After I took a video of the bird strike on Delta 1063, I received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration because I admitted on a national TV broadcast that I had used a portable electronic device on an airplane departing John F. Kennedy airport in New York.
My admission that I had capture this video on a portable electronic device earned me a slap on the wrist and an empty threat. In lieu of legal enforcement action, thee FAA sent me a letter which would be made a matter of public record for two years.
Allow me to be clear: The FAA's claim that portable electronic devices interfere with the aircraft's navigation and communication equipment is about as valid as all the reports that I would be given a full body cavity search on my next flight by the TSA. I am not sure what list the FAA has put me on, but, on a recent trip to San Francisco and Portland this week, nothing occurred to substantiate the agency's "Big Brother" approach to policing the unfriendly skies.
Let's face it, the FAA is toothless. They claim to have conducted a full investigation but never once did they call or contact me to discuss the incident or fully ascertain the facts. They had no clue whether the device was in airplane mode or had any other details that might have been pertinent to their inspection of the incident. If the FAA, TSA and the rest of government actually has information about how devices affect flights, then they have the responsibility to share this with the public and not just threaten Americans.
Transparency is needed for the American public -- not a state of ignorance and fear. Show us where there is actual reason for concern. They claim in the letter, "Your failure to comply with flight attendant instructions during a critical phase of flight and an aircraft emergency could have affected the safe outcome of the flight." The government agencies that regulate portable electronic devices in the skies need to provide factual evidence because on any given day 29 million aircrafts take flight carrying approximately 450 million people. There is no way that all of these people have their electronic devices turned off. Some may think they are but are in actuality just in sleep mode while many other passenger are texting or even play games with friends.
If any of this is even remotely a possibility, the FAA has an obligation to immediately:1) Ban all portable electronic devices from aircraft or 2) Collect all of them at check-in and return them to passengers upon arrival of the flight at its final destination. I am a red-blooded American that loves this country, but every day I am faced with a threat to my individual liberty through increased regulation, the threat of additional state taxes and a government that has taken on the role of "Big Brother." I respect the FAA for the tough job that it has overseeing civil aviation and when it plays the vital role of operating a complex system of air traffic control and navigation which was not affected by my footage on Delta 1063.
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