FAA clears 62% of US planes for “low visibility landings” amid 5G rollout

A Boeing 777 flying above the clouds.

The Federal Aviation Administration today saying It has cleared 62 percent of US commercial aircraft for low-visibility landings at airports where AT&T and Verizon are rolling out 5G in C-band spectrum this week.

Several international airlines previously canceled some flights to the US after Boeing issued a recommendation not to fly the 777 to airports where operators are rolling out 5G in C-band. However, 777 planes, or at least those that have altimeters capable of filtering C-band transmissions, were on the new FAA-authorized aircraft list. The FAA has been granting Alternate Means of Compliance (AMOC) to operators with altimeters that are safe to use.

“Aircraft models with one of the five approved altimeters include some Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, MD-10/-11 and Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380,” the FAA said in a statement issued shortly after 2 p.m. EST today. These planes are now cleared “to make low-visibility landings at airports where wireless carriers have deployed 5G C-band,” the FAA said. The word “some” indicates that not all aircraft with the listed model numbers have an approved altimeter.

The 62 percent figure is an improvement from Sunday, when the FAA said it had “cleared approximately 45 percent of the US commercial fleet for low-visibility landings at many of the airports where it will be deployed.” C-band 5G on January 19″. .” That first round of approvals included some Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767 and MD-10/-11 models, as well as Airbus A310, A319, A320, A321, A330 and A350 models.

Canceled flights

Airlines that canceled some flights to the US include Emirates, All Nippon Airways, Air India and British Airways, Associated Press reported today. Some airlines switched to different planes on flights that were originally scheduled to use the Boeing 777.

“But Air France said it planned to continue flying its 777s to US airports. He did not explain why he did not change his plane as many other airlines have done,” AP wrote.

Major US airlines sent a letter to united states government officials on Monday it warned of a “catastrophic disruption” to air travel and called for a ban on C-band deployment within two miles of airport runways. AT&T and Verizon later agreed to additional limits around airports.

boeing warning

AT&T and Verizon are rolling out 5G on C-band frequencies between 3.7 GHz and 3.8 GHz this year. Operators spent a combined $69 billion on licenses to use spectrum between 3.7 GHz and 3.98 GHz, and plan to use the upper portion of those frequencies in the coming years.

Radio altimeters used to determine aircraft altitudes are based on 4.2 GHz to 4.4 GHz spectrum. and airlines say some altimeters may not be able to filter out 5G transmissions.

“Boeing sent a so-called multi-carrier message to carriers flying 777s and 747-8s Monday night and ‘recommends carriers not to operate 777 aircraft on approach and landing on US runways.’ with C-band 5G advisories beginning January 19 unless an alternate means of compliance with FAA directives exists,” according to a yesterday’s report by La Corriente de Aire.

Boeing declined to comment when contacted by Ars today. The FAA referred us to their new statement confirming that 62 percent of the planes have been authorized.

On January 4, the FAA agreed not to seek further 5G delays from AT&T and Verizon, barring “any unforeseen aviation safety issues.”

“During the two-week delay in the rollout of the new 5G service, security experts determined that 5G interference with the aircraft’s radio altimeter could prevent the engine and braking systems from transitioning into landing mode, which that could prevent an aircraft from stalling on the runway,” the FAA said. said on January 14. The Jan. 14 statement also said the FAA “will require Boeing 787 operators to take additional precautions when landing on wet or snowy runways at airports where 5G C-band service is implemented.” The 787 was not on today’s updated list of aircraft that are cleared “to make low-visibility landings at airports where 5G C-band has been deployed by wireless carriers.”

All recent FAA statements on 5G and altimeters are available at this page.


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