FAA Gives Details on Flight Deck Prohibition of PEDs
The FAA last week published guidelines detailing the prohibition of personal electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablet computers, on the flight decks of Part 121 aircraft when the aircraft is in operation, unless those devices have been specifically approved for flight. The prohibition was created to “ensure that nonessential activities do not affect flight-deck task management or cause a loss of situational awareness during aircraft operation.” While the rule applies only to Part 121 carriers, the agency suggests that Part 135, Part 125 and Part 91K operators would be wise to incorporate some of the recommendations into their standard operating procedures. The Part 121 prohibition focuses on the “personal use by flight-crew members of these devices, including, but not limited to, talking, texting, bidding for schedules, reading or accessing the Internet.” In other words, all personal use is prohibited, whether or not the device is in “airplane mode.” Last year, the single pilot of a London-area helicopter, who became disoriented in poor visibility and later crashed on a major city street, was found to have been texting moments before the accident. A Northwest Airlines crew also reportedly flew past their destination airport in 2010 because they became distracted by a laptop computer display in the cockpit.