5G Impacts on Aviation

NATA has led the charge for aviation businesses as part of a strong coalition of aviation organizations to inform the agencies about the safety risks to aviation from radio interference with radar altimeters from the deployment of 5G networks in the 3.7-3.98 GHz frequency band (5G C-Band). Follow NATA here and on our Twitter, and LinkedIn channels for updates on this issue. NATA will continue to monitor the situation, support further research and efforts that help ensure the safety of our airspace system, and notify our members of developments. Please contact NATA’s regulatory team if you have any questions or concerns.

FAA 5G Update (2/22)

The FAA deployed a 5G dashboard that provides live data on the 87 airports with low-visibility landings located in 5G deployment areas, including a map showing the percentage of the U.S. commercial fleet and aircraft type that can land at these airports. In addition to this new resource, the FAA urges continued use of NOTAMs as the official source of information about the NAS.

FAA Statement on 5G (1/28/22)

Through continued technical collaboration, the FAA, Verizon, and AT&T have agreed on steps that will enable more aircraft to safely use key airports while also enabling more towers to deploy 5G service. The FAA appreciates the strong communication and collaborative approach with wireless companies, which have provided more precise data about the exact location of wireless transmitters and supported more thorough analysis of how 5G C-band signals interact with sensitive aircraft instruments. The FAA used this data to determine that it is possible to safely and more precisely map the size and shape of the areas around airports where 5G signals are mitigated, shrinking the areas where wireless operators are deferring their antenna activations. This will enable the wireless providers to safely turn on more towers as they deploy new 5G service in major markets across the United States. The FAA continues to work with helicopter operators and others in the aviation community to ensure they can safely operate in areas of current and planned 5G deployment.

Delay of 5G Services Around Certain Airports Announced (1/18/22)

Verizon and AT&T said that they would temporarily delay the rollout of new 5G cellular service near some airports. Following the announcement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg issued this statement: "We recognize the economic importance of expanding 5G, and we appreciate the wireless companies working with us to protect the flying public and the country’s supply chain. The complex U.S. airspace leads the world in safety because of our high standards for aviation, and we will maintain this commitment as wireless companies deploy 5G."

FAA Issues NOTAMS (1/13/22)

The FAA is working with avionics manufacturers and wireless companies to determine which altimeters are reliable and accurate with 5G deployed in the United States. The FAA expects to provide updates soon about ongoing altimeter testing and an estimated percentage of commercial aircraft with altimeters proven safe. With that work underway, the agency issued Notices to Air Missions (NOTAMs). These will alert you, your flight crews and dispatchers to limitations that may be placed on low-visibility landings requiring the use of a radio altimeter where 5G is deployed starting Jan. 19, 2022. You are encouraged to check the latest 5G NOTAMs for airports and heliports that you will use for your missions. In addition, the FAA provided a guide that explains the different types of NOTAMs and what those limitations mean for operators at various airports. NATA, as part of a broad industry coalition, has worked to study and inform the agencies of the safety risks to aviation from radio interference with radar altimeters from the deployment of 5G networks in the 3.7-3.98 GHz frequency band (5G C-Band)..  

5G Services Launch Delayed by 2 Weeks (1/3/2022)

The FAA released a statement documenting the voluntary agreement by AT&T and Verizon to delay initial 5G deployment by two weeks and to subsequently adopt some additional mitigations. With the new agreement, the launch of C-Band commercial services will not begin prior to Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

NATA released the following statement on the two-week delay of 5G services launch:

“NATA is encouraged that the telecom companies recognize the potential effect of 5G services on the nation’s aviation infrastructure. Even this brief amount of additional time will allow stakeholders to better characterize and mitigate the impact. Recognizing the relief is temporary, discussions swiftly continue as work remains to determine a path forward,” stated NATA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs John McGraw.

FAA SAFO and SAIB (12/23/21)

Federal Aviation Administration issued a SAFO and SAIB: AIR-21-18R1 providing guidance on potential adverse effects of 5G C-Band signals on radio altimeters & the role of NOTAMs in identifying areas where certain ops requiring a radio altimeter are prohibited by ADs 2021-23-12 and 2021-23-13.

FAA Issues ADs ahead of 5G Rollout (12/7/2021)

With phased wireless broadband implementation planned for 46 markets in early 2022, the FAA issued a statement and two airworthiness directives (AD 2021-23-12 and AD 2021-23-13) aiming to “provide a framework and to gather more information to avoid potential effects on aviation safety equipment.”

AD 2021-23-12 requires revising the limitations section of existing airplane/aircraft flight manuals to incorporate provisions for prohibiting some instrument flight procedures and other operations that rely on radio (radar) altimeter data to address unsafe conditions when in the presence of 5G C-Band interference, which will be identified in NOTAMS published by January 5. AD 2021-23-13 is similar, but specific to all helicopters equipped with a radio altimeter.