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FAA Reg on Prohibition on Personal Use of Electronic Devices on the Flight Deck Docket No. FAA–2012–0929

FAA Reg on Prohibition on Personal Use of Electronic Devices on the Flight Deck Docket No. FAA–2012–0929

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Published by Michael James
FAA proposed Rule on prohibiting pilots from using electronic devices in flight for personal use (official use still allowed).
FAA proposed Rule on prohibiting pilots from using electronic devices in flight for personal use (official use still allowed).

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Published by: Michael James on Jan 22, 2013
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Federal Register
/Vol. 78, No. 10/Tuesday, January 15, 2013/Proposed Rules
(3) Replacement at any time of an elevatortrim tab arm with an airworthy part that hasa P/N other than P/N 115E–3758, willterminate the repetitive requirement inparagraph (f)(1) of this AD.
(g) Credit for Actions Accomplished inAccordance With Previous ServiceInformation
This AD provides credit for the actionsrequired in this AD if already done before theeffective date of this AD following GrobAircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1078–186/2, dated March 28, 2012; Grob AircraftService Bulletin No. MSB1078–186/1, datedMarch 8, 2012; or Grob Aircraft ServiceBulletin No. MSB1078–186, dated February15, 2012.
(h) Other FAA AD Provisions
The following provisions also apply to thisAD:(1)
Alternative Methods of Compliance(AMOCs): 
The Manager, Standards Office,FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCsfor this AD, if requested using the proceduresfound in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information toATTN: Taylor Martin, Aerospace Engineer,FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust,Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106;telephone: (816) 329–4138; fax: (816) 329–4090; email:
Beforeusing any approved AMOC on any airplaneto which the AMOC applies, notify yourappropriate principal inspector (PI) in theFAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO),or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.(2)
Airworthy Product: 
For any requirementin this AD to obtain corrective actions froma manufacturer or other source, use theseactions if they are FAA-approved. Correctiveactions are considered FAA-approved if theyare approved by the State of Design Authority(or their delegated agent). You are requiredto assure the product is airworthy before itis returned to service.(3)
Reporting Requirements: 
For anyreporting requirement in this AD, a federalagency may not conduct or sponsor, and aperson is not required to respond to, norshall a person be subject to a penalty forfailure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless thatcollection of information displays a currentvalid OMB Control Number. The OMBControl Number for this informationcollection is 2120–0056. Public reporting forthis collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response,including the time for reviewing instructions,completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collectionof information are mandatory. Commentsconcerning the accuracy of this burden andsuggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 IndependenceAve. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn:Information Collection Clearance Officer,AES–200.
(i) Related Information
Refer to MCAI European Aviation SafetyAgency (EASA) AD No.: 2012–0155, datedAugust 20, 2012; and Grob Aircraft ServiceBulletin No. MSB1078–186/3, dated August3, 2012, for related information. For serviceinformation related to this AD, contact GrobAircraft AG, Lettenbachstrasse 9, D–86874Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany; phone:+49 (0) 8268 998 139; fax: +49 (0) 8268 998200; email:
You may review copies of thereferenced service information at the FAA,Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust,Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For informationon the availability of this material at theFAA, call (816) 329–4148.Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on January8, 2013.
John Colomy,
Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate,Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2013–00667 Filed 1–14–13; 8:45 am]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONFederal Aviation Administration14 CFR Part 121
[Docket No. FAA–2012–0929; Notice No. 13–02]RIN 2120–AJ17
Prohibition on Personal Use ofElectronic Devices on the Flight Deck 
Federal AviationAdministration (FAA), DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking(NPRM).
The proposed rule wouldprohibit flightcrew members inoperations under part 121 from using apersonal wireless communicationsdevice or laptop computer for personaluse while at their duty station on theflight deck while the aircraft is beingoperated. This rule, which conformsFAA regulations with recent legislation,is intended to ensure that certain non-essential activities do not contribute tothe challenge of task management on theflight deck or a loss of situationalawareness due to attention to non-essential tasks.
Send comments on or beforeMarch 18, 2013.
Send comments identified by docket number FAA–2012–0929using any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
Go to
and followthe online instructions for sending yourcomments electronically.
Send comments to DocketOperations, M–30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New JerseyAvenue SE., Room W12–140, WestBuilding Ground Floor, Washington, DC20590–0001.
Hand Delivery or Courier: 
Takecomments to Docket Operations inRoom W12–140 of the West BuildingGround Floor at 1200 New JerseyAvenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday throughFriday, except Federal holidays.
Fax comments to DocketOperations at 202–493–2251.
