Senate Democrat proposes bill to allow iPad, iPod use from takeoff to landing

“Frustrated with the slow process at the FAA, Sen. Claire McCaskill said Thursday she will write legislation to allow passengers to use electronic devices during all aspects of flight,” Burgess Everett reports for Politico.

“In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the Missouri Democrat said she is ‘concerned’ with Huerta’s ‘lack of direct engagement’ on expanding the use of personal electronic devices during flight and called the current set of rules that force passengers to put away their iPods at altitudes below 10,000 feet ‘preposterous,'” Everett reports. “The proposed bill would not apply to cellphone use but would dramatically expand the use of iPads, other tablets, music players and other devices before, during and after flight.”

Everett reports, “McCaskill said neither members of the public nor lawmakers believe the FAA’s contention that regulations requiring passengers to shut off their devices during takeoff and landing ‘are any longer about safety.’ McCaskill first raised the issue with Huerta last December, noting what she called the FAA’s ‘intransigence’ on the issue, even as flight crews received the go-ahead to use devices during flight as ‘electronic flight bags’ that will replace the bulky bags filled with dozens of pounds of critical aviation information.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on March 19, 2012:

It’s a load-of-crap rule, as anyone who’s ever flown knows. On any given flight, multiple people with iOS and other devices never turn them off (likely, some of these people don’t even know how to really turn their devices off) or never even put them to sleep. They certainly don’t put them into “Airplane Mode,” either. Their Wi-Fi is on all flight long and most of the time there are at least three personal hotspots bouncing all throughout the plane, too. The fact is – we see it almost every flight – some people simply hide them from the flight attendants and continue to use them during takeoff and/or landing and, guess what, we’re still here.

Related articles:
American Airlines first commercial carrier with FAA approval to use Apple iPads in all phases of flight – September 11, 2012
FAA to study use of iPads, iPhone on airplanes during entire flight – August 28, 2012
F.A.A. taking ‘fresh look’ at passenger use of iPad, devices use during takeoff and landing – March 19, 2012

41 Comments

  1. When I asked a commercial pilot about iPad use in the cabin, since it was approved in the cockpit, he shut down our conversation. Strange, or another double standard?

    1. The real reason you should not use electronics below 5000-10000 feet Is that is where emergencies get critical. Air crew need your full attention NOW not after you finish that game.

      Nuff said.
      Ps have degrees in aerospace and electronics. Trust me.
      JAT

      1. Then why is their no problem reading a book or magazine? Why is reading a book on my iPad more of a distraction than reading a printed version? If it was truly to have your attention they should require that all reading material be closed and put away.

  2. Hey, lookie here, some common ground – or, rather, air!

    On this matter, and this matter alone, you go, ClaireAir!

    (Claire McCaskill earned the nickname, ‘ClaireAir’ with the twin scandals about her airplane. First, it was revealed that she billed the taxpayers for political travel. Then we learned that she also failed to pay personal property taxes on that plane for 4 years.)

    1. Still smarting about losing Missouri due to the “legitimate rape” comment by your party’s Teabagger nonpariel 2012 candidate?

      Claire was a goner, but the Reich Wing picked a Teabagger so stupid even Red leaning Missouri would not bite.

      I don;t know what you complain about, she is essentially a Republican on everything but Choice.

      Just wait until Ms Clinton wins Texas en route to taking the 2016 General Election. That ought to make Rush’s head explode.

      1. On the contrary, I’m retired very young and independently wealthy. “Set for life,” as they say. The world is my oyster precisely because I went to school and worked hard and made my fortune. I didn’t rely on government subsistence-level handouts.

        So, for now, you can have as many crooked, lying commies as you like, Dem/Lib/Progs.

        Have a nice depression! My considerable cache is already safely tucked away where you people can’t get your grubby hands on it.

        You people won’t be wasting my hard work on your failed government boondoggles. Not gonna happen. Nope. It wouldn’t be prudent.

        When this country finally hits rock bottom and is ready for Reagan II without a Cold War to win, I’ll consider resuming my investments in U.S. job creation. Until then, have fun with your food stamp nation comprised of bums on “disability.”

        The only true “disability” most of you low-information voters have is with your ability to think logically.

        1. So, we’re waiting for your rebuttal on The Agent’s first paragraph above, the “legitimate rape” thing? As a Republican who left the party in 1988 I would be more than happy to return when the GOP returns to its own roots and gets the hell out of legislating people’s bodies and marriages. Those things have absolutely nothing to do with lowering the deficit or creating jobs or anything else the GOP ought to be doing. When the so-far-to-the-right Xtians are running things, the party loses. When social issues trump fiscal issues, the party is dead except for those who thinks some white bearded guy in the sky is going to solve all our problems

          First2014, you and I probably have a lot in common but the GOP has failed to represent me at both the state and national levels.

          Incidentally, one way to help the deficit is to strike down the tax-free status of religious bodies, or else strike down taxes on everything else. Religion should not be favored over non-religious entities.

          1. You can count on Claire to keep herself in the headlines with minor NON-ISSUES. Seriously . . . as my Senator, I wish that she would concentrate on the BIG issues that our country is facing!

        2. ***”On the contrary, I’m retired very young and independently wealthy. “Set for life,” as they say. The world is my oyster precisely because I went to school and worked hard and made my fortune. I didn’t rely on government subsistence-level handouts.

          So, for now, you can have as many crooked, lying commies as you like, Dem/Lib/Progs.

