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In the United States, 5G services are planned for launch tomorrow, January 19, using frequencies in a radio spectrum called the C-band. These frequencies can be close to those used by radar altimeters, an important piece of safety equipment in aircraft. To make sure that this does not lead to hazardous interference, the FAA requires that radar altimeters are accurate and reliable.
The FAA announced that it has been working on measures to ensure that radio signals from newly activated wireless telecommunications systems can coexist safely with flight operations in the United States, with input from the aviation sector and telecommunications industry, according to faa.gov.
The airports affected include many of the largest and busiest commercial service airports in the United States, according to ACI-NA, the trade association representing commercial service airports in the US and Canada.
“Because the proposed 5G deployment involves a new combination of power levels, frequencies, proximity to flight operations, and other factors, the FAA will need to impose restrictions on flight operations using certain types of radar altimeter equipment close to antennas in 5G networks.”
“These safety restrictions could affect flight schedules and operations, affecting the aviation system.”
“Approved radio altimeters will allow commercial aircraft to continue low-visibility landings in the 5G C-Band deployment areas,” contuinues the FAA. “The agency has made progress during the last two weeks to safely reduce the risk of delays and cancellations as altimeter manufacturers evaluate data from the wireless companies to determine how robust each model is. This work has shown some altimeters are reliable and accurate in the 5G areas; others must be retrofitted or replaced.”