5G rollout: FAA allows 78% of US commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landing

By Livemint

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has allowed an estimated 78% of the country’s commercial fleet to make low-visibility landings at airports where telecom companies have deployed 5G C-band wireless.

“Airplane models with one of the 13 cleared altimeters include all Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, MD-10/-11; all Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 models; and some Embraer 170 and 190 regional jets,” the US civil aviation regulator said in a statement on Friday.

“We anticipate some altimeters will be too susceptible to 5G interference. To preserve safety, aircraft with those altimeters will be prohibited from performing low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed because the altimeter could provide inaccurate information,” it added.

The FAA had earlier warned that the roll-out of 5G wireless could interfere with cockpit instruments such as altimeters as the C Band (3.7GHz- 3.98Ghz) for 5G services and the altimeters (4.2-4.4 GHz) operate at the same frequency. The regulator’s move primarily affected operations of Boeing Co. 777 and 747 jetliners, while the FAA asked Boeing 787 operators to take “additional precautions” while landing on wet runways.

Altimeters are key for landing aircraft safely during bad weather conditions when visual approach is difficult to obtain. Thus, the roll-out of 5G in the US from Wednesday disrupted several flights to the US, including those of national carrier Air India.

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