FAA Prohibits Personal Use of Electronic Devices for Some Pilots

As pilots increasingly rely on electronic devices as vital tools in the cockpit, the FAA announced this week that it will be adding new restrictions prohibiting the personal use of electronic devices on airline flight decks.

The rules, which cover the use of cell phones, laptops and any other personal electronic devices, are slated to go into effect in two months.

The FAA says the move "codifies existing FAA policies and procedures." The restrictions also strengthening existing sterile cockpit requirements and come on the heels of several incidents in recent years in which electronic devices caused pilot distraction.

Five years ago, a Northwest Airlines crew made headlines when they blew past their intended destination by 150 miles while using their laptops in the cockpit. The pilots failed to respond to ATC calls for 78 minutes during the incident. In 2012 an Australian Airbus A320 crew landed in hot water when they were forced to abort a landing below 500 feet after they forgot to deploy the landing gear. The incident report found that the captain's interest in incoming text messages was one of the factors that caused his distraction in the cockpit.

While the FAA restricts airline pilots' use of personal electronic devices, it continues to loosen restrictions on passengers' use. The House Transportation Committee, however, approved a bill on Tuesday prohibiting passengers from making phone calls in flight.

Get exclusive online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.

We welcome your comments on flyingmag.com. In order to maintain a respectful environment, we ask that all comments be on-topic, respectful and spam-free. All comments made here are public and may be republished by Flying.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter