Friday, 30 December 2011

Can electronic devices really make planes drop out of the air?

In a series of articles in the New York Times, Nick Bilton has been trying to find the answers to why we must turn off our electronic devices when a plane is taking off or landing. Article One; Article Two

FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration)
  • In 2006 commissioned a report that rejected using consumer electronics during takeoff and landing
  • “There was no evidence saying these devices can’t interfere with a plane, and there was no evidence saying that they can.”  - quote from the findings
Nick went off and had an independent company: EMT Labs do some testing. According to aircraft guidelines - Aircraft need to be able to withstand 100 volts per metre before they are certified as safe.

EMT results:
  • Kindle - throws off so little voltage per metre (0.00003 volts) it's no threat
  • 100 Kindles does not throw off 100 x 0.00003 volts - you can't add them together
“The only reason these rules exist from the F.A.A. is because of agency inertia and paranoia.”
Bill Ruck, principal engineer at CSI Telecommunications

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