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.