FAA Might Allow for Some Gadget Use Before and During Takeoff


"We're learning that, as we thought, these devices have the potential to interfere with airplane systems and airplane radios on and during flight," Kirchoff told ABC News. "Sometimes they leave devices on inadvertently, sometimes they leave them on just because they leave them on. And we want to be able to make our products safer. We as an industry have to come up with a way to certify our airplanes and test our airplanes to make sure they won't be interfered with by these devices."

Kirchoff clarified that while Boeing has not been able to verify or confirm if a device would bring down an airplane, it could contribute to unsafe conditions that might lead to an accident.

The Aviation Rulemaking Committee is not considering cellphones in its study, but only the airplane mode of cellular devices and other electronic devices, such as e-readers and iPods. According to the Journal, the FAA is considering allowing only some gadgets to be used during all parts of the flight, including e-readers. However, in 2011, the FAA approved the use of iPads in the cockpit.

Kircoff says that the difference there is that the iPads those pilots are using have been tested and certified. Passengers' iPads or devices, however, have not each been examined for specific amounts of frequencies, and other sources of potential interference. Still, he maintains this is a period of transition and uncertainty about what the FAA will approve and change.

"I think we are in a transition period. We see a lot of effort right now with the FAA and with even some members of Congress who want to see some of the rules changed," he said. "And, of course, we want to do it in a safe manner."

ABC News' Matt Hosford and David Kerley contributed to this report.

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