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FAA reconsiders use of electronics on airplanes

Anyone who has tried to use an e-reader or tablet on their flight in the last several years knows about the strict rules that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) places on their operation. Taxi, takeoff and landing are periods during which most electronics are prohibited, a rule that has riled up frequent travelers and tech lovers alike. Even "Mythbusters" has an episode exploring the use of cell phones on aircraft electronics (result: busted).

Given the changes to technologies and continuous pressure from consumers, that may soon change. The New York Times' Nick Bilton on the Bits blog posted an interesting article this weekend in which the FAA admitted that they're looking into revising their policy. The current policy in place, which puts the onus of testing on the airlines, is too expensive and time consuming for the industry to support. As a result, the agency is looking into methods to "bring together electronics 'manufacturers, consumer electronic associations, aircraft and avionics manufacturers, airlines, pilots, flight attendants and passengers' to figure out how to allow greater use of these electronics on planes."

There's no word on what sort of schedule the FAA has in mind or how serious they are about the initiative, but if we can believe this report, the tide may soon be turning.

[flickr image via Fly for Fun]

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