Federal Aviation Administration Might Let You Keep Your Kindle On

There are those who don’t question flight attendants’ requests to shut off all electronic devices during landing and take off, and those who just don’t think a Kindle or iPad is going to disrupt the plane’s systems whatsoever. For the latter, the Federal Aviation Administration is listening — they’re reviewing the ban on personal electronic use on airplanes.

New York Times blogger Nick Bilton decided to call up the FAA and ask if they might consider changing their rules regarding certain devices. And turns out, they’ve decided to look into the matter.

Bilton called armed with research that suggests digital reading devices wouldn’t do a thing to a plane, and Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the F.A.A., said that they’ve decided to take a “fresh look” at the use of personal electronics on planes.

That would mean no more stuffing a few books or magazines in your carry on just to have something to do during taxi, takeoff and landing, and all the millions of e-reader users and tablet owners can stop grumbling. Maybe.

The FAA is going to conduct testing on those devices, not including smartphones, which hasn’t happened since 2006, back when iPads weren’t even around yet. The reason testing hasn’t yet been done to determine that they wouldn’t interfere with aircraft avionics, because it’s really expensive to do so.

“With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft,” said Brown.

It’ll take awhile though, as every airline must test each version of every single device before it can be approved by the FAA. So keep lugging those magazines.

Disruptions: Time to Review F.A.A. Policy on Gadgets [New York Times]