Federal Aviation Administration issues special bulletin on interference of 5G with aircraft avionics

In a statement the Federal Aviation Administration said, it had issued a special information bulletin alerting operators, manufacturers, and pilots that action may be required to address potential interference issues from the usage of 5G telecommunications technology from sensitive aircraft electronics.

With 5G wireless networks scheduled to start from December 5, the FAA has continued its discussion with the Federal Communications Commission on aspects of air safety over a plan to use some additional spectrum for 5G wireless networks.

In a statement the FAA said, operators “should be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology could cause certain safety equipment to malfunction, requiring them to take mitigating action that could affect flight operations.”

The statement also mentioned, “there have not yet been proven reports of harmful interference due to wireless broadband operations internationally.”

The FAA also recommends pilots to remind passengers that all portable electronic devices equipped with 5G be should be turned off or switched to airplane mode during flight.

The FAA has warned of the potential of the “degradation to the capabilities of safety systems and other equipment that depend on radio altimeters, particularly during low-altitude operations.”

It also asked equipment manufacturers to continue the testing of their equipment to determine the susceptibility of specific radio altimeters to 5G interference and said they should explore design changes to mitigate the effects of interference.

The development comes in the wake of the aviation industry voicing alarm about the plan to use C-Band spectrum for more than a year.

Network carriers are expected to begin using the spectrum from December 5 in 46 markets.

Earlier in August, following a meeting with the FCC, the aerospace and airline sector warned, unless there are changes “major disruptions to use of the National Airspace System can be expected from the rollout of 5G”; it also said, the FAA will be forced to “drastically reduce aviation operational capacity.”

Earlier last week, wireless trade group CTIA stated, 5G networks can safely use C-band spectrum “without causing harmful interference to aviation equipment,” and cited “numerous active 5G networks using this spectrum band in 40 countries.”



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