Pilots unions and airline trade groups are united in their opposition to several bills on Capitol Hill that would bar most personal electronic devices from the cockpit. As pilots await more sophisticated avionics, they often find that personal computers and cell phones give them the most up-to-date information. "We would like to have access to tools, and as tools evolve, we would like to have better tools," says one pilot, who warns of "grotesque consequences" if hand-held technologies are banned. Meanwhile, the Air Transport Association says the bills before Congress "would be counterproductive to safety and efficiency."

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