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Franken calls for ban on personal computers in cockpits

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken called Monday for a ban on the use of personal laptops in the cockpit, following the discovery that pilots who flew 150 miles past the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport last week were using the computers during the flight.

“We don’t tolerate texting while driving and we’re certainly not standing for it while flying,” Franken said in a statement. “It would be unthinkable to allow a driver to use a laptop. A pilot responsible for the lives of dozens if not hundreds of passengers needs to be that much more focused on the job.”

The pilots originally claimed that they were distracted while having a “heaed discussion of airline policy.”

The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary findings show, however, that the pilots were using personal laptops in the cockpit that may have obscured their view of the control panel and instruments.

The use of personal computers is currently prohibited by company policy, but there is no federal ban.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Timothy Pennell on 10/27/2009 - 10:14 am.

    Wow. What a gutsey call. What’s next? Is he gonna come out against CANCER? I have one for the little WEASEL. Where do you stand on ACORN? Hmmm? What about General McChrystals’ request fore MORE TROOPS? How does he feel about the FACT, that we’re the ONLY COUNTRY ON THE PLANET, that doesn’t take advantage of it’s OWN NATURAL RESOURCES? How does he feel about shutting down the COAL INDUSTRY? The BAKKA FIELDS? SHALE OIL and NATURAL GAS?
    He’s against personal computers in the cockpit?

  2. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 10/27/2009 - 10:32 am.

    Um, seriously, Timothy? Borderline-Strib-esque comment.

    But even as a Franken supporter, I’m kind of getting tired of stuff like this. Let the airlines make their rules in conjunction with the FAA, and keep Congress out of it.

  3. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 10/28/2009 - 09:20 am.

    I’m going to second Matt. I’ve been optimistic about him (though I would have preferred Nelson-Pallmeyer) and I’ve been content that he’s started out with some very uncontroversial but well-intentioned and arguably useful legislation. But this is getting silly. It’s such obvious pandering, it’s too spur-of-the-moment. When there is serious work to be done, wasting precious legislative time to try to prevent 1/100,000 airline flights from being an hour late is pointless. It’s time for Al to show is spine.

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