As part of a Monday statement, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) explained that officials have a proposal that is being worked on which would require both cargo and passenger aircraft in the United States to carry equipment that is 5G-safe by as soon as 2024.
The agency explained to Reuters that these aircraft carriers would need to set up 5G C-Band-tolerant radio altimeters or install approved filters by some point next year due to concerns from the aerospace industry and the FAA these C-Band 5G — which utilizes radio waves working in the range of 3.7 to 3.98 GHz — could end up causing issues with various flight safety technology such as radio altimeters that use a 4.2 to 4.4 GHz range.
Billy Nolen, the acting Administrator of the FAA, explained last year that the agency thinks it has finally found a path for both 5G C-band wireless and aviation to “safely co-exist.”
“[R]adio altimeters cannot be relied upon to perform their intended function if they experience interference from wireless broadband operations,” expressed the FAA, going on to add that it would require “limitations prohibiting certain operations requiring radio altimeter data when in the presence of 5G C-Band interference.”
Industry heads for aviation and 5G mobile carriers throughout the U.S. have been struggling to find a solution to the issue in frequency overlap for quite a while, which led to FAA officials banning signals in temporary buffer zones last year across a total of 50 different airports across the country.
Airline leaders issued a warning last year of a “catastrophic” aviation crisis on the horizon that could result in the grounding of close to all traffic due to the deployment of 5G.
A report was put out by Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) back in October 2020 which provided a clear indicator “that the risk will be widespread and has the potential for broad impacts to aviation operations in the United States, including the possibility of catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities, in the absence of appropriate mitigations.”
Reports issued earlier this year explained that 5G service could have caused interference with the height data from airplane altimeters and in the landing attempts being made in inclement weather, which disrupted quite a few U.S. airports.
Flight manuals for a number of airplanes could end up being issued revisions via a different proposal from the FAA which will put a ban on low-visibility landings after the 30th of June unless the crew of the aircraft has already ensured that the correct components have been retrofitted.
One trade group, Airlines for America, which represents American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and others, stated, as reported by Reuters, that “carriers are working diligently to ensure fleets are equipped with compliant radio altimeters, but global supply chains continue to lag behind current demand. Any government deadline must consider this reality.”