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I describe an inexpensive and portable method used to conduct bit error rate test measurements in an aircraft at altitude to measure susceptibility of gigabit fiber optic transceivers to ionizing radiation. This method uses a built-in test feature of Texas Instruments GigaBit Ethernet transceiver chips. During a 20 min flight at 39 000 ft altitude, none of the eight test channels using Finisar FTRJ-8519-1 fiber optic transceivers indicated any bit errors. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.