Airlines have been giving iPads to their pilots and flight attendants, replacing bulky maps and manuals, but it’s still dangerous for me to read a book on my own iPad during take-off. Never mind that mine is a basic model without a mobile data chipset. Now The New York Times says there are rumors the FAA will announce new policies by July 31 to loosen restrictions on the use of electronics in during take-off and landing.
This isn’t especially surprising. Relaxing policies on pilots are just one sign of movement in this direction. However, it is the first I’ve seen of a hard date where we might learn about some of the government’s future plans. I certainly wasn’t expecting a recommendation so soon.
Maybe electronic emissions do interfere with cockpit instruments, but my guess is not to any meaningful degree. The blanket ban on almost anything with an on/off switch seems unreasonable especially when you consider how many electronics get left on anyway. And this is my problem with the over-reactionary, over-precautionary government agencies that regulate air travel. Rather than sit down and figure out what works and makes sense, they ban everything, force people to prove a negative, and insist on being “1,000% sure” (Ray LaHood’s recent promise to prevent the Dreamliner from flying until all the new modifications to prevent battery fires check out).
Well guess what? 1,000% sure doesn’t exist, and even after including things like terrorism air travel remains safer than many other modes of transportation.
Unreasonable demands and promises may seem like a way to assure voters their representatives have their best intentions in mind. Instead it leaves me thinking the government is run by idiots who don’t know or care to find out the truth. I leave my phone on airplane mode for every take off and landing. It’s not uncommon that I forget about liquids I leave in my bags and not in a separate TSA-approved 3-1-1 baggie. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Yet planes don’t spiral out of control and liquid bombs don’t explode.
Anyway, that’s my little rant. It’s good news, really, that things are finally moving in the right direction.