The FAA will post allcomments it receives, without change,to
includingany personal information thecommenter provides. Using the searchfunction of the docket Web site, anyonecan find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAAdocket, including the name of theindividual sending the comment (orsigning the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT’scomplete Privacy Act Statement can befound in the
Federal Register
publishedon April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–19478),as well as at
Background documents orcomments received may be read at
at any time.Follow the online instructions foraccessing the docket or go to the DocketOperations in Room W12–140 of theWest Building Ground Floor at 1200New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington,DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Mondaythrough Friday, except Federal holidays.
Fortechnical questions concerning thisproposed rule, contact Nancy LauckClaussen, Air Transportation Division(AFS–200), Flight Standards Service,Federal Aviation Administration, 800Independence Avenue SW.,Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202)267–8166; email
For legal questions concerning thisaction, contact Nancy Sanchez, Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations Division,AGC–200, Federal AviationAdministration, 800 IndependenceAvenue SW., Washington, DC 20591;telephone (202) 267–3073; email
See the‘‘Additional Information’’ section forinformation on how to comment on thisproposal and how the FAA will handlecomments received. The ‘‘AdditionalInformation’’ section also containsrelated information about the docket,privacy, the handling of proprietary orconfidential business information. Inaddition, there is information onobtaining copies of related rulemakingdocuments.
Authority for This Rulemaking
The FAA’s authority to issue rules onaviation safety is found in Title 49 of theUnited States Code. Subtitle I, Section
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Federal Register
/Vol. 78, No. 10/Tuesday, January 15, 2013/Proposed Rules
46 FR 5500 (Jan. 19, 1981).
106, describes the authority of the FAAAdministrator. Subtitle VII, AviationPrograms, describes in more detail thescope of the Agency’s authority.This rulemaking is promulgatedunder the authority described in 49U.S.C. 44701(a)(5), which requires theAdministrator to promulgate regulationsand minimum standards for otherpractices, methods, and proceduresnecessary for safety in air commerce andnational security, and 49 U.S.C.44732(d), which requires theAdministrator to issue a final rule tocarry out the prohibition of personal useof electronic devices on the flight deck by flightcrew members.
Table of Contents
I. Overview of Proposed RuleII. BackgroundA. Related RuleB. Statement of the ProblemC. National Transportation Safety BoardRecommendationIII. Discussion of the ProposalA. RequirementsB. Current Air Carrier ProgramsC. Operational Timeframes for ProhibitionD. Personal Wireless CommunicationsDeviceIV. Regulatory Notices and AnalysesA. Regulatory EvaluationB. Regulatory Flexibility DeterminationC. International Trade Impact AssessmentD. Unfunded Mandates AssessmentE. Paperwork Reduction ActF. International CompatibilityG. Environmental AnalysisV. Executive Order DeterminationsA. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563B. Executive Order 13132, FederalismC. Executive Order 13211, RegulationsThat Significantly Affect Energy Supply,Distribution, or UseVI. Additional InformationA. Comments InvitedB. Availability of Rulemaking DocumentsVII. The Proposed Amendment
I. Overview of Proposed Rule
The FAA Modernization and ReformAct of 2012 was enacted on February 14,2012. Section 307 of the Act,Prohibition on Personal Use of Electronic Devices on the Flight Deck,makes it ‘‘unlawful for a flightcrewmember of an aircraft used toprovide air transportation under part121 of title 14, Code of FederalRegulations, to use a personal wirelesscommunications device or laptopcomputer while at the flightcrewmember’s duty station on the flightdeck of such an aircraft while theaircraft is being operated.’’ Thelegislation also states that thisprohibition does not apply to the use of a personal wireless communicationsdevice or laptop computer for a purposedirectly related to operation of theaircraft, or for emergency, safety-related,or employment-relatedcommunications, in accordance withprocedures established by the air carrierand the FAA. The FAA is proposing toamend part 121 to conform to thislegislation. The FAA proposes to amend14 CFR 121.542 to add language toprohibit flightcrew members operatingunder part 121 from using a personalwireless communications device or alaptop computer for personal use whileat their duty station on the flight deckwhile the aircraft is being operated. Theamended regulatory language willclarify that the prohibition on use of apersonal wireless communicationsdevice or laptop computer does notapply to the use of a personal wirelesscommunications device or laptopcomputer for a purpose directly relatedto the operation of the aircraft, or foremergency, safety-related, oremployment-related communications,in accordance with proceduresestablished by the air carrier andapproved by the FAA.
