[FoRK] Overly cautiousness

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Mar 19 13:23:28 PDT 2012

I'm all for safety, especially air safety, but lying, laziness, and fostering ignorance are just going too far.  In many ways, 
the FAA seems to have just the regulations it needs, except for electronics on planes.  There, they are batty.

Seems it is now becoming so obvious it will begin to be fixed.

This has definitely been a case where regulation was created in such a way as to make it effectively impractical to work 
around.  Practically anything could be imposed with this kind of logic.

> The F.A.A., which in the past has essentially said, “No, because I said so,” is going to explore testing e-readers, tablets 
> and certain other gadgets on planes. The last time this testingwas 
> done<http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsid=6275>was 2006, long before iPads and most e-readers existed. 
> (The bad, or good, news: The F.A.A. doesn’t yet want to include the 150 million smartphones in this revision.)
> Ms. Brown said that the administration’s current rules allow airlines to request use of electronic devices “once the airline 
> demonstrated the devices would not interfere with aircraft avionics.”
> Airlines have not done this because it is a expensive and laborious affair.
> So, likelybowing to public pressure 
> <http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/disruptions-tests-cast-doubt-on-fcc-rules-on-kindle-and-ipad-html/>, the F.A.A. has 
> decided to take this initiative into its own hands and is going to figure out a way to start testing new electronics on airplanes.
> As Ms. Brown said: “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.”
> Don’t run past the bookstore at the airport and start using your Kindle during takeoff just yet. There’s plenty of work to be 
> done before these rules are changed. You see, while the F.A.A. is no longer ignoring the devices, it could very well entwine 
> them in the kind of bureaucratic red tape only Washington can invent.
> Abby Lunardini, vice president of corporate communications at Virgin America, explained that the current guidelines require 
> that an airline must test each version of a single device before it can be approved by the F.A.A. For example, if the airline 
> wanted to get approval for the iPad, it would have to test the first iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad, each on a separate flight, 
> with no passengers on the plane.
> It would have to do the same for every version of the Kindle. It would have to do it for every different model of plane in its 
> fleet. And American, JetBlue, United, Air Wisconsin, etc., would have to do the same thing. (No wonder the F.A.A. is keeping 
> smartphones off the table since there are easily several hundred different models on the market.)
> Ms. Lunardini added that Virgin America would like to perform these tests, but the current guidelines make it “prohibitively 
> expensive, especially for an airline with a relatively small fleet that is always in the air on commercial flights like ours.”


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