FAA Seeks Comments on Cell Phone Use in Flight

The concern that cell phones can interfere with aircraft navigation has been debunked. This study is required by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, with a report to Congress due by Nov. 10.

The Federal Aviation Administration is accepted comments for the next 60 days as it prepares a report to Congress about the impact of using cell phones for voice communications during scheduled air flights. FCC regulations, not FAA ones, prohibit the use of some types of cell phones in flight, and this new FAA study is required by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, with a report to Congress due by Nov. 10.

The law does not direct either FAA or FCC to change their policies and regulations on this. The study examined the experience of airlines and national aviation authorities that allow cell phone use in flight, and any future rulemaking here on the issue will consider this study, FAA notes.

The study included a review of foreign government and air carrier policies, a review of the extent to which passengers use cell phones for voice communications while in flight, and a summary of cell phone impacts on safety, the quality of passengers' flight experience, and flight attendants.

A draft report is available at http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/.

FAA's notice said the agency seeks in the comments information from aircraft operators that may not have been provided in the national aviation authorities' responses, flight attendants' and pilots' experiences with cell phone use on aircraft that are equipped with on-board cell phone base stations, and passengers' experiences on such planes.

Send comments identified as Cell Phone Study Comments either to CELLPHONEcomment@faa.gov, by fax to 202-385-6474, or by mail to Avionics Maintenance Branch, AFS-360, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20591.

The concern that cell phones can interfere with aircraft navigation has been debunked by the Discovery Channel program MythBusters, among others.

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