II. Background
A. Related Rule
In 1981, the FAA published theElimination of Duties and Activities of Flightcrew Members Not Required forthe Safe Operation of Aircraft FinalRule.
This rule, better known as the‘‘Sterile Cockpit’’ rule, required aircarriers operating under parts 121 and135, as well as flightcrew members inthose operations, to ensure that theenvironment on the flight deck was freefrom potentially dangerous distractions.The final rule states that air carriersshall not require their flightcrewmembers to perform non-safety relatedduties during critical phases of flightand that flightcrew members shall notconduct non-safety related activitieswhich could cause distractions on theflight deck during critical phases of flight. In addition, the rule further statesthat the pilot-in-command shall notpermit any activity during a criticalphase of flight which would distractflightcrew members from theperformance of their duties which, ineffect, extends the sterile cockpitprovisions to other crewmembers, suchas flight attendants.The 1981 rule defines the criticalphases of flight as all ground operationsinvolving taxi, take-off and landing, andall other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet, except cruise flight.The personal use of personal wirelesscommunications devices and laptopcomputers for non-safety relatedactivities is prohibited by the broadrestrictions in the current ‘‘SterileCockpit’’ rule during ground operationsinvolving taxi, take-off and landing, andall other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet. The proposedrequirements in this NPRM wouldextend the prohibition on personal useof personal wireless communicationsdevices and laptop computers to allphases of flight.
B. Statement of the Problem
Several recent incidents involving a breakdown of sterile cockpit disciplinehave prompted Congress to address thisissue in the FAA Modernization andReform Act of 2012. In one instance,two pilots were using their personallaptop computers during cruise flightand lost situational awareness, leadingto a 150 mile fly-by of their destination.In another instance, a pilot sent a textmessage on her personal cell phoneduring the taxi phase of the flight, afterthe aircraft pushed back from the gateand before the take-off sequence. Theseincidents illustrate the potential forsuch devices to create a hazardousdistraction during critical phases of flight.This rule is intended to ensure thatcertain non-essential activities do notcontribute to the challenge of taskmanagement on the flight deck and donot contribute to a loss of situationalawareness due to attention to non-essential activities, as the previouslydiscussed incidents highlight.Situational awareness is an attention based phenomenon that reflects theflightcrew’s knowledge of where theaircraft is in regard to location, air trafficcontrol, weather, regulations, aircraftstatus, and other factors. A lack of situational awareness can affect a pilot’sability to perform effectively regardingaircraft handling, aircraft systems,aircraft mode awareness, environmentalhazards, standard operating procedures,and attention to required tasks. Whenloss of situational awareness occurs,there can be critical consequences, suchas missing information from one sourcewhen concentrating on another source,altitude or course deviations,dominance of visual cues to the extentthat pilots may not hear certain auralwarnings, misinterpreting ATCinstructions, or experiencing taskoverload.An individual can lose situationalawareness due to attentional tunnelingand attention to non-essential activities.Attentional tunneling is becomingabsorbed in a task to the exclusion of other visual and aural inputs, and isalso a factor in the breakdown of taskmanagement. This is operationally
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Federal Register
/Vol. 78, No. 10/Tuesday, January 15, 2013/Proposed Rules
Wickens, C.D., Alexander, A.L.
Attentional tunneling and task management in synthetic visiondisplays.
The International Journal of AviationPsychology, 19(3), 182–199 (2009).
Cherry, E.C.,
On human communication: Areview, a survey, and a criticism.
Cambridge:Technology Press, MIT; New York: John Wiley(1957).
See 76 FR 6088 (Feb. 3, 2011).
The NTSB closed recommendation A–10–30 asunacceptable on June 14, 2012. Summaries of theNTSB and FAA letters on A–10–30 can be foundat
47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(C)(i).
described as ‘‘the allocation of attentionto a particular channel of information,diagnostic hypothesis, or task goal, fora duration that is longer than optimal,given the expected cost of neglectingevents on other channels, failing toconsider other hypotheses, or failing toperform other tasks.’’
 The ‘‘party’’ situation, when a personat a loud crowded party usually listensto one conversation and can easilyignore all others, is a commonplaceexample of attentional tunneling.
Insome ways, attentional tunneling helpspeople handle a situation with a highnumber of visual and aural inputs.However, it can also block importantvisual and aural information. Becauseflightcrew members must attend tomany safety-related tasks during aircraftoperations and must manage those taskseffectively, attentional tunneling canintroduce risks into the system.Additionally, flightcrew memberscould lose situational awareness when apersonal electronic device used on theflight deck is inconsistent with the typecertified flight deck design philosophy.The inconsistency could providedistraction, confusion, and ultimatelycontribute to a loss of situationalawareness.
