U.S. aviation regulators have warned airlines and other aviation agencies that the new 5G mobile phone service frequency band may interfere with critical safety equipment on aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a “Special Airworthiness Advisory” on Tuesday, warning that “action may be required to address potential interference with sensitive aircraft electronic equipment.”
This 5G frequency band is adjacent to the radio signal used by radar altimeters that measure the distance between aircraft and the ground.
Although the FAA stated that it is working with other agencies to enable the new technology to coexist safely with the aviation industry, the security alert puts the FAA and the Federal Communications Administration in a state of antagonism and shows that the frustration of the aviation industry is increasing.
Aircraft and helicopters use radar altimeters to perform a number of critical safety functions, including landing in low visibility, collision avoidance warnings, and systems that warn pilots when the aircraft is inadvertently too low. Some commercial helicopters cannot be operated without a radar altimeter.
The FAA announcement stated that pilots should remind passengers to put 5G equipment in flight mode or turn off during the flight, and notify the agency if there are any signs of interference.
The new 5G spectrum will be put into operation on December 5. The Federal Communications Commission granted wireless network providers the right to access the radio frequency band in a bid in February.
The Federal Communications Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The agency once stated that this 5G frequency band is not a frequency used by radar altimeters, and if the aviation equipment is properly designed, it should not cause interference.