Six-year FAA ban on drones declared not legally binding by judge
Commercial drones are legal in the United States, a judge on the National Transportation Safety Board has ruled. A fine against a drone operator by the Federal Aviation Administration will not stand, as it has been decided by Judge Patrick Geraghty that the FAA does not have any enforceable rule or regulation that applies to the usage of model aircraft.
Rule change to help prevent pilot distraction by mobile devices
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has made two technology-related decisions this week, with both changes affecting pilots rather than passengers. At the same time as introducing new rules limiting the equipment brought into the cockpit, the FAA has given the green light to pilots replacing their bag of flight manuals and documents with the Microsoft Surface 2.
British Airways allows passengers to use electronics throughout flight
British Airways has become the first European airline to allow the use of smartphones and tablets throughout a flight. The change in policy at the airline after the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) rule alterations mirrors that of American counterparts after the FAA made a similar decision. While passengers will be able to use mobile devices from terminal to terminal, Reuters reports that devices are still required to go into "Flight Mode" for the journey itself.
Proposal comes after FAA, EASA allows device use in flights
Passengers on flights in the United States may be allowed to use the cellular connection on their smartphones and tablets while traveling in the future. New proposals from the FCC come weeks after the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) allowed device use at all stages of flight, and after the European Commission (EC) permitted 3G and 4G LTE connections during transit.
Incoming EASA guidelines follow similar FAA rule changes
Airline passengers in Europe will be able to use electronic devices from take-off to landing, under new guidelines. Soon to be published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the new rules to airlines come just two weeks after the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) made similar alterations to its own guidelines for US-based flights.
Karma will add Sprint LTE to service, expanding coverage to 230 cities
Pay-as-you-go mobile Wi-Fi hotspot provider Karma is adding 4G LTE connectivity to its service. Using the Sprint 4G LTE network, customers will be able to use the shareable hotspot in more than 230 US cities once it is launched in the first half of 2014, expanding from its existing WiMAX-based coverage of 80 cities. Though the current hotspot will not be compatible with LTE network, Karma will be offering "steep discounts" on the replacement LTE device when it ships.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom reaches US on November 8th
Samsung has confirmed earlier rumors that AT&T will be the first US carrier to offer its Galaxy S4 Zoom to customers, from November 8th. Priced at $200 on a two-year contract or $25 per month under AT&T Next, the Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 4.3-inch qHD screen with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1.5GB of RAM, LTE connectivity, and a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor on the back with optical image stabilization, a Xenon flash, and a 10x optical zoom.
JetBlue, Delta allow passengers to use devices at takeoff
Airlines JetBlue and Delta have announced that they will be allowing passengers to use electronic devices between the departure and arrivals gates, including at takeoff, according to Bloomberg. Shortly after the FAA changed the rules governing the use of such devices in a plane, JetBlue corporate communications manager Morgan Johnson posted an image of passengers armed with smartphones to Facebook, claiming its first flight under the new policy has flown successfully.
Smartphones, tablets in flight mode given OK for use at take-off
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that it is safe for passengers to use portable electronic devices on all phases of a flight, something it has been investigating for quite some time. The new recommendations will allow for mobile phones, tablets and other similar devices to be used during the take-off and landing of an aircraft, as well as when the aircraft reaches an altitude of at least 10,000 feet.
Advisory panel suggests relaxing ban on device usage at takeoff, landing
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be taking another look at its rules preventing passengers from using electronic devices during takeoff and landing from next week. A high-level 28-member advisory committee examining the issue has recommended that the FAA relaxes the rules, with the formal report on the discussions being presented to the FAA on Monday.
Advisory panel granted 2-month extension on device report for FAA
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is close to loosening the restrictions on electronics on planes, after a long period of deliberation, according to a report. Recommendations from a 28-member high-level advisory panel and industry officials in a draft report are apparently leading the FAA to lift the ban on the use of personal electronics at low altitudes.
Prohibitions against phones likely to stay in place
The US Federal Aviation Administration is hoping to announce looser restrictions on in-flight use of portable electronics by the end of 2013, according to sources for the New York Times. The people belong to an industry working group set up by the FAA, and add that the latter is specifically considering allowing reading devices during takeoff and landing, including tablets and e-readers. Devices may still have to be set to Airplane mode, though, and cellphones are expected to remain off-limits.
Senator proposing a bill to scrap current FAA rules
In a frustrated letter to FAA director Michael Huerta on Thursday, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) expressed concern with Huerta's "lack of direct engagement" on the subject of in-flight use of personal electronic devices. The senator is proposing a bill to greatly increase the usage window of cellphones, tablets, music players, and other electronic devices before, during, and after the flight, including during takeoff and landing.
