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EXCLUSIVE: 5G Towers May Cause Havoc To Airline Emergency Procedures

As Australians get back into the air today for both domestic and International flights, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, have issued a watch-order to pilots over concerns that 5G towers could interfere with aircraft systems, in particular their emergency procedure equipment.

ChannelNews has viewed a safety bulletin released to pilots from CASA that outlines the risk.

The issue lies with the aircrafts’ Radar Altimeter (RA) systems, which operate within the ‘C-band’ of 4GHz to 8 GHZ of the radio frequency spectrum. This is “further segmented into an Aeronautical Radionavigation Service (ARNS) spectrum band of 4.2-4.4 GHz.”

This hasn’t been a problem to date, as Australian telecommunications companies use the 3.5 GHz frequency for 5G.

However, as the bulletin explains: “With the rapid expansion of mobile telecommunication networks, the frequency spectrum directly adjacent to and below the RA band has been identified as compatible with both existing and emerging 5G technology.

“Coupled with outdated minimum design, certification and protection criteria, many approved RA systems may be unable to filter or block unwanted transmitted frequencies from existing and proposed new 5G deployments.”

A white paper was developed to assess the new risk to RA system interaction with this emerging 5G technology, which concluded there was “a major risk of harmful interference to radar altimeters on all types of aircraft from 5G systems in the 3.7 to 3.98GHz band.”

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, who manage frequency assignment, has since proposed a re-allocation of frequencies within the 3.7-4.2 GHz band.

CASA notes in the bulletin it has “no confirmed reports of wireless broadband or telecommunication
systems interfering with aircraft RA systems.”

Despite the future risk, CASA explains that “already certified RA systems will not be retrofitted in the short term nor removed from service,” noting that the flight and communications industries are “currently looking at coexistence between radio frequency services, including interference management criteria.”

This isn’t just an Australian problem.

The Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. has warned its airlines that its automated emergency systems could also be hampered by these new 5G towers.

The new towers will go live next month, and could force flight cancellations in weather conditions where these systems may need to be used. Given the towers will roll out in 46 large metropolitan areas, this will cause a national crisis if not dealt with.

Officials at the Federal Communications Commission, which police commercial use of the airwaves in America, says it is committed to making sure flights are safe “while moving forward with the deployment of new technologies that support American business and consumer needs.”

The FAA is working “so that aviation and the newest generation of 5G cellular technology can safely coexist.”


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