|Are We One Step Closer to Using Our Gadgets During Takeoff?|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Sep 30, 2013, 1:23 PM|
After close to a year of deliberating and researching, a federal advisory committee has recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration that it loosen its restrictions on gadget use during takeoff and landing.
The Aviation Rulemaking Committee, a group that includes representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, pilot and flight attendant groups, airlines and passenger associations, has recommended the expanded use of personal electronic devices in a report that was delivered to the FAA today.
"The FAA received the report and recommendations today on the expanded use of personal electronic devices," the FAA said in a statement sent to ABC News. "The administrator will review the report and determine next steps."
According to previous reports from The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, the report recommends that passengers be allowed to use certain electronics before and during takeoff and landing as long as they are not connected to the Internet. Passengers could read e-books, listen to music or watch movies if they've saved them to the local storage of the tablet, phone or e-reader. Currently, using those electronic devices is prohibited until a plane has reached 10,000 feet.
The FAA has not released any official details on the report for now.
Arguments have been made on both sides of the aisle about gadget use during takeoff and landing. Many, such as ABC News' aviation analyst and former commercial pilot John Nance, argue that there is no evidence that tablets, e-readers, music players and handheld gaming devices have any impact on the aircraft hardware. Nance has said repeatedly throughout the past year that many leave their electronics on during takeoff and landing with no impact on flight performance.
But aircraft engineers haven't expressed as much confidence. Kenny Kirchoff, a cabin systems research and development engineer at Boeing, told ABC News in June that "these devices have the potential to interfere with airplane systems and airplane radios on and during flight."
According to The Wall Street Journal, the committee will recommend that radios be turned off below 10,000 feet on devices, and that the restrictions would be eased only on certain types of aircraft.
Still, most are optimistic about the changes and believe they will happen soon. Amazon, which has fought for the past few years to ease the restrictions, seemed especially enthusiastic.
"The FAA's job is to be conservative on these things. They, of course, put safety first," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told ABC News in an interview last week. "But I think all the signs are good that you are going to be able to sit back in your seat and use your electronic devices. I think millions and millions of passengers are looking forward to that."