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FAA: government-industry group begins studying use of mobile devices on aircraft

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A group of government and industry experts convened by the Federal Aviation Administration is studying passenger use of portable electronic devices on commercial flights, says the FAA in a news update. The group, composed of representatives from the mobile technology and aviation manufacturing industries, pilot and flight attendant groups, airlines, passenger associations, and other government agencies, held their first meeting on Jan. 15 and will meet for the next 6 months before presenting its recommendations to the FAA, the agency reports.

Established by an Aviation Rulemaking Committee, the FAA created the government-industry group to examine current device-use policies and procedures--about which there is much criticism and passenger resistance. FAA's current regulations require an aircraft operator to determine that radio frequency interference from electronic devices is not a flight safety risk before authorizing the devices for use during certain phases of flight, such as takeoff and landing.

Among the issues the group will examine are the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. 

The FAA makes the point that the group will not consider the use of cell phones for voice communications during flight because the Federal Communications Commission currently prohibits their use through its regulation of the radio spectrum.

In late August 2012, the FAA solicited public input on the agency's current airplane passenger electronic device policies, guidance and procedures for aircraft operators. During the group's first meeting earlier this month, members reviewed those public comments, according to the FAA announcement.

For more:
-read FAA news update

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