US FAA publishes notices detailing impact of 5G wireless service on aircraft electronics

Jan 13, 2022: According to a Reuters report, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will publish notices detailing the extent of the potential impact of new 5G wireless service on sensitive aircraft electronics.

FAA is in talks with aircraft manufacturers, airlines and wireless carriers to mitigate the effects of the new wireless service, starting in January. The FAA has warned that potential interference could affect sensitive aircraft equipment such as altimeters.

AT&T and Verizon Communications, which won nearly all of the C-Band spectrum in an $80-billion (roughly Rs. 5,91,370 crore) auction last year, on January 3 agreed to buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce the risk of interference. They also agreed to delaydeployment for two weeks, averting an aviation safety standoff.

The FAA said it will publish what are known as Notices to Air Missions at midnight Thursday offering details on “aircraft with untested altimeters or that need retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed.”

The notices will detail how the approach to equipment is affected at major airports. The FAA has decided that certain GPS guidance methods will continue to be available at specific airports, such as Miami and Phoenix. The FAA said Wednesday it expects to provide an update soon on the estimated percentage of commercial aircraft equipped with altimeters that can operate reliably and accurately in a 5G C-Band environment.

The FAA is still “working to determine which radar altimeters will be reliable and accurate with 5G C-Band deployed in the United States.”

On Friday, the FAA picked 50 US airports that will have buffer zones when wireless carriers turn on new 5G C-band service.

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