FAA issues aircraft restrictions linked to 5G technology, warns of possible flight hijackings – KION546

By Brian Fung

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday announced a new rule prohibiting pilots from using automatic landing and certain other low-level flight systems where 5G wireless signals could interfere with on-board instruments that measure an aircraft’s distance to the aircraft. ground.

The rule, which affects more than 6,800 U.S. planes and dozens of aircraft manufacturers, could cause disruption to some flight routes involving low visibility conditions where pilots typically have to rely on equipment called radio altimeters to land safely. safety, the FAA said.

There is a potential risk, the FAA said, that 5G signals could lead to erroneous readings that could make flight dangerous under these conditions. On Tuesday, the agency released an almost identical rule that covers more than 1,800 US helicopters.

Calling the orders urgent, the FAA bypassed the typical public feedback process by issuing the restrictions.

“There is a dangerous situation which requires the immediate adoption of this [order] without offering the possibility of public comment before the adoption, ”the agency said. “The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving the advice and commentary prior to the adoption of this rule, because radio altimeter anomalies that are not detected by the aircraft’s automation or the pilot, especially close to the ground (eg, landing flare), could lead to loss of continued flight and safe landing.

The FAA plans to issue more specific orders in the future that will identify which airports will be affected by the restrictions, the agency said. The list of affected airports will be based on wireless industry data on airports that “have or will have” C-band antennas installed nearby.

The move comes as telecom operators plan to activate a range of 5G wireless services across the country on January 5. Operators have described 5G as a next-generation mobile data service that can support faster speeds and lower latency, enabling widespread adoption of more smart devices and network communications.

The waves that will be used by the 5G service launched in January cover part of the radio frequency spectrum known as the C-Band, which is adjacent to the waves used by radio altimeters to measure an aircraft’s altitude.

The wireless industry originally planned to activate 5G antennas in December, but agreed to postpone the deployment for a month amid complaints from the airline industry about possible interference.

CTIA, a leading wireless business group, said other countries are already safely using C-band waves for 5G and that “any delay in activating this spectrum jeopardizes the competitiveness of the America and compromises our ability to provide global leadership in 5G ”.

The FAA said it has made progress with the wireless industry and the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that the deployment of 5G and aviation will “safely coexist”, and continue to work with them. despite Tuesday’s restrictions.

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