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John Mercure: Mercurey Rising

Just Fly the Plane

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The Federal Aviation Administration wants airline pilots to stow their cell phones and wireless devices while in the cockpit.

Huh?  Am I missing something?  Call me crazy, but don't they already do that?

Since 1981 the FAA has prohibited use while taxiing, taking off or landing. But that's it.  That's right, while you're cruising at 38,000 feet, your pilot could be cruising the internet.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my pilot on the phone at all during the flight.  Most states now forbid texting while driving a car, but pilots are allowed to do it while flying the plane you're seated in.

The proposal would extend the current prohibition of phones to the entire flight for the pilots. 

Shouldn't pilots be concentrating on things like the weather, air traffic control, the radar, and flying the plane?! I know they have auto pilot, but I still don't want them to be distracted.  You have a job, just focus on it.

Is this really an issue? Yes. In October 2009, two Northwest pilots flew 150 miles past Minneapolis where they were supposed to land. It turns out both pilots were using their personal laptops at the time.

Put away the laptops, Stow the phones. Just fly the plane.

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