Previous approval on 'ad-hoc' basis, new rules apply standards
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is loosening up restrictions for in-flight Internet technology. Under the newly-adopted framework, the new clearance rules are intended to boost competition and promote "the widespread availability of Internet access to aircraft passengers" according to the agency. The FAA has previously said that the FCC's establishment of universal standards will "help to streamline the process" for more ubiquitous internet access on airplanes.
Letter pledges FCC support to rule review effort
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski is petitioning the Federal Aviation Administraion (FAA) chief, Michael Huerta, to "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices" during flights in a letter sent on Thursday. Genachowski has pledged to work with the FAA, airlines, and manufacturers to review policies and guidance on in-flight use of the devices.
Bag with 35 pounds of maps, manuals replaced by 1.5 pound iPad
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has given approval for American Airlines to replace its flight manuals with iPad versions. The airline is the first commercial carrier to replace the satchels with the tablet, saving $1.2 million dollars annually in aviation fuel. The iPad remains the only tablet approved for aviation use by the FAA.
Cellphones not on the list for examination
As promised, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said today that it was forming a combined government and industry group to study the commercial aviation policies on portable electronic device use in flight. While a large number of devices are being examined for use, the group is not considering the airborne use of cell phones for private voice communications during flight, however.
FAA may relax rules on devices during approach
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a rare promise to reexamine its controversial device rules. Deputy Assistant Administrator Laura Brown explained to the New York Times that a "fresh look" was coming for rules that prevented device use during takeoff or landing. "New and evolving" technology and a lack of testing demanded it, she said.
Could lose spectrum most needed for GPS workaround
LightSquared has failed to make a $56.25 million payment to UK satellite operator Inmarsat. The payment was to be the first of several payments, totaling $175 million for the year to be payed by LightSquared to Inmarsat, in a deal struck between the two in 2007, for access to spectrum. If LightSquared doesn't pay, Inmarsat can legally end the deal.
GPS promised faster, more fuel efficient landings
The US Congress has passed a bill to give the FAA operational stability and to enable it to modernize how it handles planes in the air. The provisions of the bill will accelerate the migration from radar-based to GPS-based air traffic control. The act also makes it easier for unmanned drones to take to the skies.
Tests suggest no effect from devices in airplanes
An examination of the FAA's rules demanding shutdowns of electronic devices during takeoff and landing has cast more doubt on the ban. The New York Times found through EMT Labs tests that the electromagnetic interference from current devices, such as an Amazon Kindle and a Sony voice recorder, was around 30 microvolts, or well under the 100 volts per meter limit the FAA demands. While iPads weren't measured, they too would be well under the limit.
FAA could allow iPads for all crews on Friday
An apparent leak on Tuesday maintained that the FAA has already approved the iPad for all purposes. The ZDNet tip had American Airlines being the first whose cockpits would use iPads at every stage of the flight, not just logbooks. The first flight would come on Boeing 777 aircraft, where Apple's tablet would also handle charting and flight manuals.
Delta begins tablet tests for use by pilots
Delta Air Lines is now using 22 iPads as part of a test to communicate with its pilots. The tablets are used as electronic flight bags (EFBs) during trips, with all loaded with an identical software suite that can be further customized with other apps. Pilots also have access to their Delta e-mail account and calendar.
Alaska Airlines uses iPad in place of paper manual
Alaska Airlines on Friday had the distinction of being the first large US carrier to use iPads as flight manuals on all flights and routes. All pilots will be receiving the Apple tablet loaded with the GoodReader app and PDF copies of all the aircraft manuals, reference charts, and other content they would need for their flights. Moving to the iPad not only saves a large amount of weight, dropping from 25 pounds to 1.5 pounds, but has active links between documents and color that normally wouldn't reach the printed copies.
JetBlue vows to bring Wi-Fi to planes in 2012
JetBlue has become the latest airline company to announce it will bring Wi-Fi to its fleet. The company, which flies across the US, will partner with ViaSat to install hardware that will enable broadband Internet and TV service on its 160 aircraft by the end of 2012. Before this happens, however, the FAA needs to test and approve all the gear.
Luggage lithium ban
Within days, air travellers will no longer be able hold loose lithium batteries in their luggage, the US Department of Transportation says. As of January 1st, batteries will either have to be inserted into a phone, notebook or other electronic device, or else dropped into a plastic bag, and bundled along with carry-on baggage in a limit of two batteries per passenger.
The issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, is that if a lithium battery catches fire while in a cargo hold, current extinguishing systems are unable to stop the blaze. The National Transportation Safety Board insists that it cannot rule out lithium as the source of a plane fire at the Philadelphia International Airport in 2006.