FAA study could change in-flight cell policy

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Some experts say the results of a Federal Aviation Administration study could mean changes are on the way for the cell phone use on airplanes.

The study by the FAA, completed in July this year, focused on 11 different countries that allow the use of cell phones and personal electronic devices on flights. During that study, researchers found no safety issues reported as a result of cell phone use. The study also revealed a relatively low number of complaints from passengers about noise from the cell phones.

The worry from the FAA is that signals from electronic devices could disrupt in-flight navigation and radio equipment, potentially jeopardizing a flight. But Aviation consultant Bob Baron, who acts as President of The Aviation Consulting Group in Myrtle Beach, says prohibiting use of the devices in flight is a step the agency took to be safe rather than sorry.

"It was more or less done as a precautionary measure to err on the side of safety," Baron said. "They didn't know what the effects were."

The FAA announced last month it isn't looking into the use of cell phones for voice communication on planes, but Baron says the results of the study could mean a shift in policy is coming.

"I could see the FAA relaxing that regulation shortly here because…there is very little in the way of evidence to suggest it causes a problem with navigation," Baron said.

The FAA is also asking for public input on the study and cell phone use on planes through Nov. 5. To participate, click on the link below and follow the instructions listed:

Read more about the study online and submit your comments on their findings.

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