C. National Transportation Safety Board Recommendation
In its recommendations to the FAAregarding the Colgan accident in 2009,the NTSB concluded that because of thecontinuing number of accidentsinvolving a breakdown in sterile cockpitdiscipline, collaborative action by theFAA and the aviation industry topromptly address this issue waswarranted.Therefore, the NTSB recommended(A–10–30) that the FAA require all part121, 135, and 91K operators toincorporate explicit guidance to pilots,including checklist reminders asappropriate, prohibiting the use of personal portable electronic devices onthe flight deck.
 In response to NTSB recommendationA–10–30, the FAA issued Informationfor Operators (InFO) 10003, CockpitDistractions, on April 26, 2010. TheNTSB responded that this action did notfully address the recommendation because the InFO was advisory only.
 With this proposed rulemaking, theFAA will amend current regulations toprohibit the use of personal wirelesscommunications devices and laptopcomputers by flightcrew membersduring all aircraft operations to addressthis type of distraction on the flightdeck.
III. Discussion of the Proposal
A. Requirements
The proposed requirements wouldprohibit the personal use of a personalwireless communications device orlaptop computer while a flightcrewmember is at his or her duty stationduring all ground operations involvingtaxi, takeoff and landing, and all otherflight operations. The proposed ruledoes not prohibit the use of personalwireless communications devices orlaptop computers if the purpose isdirectly related to operation of theaircraft, or for emergency, safety-related,or employment-related communicationsand the use is in accordance with aircarrier procedures approved by theAdministrator.The FAA clarifies that ‘‘emergency’’communications are those related to thesafe operation of the aircraft and itsoccupants, not a flightcrew member’spersonal emergency. Additionally, theFAA clarifies that ‘‘employment-related’’ communications are not at thediscretion of the pilot but are part of FAA approved operational proceduresregarding the use of personal wirelesscommunications devices or laptopcomputers. For example, in thepreviously noted situation with pilotswho became distracted when using apersonal laptop while discussing the aircarrier’s flight scheduling software, theflight schedules may have been‘‘employment-related,’’ but the personaluse of laptop computers during thediscussion was not part of FAAapproved operational procedures andwould be prohibited by the proposedrule.
B. Current Air Carrier Programs
Several air carriers currently haveFAA approved programs or are in theprocess of developing programs for FAAapproval where laptop computers andpersonal wireless communicationsdevices, such as tablets, are used byflightcrew members for work relatedactivities during flight operations. Insome cases, air carriers own the laptopcomputers and/or personal wirelesscommunications devices used byflightcrew members. In other cases,flightcrew members own the laptopcomputer and/or personal wirelesscommunications devices.The FAA clarifies that the provisionsof the proposed rule do not require an‘‘ownership’’ test regarding the laptopcomputer or personal wirelesscommunications device. These devicescan be owned by the air carrier or theflightcrew member. The provisions of the proposed rule require a ‘‘use’’ test.These devices (regardless of who ownsthem) may not be used for personal use(e.g. personal communications, personalemails, leisure activities, etc) while theflightcrew member is at his or her dutystation while the aircraft is beingoperated.
C. Operational Timeframes for Prohibition
Section 307 of the Act states that it isunlawful to use a device for personaluse ‘‘while the aircraft is beingoperated’’. The meaning of an ‘‘aircraft being operated’’ as it pertains to someFAA regulations is very broad, toinclude being parked at the gate whilepassengers are boarding. The FAAclarifies that for the purposes of thisrule, the meaning of an ‘‘aircraft beingoperated’’ mirrors the definition of ‘‘flight time’’ in 14 CFR 1.1. Therefore,the prohibition on the personal use of laptop computers and personal wirelessdevices commences at taxi (movementof the aircraft under its own power) andends when the aircraft is parked at thegate at the end of the flight segment.
D. Personal Wireless CommunicationsDevice
Section 307 of the Act defines‘‘personal wireless communicationsdevice’’ as a device through whichpersonal wireless services (as defined inSection 332(c)(7)(C)(i) of theCommunications Act of 1934) aretransmitted.
The Communications Actof 1934 states that personal wirelessservices means commercial mobileservices, unlicensed wireless services,and common carrier wireless exchangeaccess service.In general, wirelesstelecommunications is the transfer of information between two or more pointsthat are not physically connected. In theproposed rule, the FAA retains the same broad category because a list of specificdevices would ignore the reality of evolving technology. This broadcategory of devices includes, but is notlimited to, devices such as cell phones,
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