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Tablets and small devices should be allowed in takeoff and landing, US committee says

The possibility of using tablets and music players during takeoff and landing in the US is becoming increasingly likely, after a Federal Aviation Administration special committee recommended that the ban on using devices in aircraft when below 10,000ft (3,000m) be lifted.

Use of consumer technology during takeoff and landing in the US and many other countries, including the UK, is banned due to worries that wireless features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth could interfere with the navigation equipment used by aeroplanes.

The special committee has argued however that newer planes are not at risk due to inbuilt resistance to interference included in order to allow the aircrafts to broadcast their own Wi-Fi networks.

Larger devices including laptops and DVD players have not been included in the recommendations however due to the risk of them blocking an evacuation. The full report will now be considered by the US aviation authorities.

Older aeroplanes could still be affected the committee said and would need to be tested to see if the cockpit equipment is affected. Passengers may still be required to stop using technology during bad weather as it could disrupt guidance systems used during poor visibility.

Travellers would also still be prevented from accessing the Internet or making calls through any other network than one provided by the flight operator, even if the recommendations are accepted. This area is overseen by a different authority which has banned alternative networks over fears that they could disrupt airport equipment.

Image credit: Flickr (Blue Pylons)