The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been researching, testing, and processing the idea of allowing the use of digital devices during takeoff and landing of flights. In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Julius Genachowski, wrote a letter to the acting administrator of the FAA requesting to allow for a broader use of electronic devices during flight.
Today, Politico is reporting that a democratic senator from Missouri is tired of waiting around for the FAA and is proposing a bill that will allow the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight.
Sen. Claire McCaskill wrote a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta on Thursday regarding her concerns with his “lack of direct engagement on expanding the use of personal electronic devices during flight.” She also called the restrictions on use of such devices below 10,000 feet, “preposterous.”
The bill would dramatically expand the use of tablets, music players, and e-readers during all aspects of flight.
McCaskill said that lawmakers and the public in general no longer believe that these restrictions are for safety purposes. She pointed out that flight crews have already received the go-ahead to use electronic devices as “flight bags,” and passenger use of tablets would be no different.
The Missouri senator previously wrote a letter to Huerta in December and the response she received was unsatisfactory. “I didn’t think it said anything,” McCaskill said in a brief interview. “It just basically said, ‘We’re in a process and we’re looking at the process.’ So the next step in the process is calling the stakeholders in ourselves and beginning to try to pull together the right legislation.”
McCaskill has also met with FCC chairman Genachowski and they both agree that the regulations need to be revisited and will work together to try to push through changes as quickly as possible.
“Simply put, electronic devices that are currently allowed above 10,000 feet should be allowed for use during all phases of flight,” said McCaskill. “It is preposterous to think that an e-reader in a passenger’s hands during takeoff is any more a threat to other passengers or crew members than a hardback book.”
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