Airline Industry Concerned About Potential Interference at 4 GHz
Thursday, January 03, 2019 | Comments

Representatives from the aviation industry briefed the FCC on the aviation industries’ concerns regarding harmful interference from potential new 5G applications in the 3.7 –4.2 GHz spectrum band to aviation systems operating in the adjacent 4.2 – 4.4 GHz band. The radio altimeter and wireless avionics intra-communications (WAIC) systems operate in the adjacent 4.2 – 4.4 GHz band, and the uncompromised operation of both systems is essential to safety of flight, said aviation experts.

The radio altimeter is a critical avionics system that facilitates the controlled landing of aircraft and accuracy of the terrain avoidance system. It is installed on all commercial and business aviation operations, as well as the majority of helicopter operations, and is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The WAIC system is used on newer aircraft to increase the safety and efficiency of their operations by replacing portions of aircraft wiring by using onboard short-range wireless systems. To protect such operations, the group stressed it is vital that a full assessment is conducted of the effects of proposed 5G systems operating in the adjacent band before a new mobile allocation is made.

The group also noted that industry representatives are conducting a joint test of the potential impact of 5G signals to radio altimeter operations. Once the testing is complete the data could be used to inform the considerations that the commission must undertake to ensure that these essential operations are not compromised.

Representatives at the meeting were from the Aerospace Industries Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Aviation Spectrum Resources, Lockheed Martin, Airline Pilots Association International, Helicopter Association International, Garmin International, Collins Aerospace and International Air Transport Association. The full filing is here.

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