FAA: Pilots cannot live Tweet your flight. Or use their phones for personal reasons.

FAA Final Rule

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said airline pilots may not use Personal Electronic Devices — iphones, iPads and the like — during all phases of operations. The rule takes effect in 60 days, according to the FAA.

“This rule will ensure that certain non-essential activities do not contribute to the challenge of task management on the flight deck and do not contribute to a loss of situational awareness due to attention to non-essential activities.”

The rules give examples of a couple of cases in which the use of personal devices caused problems in flight.

“In one instance, two pilots were using their personal laptop computers during cruise flight and lost situational awareness, leading to a 150 mile fly-by of their destination,” the rule states. “In another instance, a pilot sent a text message on her personal cell phone during the taxi phase of the flight after the aircraft pushed back from the gate and before the take-off sequence.”

In a post last week, I credited a few pilots who use their phones to give Twitter followers a glimpse at what happens in the flight deck. They include Brad Tate, a major airline first officer who takes some great shots, using, I think, his phone. This is one of them:

My guess is we’ll see a lot fewer pictures like that in future, though I suppose it could still be within the rules for a pilot to snap a few photos and upload them post flight. What’s certainly true is we won’t see any live tweeting from the flight deck.

Here’s the main point of the new rule, in FAA legal lingo:

During all flight time as defined in 14 CFR 1.1, no flight crewmember may use, nor may any pilot in command permit the use of, a personal wireless communications device (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 44732(d)) or laptop computer while at a flight crewmember duty station unless the purpose is directly related to operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications, in accordance with air carrier procedures approved by the Administrator.

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