Ban Pilots from Using Personal Electronic Devices During Flights

pilots

Target: Federal Aviation Administration Administrator, Michael Huerta

Goal: Support increased safety procedures on commercial flights by prohibiting pilots from using personal electronic devices.

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed banning pilots from using personal electronic devices during all phases of flight. Currently, pilots are only prohibited from using personal devices during operations conducted below 10,000 feet. Please sign this petition in support of the ban in an effort to reduce potential distractions and increase safety awareness during all phases of flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed new rules concerning electronic device usage in the cockpit. Within current provisions, “the personal use of personal wireless communications devices and laptop computers for non-safety related activities is prohibited by the broad restrictions in the current ‘Sterile Cockpit’ rule during ground operations involving taxi, take-off and landing, and all other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet.” The proposed requirements of the new rule would extend the prohibition on personal use of personal wireless communications devices and laptop computers to all phases of flight. The FAA proposal comes in response to a handful of incidents related to pilot distraction. In October 2009, two pilots using their laptops during cruise flight flew past their destination by 150 miles and 78 minutes. After a Cogan Airlines flight crashed in 2009, it was revealed that the first officer had been text messaging while the plane taxied for takeoff.

The broad proposal includes several exemptions if the personal communication device or laptop is used in direct relation to the operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related or employment-related communications. Pilots could still make calls on their cellular phones related to flying the plane, aviation emergencies or if they need to call their company for an operational reason. Personal emergencies are specifically excluded from the proposal. The rule also exempts companies utilizing FAA approved programs that use laptops or tablets in place of paper charts and manuals.

Please sign this petition and support the proposed rule to prevent pilot distractions by prohibiting personal use of electronic devices during all phases of flight.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Huerta,

I am writing in support of the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposal to extend safety precautions surrounding electronic usage by pilots during all phases of flight. Obviously the FAA proposed the new rule for a reason and it seems like a reasonable request in the age of technology. I urge you to support the proposal and successful implementation of the new restriction.

The proposed rule stands to extend the current restrictions on personal electronic devices during operation below 10,000 feet to all phases of flight, including cruise flight. The longstanding “sterile cockpit” rule prohibits engaging in nonessential activities that could cause distractions in critical phases of flight such as taxi, takeoff, landing and all operations below 10,000 feet. While the new rule would extend this provision, there are several exemptions that allow for case-by-case interpretation.

Exemptions include pilots using personal communication devices or laptops if the use is “directly related to operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications and the use is in accordance with air carrier procedures approved by the Administrator.” So pilots would be able to utilize these devices in the event of an emergency related to their position or the aircraft. Personal emergencies are explicitly excluded from these exemptions. The rule would also exempt companies using FAA approved programs that utilize laptops or tablets in place of paper charts and manuals.

I urge you to support the proposed provisions in an effort to reduce distraction and encourage concentration during all flight operations.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jetstar Airways via Flickr

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56 Signatures

  • James Thrailkill
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
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