          Have a nice depression! My considerable cache is already safely tucked away where you people can’t get your grubby hands on it.

          You people won’t be wasting my hard work on your failed government boondoggles. Not gonna happen. Nope. It wouldn’t be prudent.

          When this country finally hits rock bottom and is ready for Reagan II without a Cold War to win, I’ll consider resuming my investments in U.S. job creation. Until then, have fun with your food stamp nation comprised of bums on “disability.”

          The only true “disability” most of you low-information voters have is with your ability to think logically.”***

          @First 2014, Then 2016. First of all, congrats on your hard work and luck in regards. That doesn’t make a measure of the man. Yes, you were born under the right circumstances and it turned out well for you. For so many, they are born in poverty and never get out of that cycle. But I wouldn’t be crowing too much. Karma has a way of catching up with the selfish and prideful and knocking them off their perch.

          Oh, and by the way, stop projecting. It is you that is the low information voter. You obviously don’t realize you have been living off the government teet more then you know. Roads, clean public water, fire department, military, police, etc. But keep calling people names who don’t agree with you Dem/Lib/Progs…it proves your point real well. /snark

          Also, here’s a nice little link about the myth of Reagan:

          http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/02/05/142288/reagan-centennial/?mobile=nc

          Of course, anything that disagrees with your illusory fantasy about your demi-god is a liberal rag. Enjoy!

    2. Why do you have to pay property taxes on a plane anyway. You paid taxes when you bought it. You pay taxes on top of the fees when you park it. Just because you own it you pay taxes? What commie came up with that system?

        1. As somebody who has lived in California for 24 years, and founded several businesses here, I don’t agree, GM. Basic property taxes in CA are low compared to many states in the East due to Prop 13. There are a few things on which there are special fees, but a lot of that has to do with either the need to augment the property tax, or to regulate equipment that at one time poured so many pollutants into the air it was unbreathable.

          As for Thelonious Mac’s remarkably uninformed comment – you may think this is a system devised by a “commie” but virtually all the states – including most “red” states – tax aircraft as either personal property or on the possessory interest. This isn’t much different than paying a registration fee on a car based on its value. As to why, it is simple: Virtually all accommodations for aircraft – including airports, flight control and navigation – are built and maintained by the public. Personally, I have no desire to subsidize these expensive facilities and systems with my tax dollars so that some rich guy can fly his private jet without paying his fair share.

      1. Here in Missouri, it’s called PERSONAL PROPERTY tax. You fill out a form every year and claim your NON real estate property. (vehicles, motorcycles, campers, boats and yes – even airplanes)

  3. Finally, they need to allow phones too. What would be the difference if you had a cellular iPad. “Sir you have to turn off your phone!” “Nope, I’m making a VoIP call on my iPad, see, and that is within my legal right!”

    1. They have been using MICROWAVE OVENS in airplanes for ages now. If THAT is not a reason for concern, why should the use of WiFi and even of cell phone frequencies be a concern?

  4. Wi-fi transmissions in the USA can’t exceed 1 watt, and most are far below that level. They are also in a band which does not interfere to any noticeable level with avionics. One can imaging that the incidental emissions from non-WiFi devices are far less impactful to avionics.

    Strangely, 20 years ago, I regularly received permission to use my 2-meter, 5-watt handheld radio aboard AirCal’s 737 flights. 2 meters is from 144-148 MHz, rather closer to the aircraft band than the 2400-2483.5 MHz and 5725-5850 MHz bands used by WiFi, and no interference was ever detected or reported.

    If there’s a safety issue here, no one has ever explained it to me.

    1. The only safety issue I have heard is that the passengers who use these devices at take-off and landing are not as attentive and in the unlikely event of an incident, they will not be prepared and cause confusion and delays for emergency exit.

      1. Sir, you have hit the nail on the head. People want to be able to break the law/rules yet they expect to be protected from their own stupidity.

        The first 5000 to 10000 feet is critical. The plane is gaining altitude and speed which are requires to keep it in the air. Things go wrong in seconds and crashes happen with in a minute, possibly while the place is upside down and shaking.

        While I agree that the rules need updating, I think that some of the passengers need a little bitch slapping too. JAT. /s

  5. I figure the rule is in place so that people cannot phone out to another party to complain about delays in taking off or getting to a gate. You never know who a passenger might know that could make things awkward for the crew on a particular flight.

  6. Have you ever noticed you are required to turn off all electronics before they can close the door, but you can use them after landing while taxiing to the gate?

    I think most people see through the inconsistency and are therefore motivated to call out this nonsense for what it is.

  7. Once in a great while someone in Congress will propose a good law. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does once in a blue moon. This bill is one of those unusual times.

    Of course, we are not talking about a new law, but rather the repeal of a bullshit rule.

  8. Kudos to Senator McCaskill for taking on the bureaucracy. As for ClaireAir, you can find something questionable on every person in Congress. When reform stops the lobbying, outrageous campaign costs, and compromising funding, the questionable nonsense will gradually attenuate.

  9. However, Android OS Tablets are still being confiscated by TSA, along with other dangerous items such as liquids and knives with blades greater than 2.36″! (wink-wink)

  10. If cel phones caused planes to drop from the sky it would have happened to the 911 plane long before the passengers tried to overpower the terrorists. SO basically, we have know without a doubt for over a decade.

    I’d settle for no device use during takeoff and landing if they would make the a-hole TSA go away.

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