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FAA wants to prohibit pilots from using personal electronics

1:31 PM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cops have been cracking down on distracted drivers for years.  But according to the federal government, we aren't the only ones who are distracted while operating a vehicle.

The Federal Aviation Administration has introduced a proposal that could change the way pilots fly.

Two pilots overshoot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles in 2009.  The reason, they said they were reviewing a work schedule on a personal computer.

Former American Airlines Pilot Wayne Ziskal explained, "I've had a situation at the gate, where I had three other pilots, I remember this very clearly because it really changed the way I did things.  This was going from Dallas to Tokyo.  The first officer's phone with a message and one of the pilots behind me was talking on a cell phone, and I said, 'alright, that's enough.'"

This is a rare inside look at what happens behind the locked door of the cockpit.  "We say in flying, don't let the airplane go where your mind has not gone five minutes before.  If you are not engaged mentally, you're not going to be able to do that," Ziskal said.

That's what he teaches his students in his second career as an assistant professor at Jacksonville University.  Even if you are not busy while the plane is in autopilot, you still have to be aware.  "What you are is you're detached from the operation," he added.

Ziskal said especially on long flights, like the ones he would fly oversees, there is time to do other things.  But the temptation is not worth the potential risk.  Ziskal said, "Autopilot will fly you right into a mountain if you let it and you program it right."

The irony, many airlines encourage and even require pilots to use a tablet computer to assist in the flying process.  If these new proposals become law, the feds want to make sure those behind the controls don't slip in personal surfing in between official work.

 

First Coast News

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