Transportation agency, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has early Thursday began the publishing of notices that enumerated the extent of potential impact of new 5G wireless service on sensitive aircraft electronics.
The FAA, the largest transportation agency of the United States government has been involved in discussions with airplane makers, airlines and wireless carriers to find out ways to reduce the impact of new wireless service set to begin on Jan. 19.
The agency has warned that a potential interference has the ability to affect sensitive airplane instruments like altimeters but had yesterday reported progress on its findings.
Two Telecom operators, AT&T and Verizon, who had both won most of the C-Band spectrum in an $80-billion auction last year, agreed on January 3 to buffer zones around 50 airports in a bid to reduce the risk of interference. The two companies also agreed to delay deployment for two weeks, in the process averting an aviation safety standoff.
The FAA at on Thursday midnight local time began publishing what it termed ‘Notices to Air Missions’, bringing to the fore details on “aircraft with untested altimeters or that need retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed.”
As at 01:00 ET, over 300 notices has been posted, some of them including many around major airports and hospitals where medical helicopters are used, but the FAA fell short of revealing how many in total were to be published, when asked.
A lot of the notices stated that certain procedures are unavailable unless the FAA approves alternative methods of compliance “due to 5G C-Band interference.”
Additional transmitter location data was provided by the wireless industry with the FAA saying it was able to determine that in the initial 5G deployment, aircraft will be able to safely land in low-visibility conditions on some runways without restrictions.
Details of how instrument approaches at major airports are impacted were part of the notices. The agency affirmed that some GPS-guided approaches will continue to be possible at certain airports like Miami and Phoenix.
The FAA on Wednesday revealed that it “expects to provide updates soon about the estimated percentage of commercial aircraft equipped with altimeters that can operate reliably and accurately in the 5G C-Band environment.”
The agency is still “working to determine which radar altimeters will be reliable and accurate with 5G C-Band deployed in the United States.”
50 U.S. airports that will have buffer zones when wireless carriers turn on new 5G C-band service were on Friday picked by the FAA.