Way back in March the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was going take a fresh look at its own rules that forbid you from using electronic gadgets on airplanes. The decision to review the rules was prompted, at least in part, by a couple of things: 1) In December of last year the FAA said that pilots could used iPads during take offs and landings (but passengers couldn't), and 2) the Alec Baldwin affair.
Today the FAA made the review more or less official with this press release:
"Given the widespread consumer use of portable electronic devices (PEDs), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is forming a government-industry group to study the current PED policies and procedures aircraft operators use to determine when these devices can be used safely during flight. Current FAA regulations require an aircraft operator to determine that radio frequency interference from PEDs are not a flight safety risk before the operator authorizes them for use during certain phases of flight.
“With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight.”
The government-industry group will examine a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. The group will also look at the establishment of technological standards associated with the use of PEDs during any phase of flight. The group will then present its recommendations to the FAA...."