Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) sent a letter to Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta urging for his agency to allow for the expanded use of personal electronic devices (PED) by passengers on commercial flights.
In her letter, McCaskill said she supports Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, who recently sent a similar letter to the agency urging for greater use of tablets, e-readers and other PEDs on flights. She also noted the general public is critical of FAA’s prevention of the use of PEDs on flights, while recently enacting legislation that allows pilots to use electronic flight bags in the cockpit.
“The fear of devices that operate on electricity is dated, at best. Importantly, such anachronistic policies undermine the public's confidence in the FAA, thereby increasing the likelihood that rules of real consequence will be given too little respect. The absurdity of the current situation was highlighted when the FAA acted earlier this year to allow tablet computers to replace paper flight manuals in the cockpit, further enhancing the public's skepticism about the current regulations,” McCaskill writes.
In August FAA said it would review its existing policies regarding the in-flight use of electronic devices. Aviation regulators have said that data-emitting electronic devices could interfere with an aircraft’s various avionics systems.
McCaskill said she is “prepared to pursue legislative actions” if FAA moves too slowly in updating its policies regulating PEDs. More