Be extra cautious while landing near 5G service airports, Boeing to airlines

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Be extra cautious while landing near 5G service airports, Boeing to airlines
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Boeing plane operators are being told to implement extra procedures whenever they land on wet or snowy runways near new 5G networks. It’s because the planes may need more space to land due to interference from wireless networks.

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Apparently, interference can interfere with systems such as thrust reversers on Boeing 787s, leaving only the brakes available to slow the plane down according to FAA.

As a result, an aircraft might not be able to stop on the runway, said the FAA. More orders are likely to follow in the coming days. Boeing and Airbus have received requests for information on many models by the FAA.

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Read also: International flight ops to soon begin from Agartala’s Maharaja Bir Bikram airport, check routes

Boeing said it is working with its suppliers, airlines, telecom companies and regulators “to ensure that every commercial airplane model can safely and confidently operate when 5G is implemented in the United States.

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As part of its new 5G wireless service, AT&T and Verizon will launch new, faster, wireless service at many airports on Wednesday, as the FAA had begun issuing restrictions on airlines and operators.

Whether these wireless networks will interfere with altimeters, which measure an aircraft’s height above the ground, is still being studied by the agency. Pilots use altimeters to guide landings when visibility is poor.

The devices operate on a portion of the radio spectrum that is close to the range used by the new 5G service, called C-Band.

This week’s FAA actions are part of a larger fight between the aviation regulator and the telecom industry. The telecom companies and the Federal Communications Commission say 5G networks do not pose a threat to aviation. The FAA says more study is needed.

A FAA test is being conducted to find out how many commercial planes might have altimeters that could be vulnerable to spectrum interference. The agency said this week it expects to estimate the percentage of those planes soon, but didn’t put a date on it.

Aircraft with untested altimeters or that need retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed,? the agency said in a statement.

The order regarding Boeing 787s covers 137 planes in the U.S. and 1,010 worldwide. The 787 is a two-aisle plane that is popular on longer routes, including many international flights.

The FAA said that based on information from Boeing, the 787s might not shift properly from flying to landing mode if there is interference, which could delay the activation of systems that help slow the plane.

AT&T and Verizon have twice agreed to postpone activating their new networks because of concerns raised by aviation groups and the FAA, most recently after the FAA and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg weighed in on the aviation industry’s side.

Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson warned that flights could be cancelled or diverted to avoid potential safety risks.

Under an agreement with the telecom companies, the FAA designated 50 airports that will have buffer zones in which the companies will turn off 5G transmitters or make other changes to limit potential interference through early July.

The 50 include the three major airports in the New York City area LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty O’Hare and Midway in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth International, Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Los Angeles International and San Francisco.

That concession by the telecoms was modelled after an approach used in France, although the FAA said last week that France requires more dramatic reductions in cell-tower reach around airports.

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