Nick Bilton still really really wants to read his Kindle while his plane is landing

Like, really a lot. Someone get Bilton a magazine. Seriously. The New York Times columnist (and MTR guest a couple weeks back) has new information about whether it’s really all that necessary to turn off ALL electronic devices while the plane you’re on is landing. It’s an update to his earlier writing on the subject. Now he’s gone to EMT, an independent testing lab in California:

Gadgets are tested by monitoring the number of volts per meter coming off a device. The F.A.A. requires that before a plane can be approved as safe, it must be able to withstand up to 100 volts per meter of electrical interference.

When EMT Labs put an Amazon Kindle through a number of tests, the company consistently found that this e-reader emitted less than 30 microvolts per meter when in use. That’s only 0.00003 of a volt.

Bilton says that while different authorities like Boeing and the FAA have given him conflicting reasons for the ban, they agree that it has nothing to do with the device getting jarred loose and bonking the owner or another passenger in the head or with distracting the passenger from being aware of his or her surroundings in an emergency.

Voice recorders are permitted at all times of a flight and Bilton says the one he tested gave off the same amount of energy as a Kindle.


About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation