Nick Bilton at the New York Times has been writing skeptically for years about the FAA's ban on even the most benign electronic devices during takeoff and landing on commercial passenger flights. He writes in the NYT's Bits column about the gradual transformation that may (real soon now) result in slightly more sensible rules
; a committee established to review some of those in-flight rules has recommended the FAA ease up, at least on devices with no plausible negative effect on navigation. From the article: "The New York Times employed EMT Labs, an independent testing facility in Mountain View, Calif., to see if a Kindle actually gave off enough electromagnetic emissions to affect a plane. The findings: An Amazon Kindle emitted less than 30 microvolts per meter when in use. That is only 0.00003 of a volt. A Boeing 747 must withstand 200 volts per square meter. That is millions of Kindles packed into each square meter of the plane. Still, the F.A.A. said “No.” ... But then something started to change: society."
Of course, the rules that committees recommend
aren't always the ones that prevail on the ground or in the sky.