February 11, 2014
The FAA today issued a final rule that reinforces that airline pilots cannot use PEDs for personal use in all operations. The rule codifies existing FAA policies and procedures and meets an FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandate by prohibiting all commercial airline (passenger and cargo) flight crews from using personal wireless communications devices or laptop computers for personal reasons during all aircraft operations. The agency's 1981 "sterile cockpit" rule already forbids pilots to engage in distracting behavior during critical phases of flight, including take-off and landing, and we have previously asked carriers to address the distraction issue through their crew training programs. The rule reflects current flight deck operating procedures and imposes minimal cost to the airlines. This rule follows a January 15, 2013 proposal and takes effect in 60 days.