there are places where they are." That really doesn't matter. If the network is touching anywhere it should be seen as a fairly serious problem. There's simply no good reason to connect the two in any way, no matter how "secure." Glenn Fleishman is saying that this report is Wired making a mountain out of a molehill, and insists that the story is probably not a big deal at all. Yet, I'm still wondering why the two systems would ever touch each other.