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FAA issues warning to passenger who filmed bird strike

6:41 AM, May 3, 2012   |    comments
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Washington (CNN) -- A Delta Air Lines passenger who admitted using an electronic device last month to videotape a bird strike minutes after takeoff has been warned by the Federal Aviation Administration to follow the rules or face a penalty the next time.

The plane bound for Los Angeles made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on April 19 after encountering an engine problem the pilot said was caused by a bird strike, an incident caught on camera by Grant Cardone.

The FAA investigated and sent Cardone a letter after the story received widespread media attention. The video shows a flock of birds hitting the right engine, causing it to shut down.

"We have given consideration to all of the facts. In lieu of legal enforcement action (a civil penalty), we are issuing this letter which will be made a matter of record for a period of two years, after which, the record will be expunged," James Giles, FAA supervisory principal operations inspector, wrote in a letter to Cardone.

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The FAA requires that portable electronic devices be turned off during critical phases of flight. Officials say the rule is meant to prevent interference with the aircraft's navigation and communication systems.

"Let me just say, I don't think I'm above the law or anybody should be," Cardone told CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Wednesday.

Cardone says he's flown thousands of flights and millions of miles.

"To think that a device, a telephone or this iPad can take down a plane is ridiculous, because figure 90% of all people in America now have an iPhone on them," Cardone said. "Nineteen percent of all people have a tablet of some sort. If only 10% of passengers on that plane had their device in the on position, thousands of planes would fall out of the sky every day."

The FAA points out that Delta follows regulations when flight attendants say, "for safety reasons, mobile phones and other electronic devices must be turned off and stowed until you are notified by your crew." The FAA told Cardone, "Your failure to comply during a critical phase of flight and an aircraft emergency could have affected the safe outcome of the flight."

The plane made a safe landing, and there were no injuries.

"If truly these devices, phones, iPads are that dangerous, the FAA has a responsibility to ban them from planes, Cardone said."If these electronics are dangerous to the American public, ban them from the planes today."

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