FAA: Pilots Can Use iPads ... During Takeoff, Landing
But lowly passengers? No such luck
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2011 8:31 AM CST
In this June 29, 2011 file photo, an American Airlines aircraft at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in Grapevine, Texas.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

(Newser) – Well, Alec Baldwin will certainly not be happy to hear this: Starting Friday, if you're on an American Airlines flight, you may use your iPad during takeoff and landing ... as long as you're the pilot. The FAA issued the new rules yesterday, the New York Times reports. Of course, the iPads won't exactly be used to play Words With Friends; they'll replace paper flight manuals. Passengers are still required to keep all electronic devices off until the plane gets to 10,000 feet.

The Times notes that the FAA bars passengers from using such devices in order to protect the airplane's electronics from interference, so it's interesting that the pilots—who are just inches from the plane's avionics—will be allowed to use them. But the FAA says in a statement that it performed "rigorous testing" of electronic devices used in the cockpit, and explains that there can only be two approved devices there, one per pilot, as opposed to potentially "dozens or even hundreds of devices" being used simultaneously if passengers were given the same permission. Click for the latest on the Baldwin debacle.