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According to researchers at EMT Labs, tablets and e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle do not pose much of a threat at all

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned airplane passengers' use of mobile electronics like iPads and Kindles during takeoff and landing due to interference, but recent results from EMT Labs challenge this ban and further raise the question, "Why not?"

Earlier this month, it was discovered that the FAA decided to allow American Airlines pilots to use iPads instead of paper flight manuals in the cockpit. This raised a few eyebrows, since passengers are banned from using such electronic devices during takeoff and landing due to possible interference with sensitive airplane electronics.

Many wondered how the iPads would affect these important electronics when used so closely to such equipment, but the FAA justified the decision after conducting a test of the use of mobile electronics in the cockpit. It also said that having one iPad per pilot versus an iPad or Kindle for every passenger made a big difference in the level of interference.

However, The New York Times now disagrees with the FAA's reasoning after taking a trip to EMT Labs, which is an independent testing facility in California that screens the electrical emissions from different gadgets.

According to researchers at EMT Labs, tablets and e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle do not pose much of a threat at all. The FAA has specified that a plane is only approved as safe if it can withstand up to 100 volts per meter of electrical interference; EMT Labs says an Amazon e-reader emits under 30 microvolts per meter when in use, which is 0.00003 of a volt.

"The power coming off a Kindle is completely miniscule and can't do anything to interfere with a plane," said Jay Gandhi, chief executive of EMT Labs. "It's so low that it just isn't sending out any real interference."

In addition, the FAA is apparently wrong when it comes to the "two tablets versus many" theory. EMT Labs argued that electromagnetic energy doesn't add up as more e-readers are used on the plane; rather, the "noise" from such gadgets decreases as more are used.

The FAA does allow gadgets such as voice recorders to be used during takeoff and landing, but as it turns out, a Sony voice recorder emits more electrical interference than a Kindle.

According to Bill Ruck, CSI Telecommunications' lead engineer, the FAA only bans tablets and e-readers during takeoff and landing because of "agency inertia and paranoia."

While the EMT Labs tests didn't provide specific results concerning iPads instead of e-readers, which are the devices in question regarding use in the cockpit during takeoff and landing, this is a solid first step in finding out why the FAA is really banning these gadgets.

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Better safe than sorry
By MrBlastman on 12/27/2011 4:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
You don't understand the need to debate things do you? Everyone is always honest and correct and their is no need to discuss anything?

What the heck does my reply have to do at all with not understanding the need to debate things? Seriously, I love how you infer that from my post.

Here's a hint: Like it or not, my post was an opinion. As such, it implies that due to it being just that, it is subject to debate.

By the logic you put forth, they shouldn't be on the plane AT ALL. There's no reason a person can't go 2hrs without their electronics, right?

What logic was that? I didn't say anything that could have lead to your forming that thought. How do:

Those ten minutes at both ends of the flight do not mean the end of the world for them.


I'm perfectly aware of the data and testing that has been done on this issue. The thing is, until the FAA changes their policy

... promote a logical pathway that concludes that they shouldn't be on the plane at all.

I guess you need to read it again. Your comprehension is slacking here. I did state that I'm aware of the data from testing, right? You're aware of that data too, right? If you aren't, I'll summarize--the majority of testing to date on the issue indicates there is a very minimal risk, if any at all to the aircraft.

So, how on earth do you think I logically suggested we remove electronics from the full flight? I don't see it.

I did get a chuckle out of this, though when you said:

The idea that something is safer the higher you are in the air is absurd.

You're being sarcastic, right? I think you are, at least... I hope. There's a big difference from being 30,000 feet up in the air and 50 feet. It all revolves around the fundamental kinematics of flight and the simplicity between altitude equating to potential energy (a battery). When you have little altitude, you have little in the battery, thus, are far more at risk and less likely to correct from an error or a problem. For brevity's sake, I'll leave it at that and continue to assume you were being sarcastic. :)

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