Federal safety officials are instructing operators of some Boeing aircraft to adopt additional procedures when landing on wet or icy runways near impending 5G service, as they say wireless network interference could mean planes land Requires more space.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that interference could prevent systems such as the thrust reversers on the Boeing 787 from kicking in, leaving only the brakes to slow the plane.
“Can prevent an aircraft from stalling on the runway,” the FAA said.
The order for Boeing jets comes a day after the FAA issued restrictions that airlines and other aircraft operators will face at many airports when AT&T and Verizon launch new, faster 5G wireless service next Wednesday.
The agency is still studying whether they will interfere with wireless network altimeters, which measure an aircraft’s altitude above the ground. Data from the altimeter is used to help pilots land when visibility is low.
These devices operate on the part 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 bigger battle between the aviation regulator and the telecommunications industry. Telecom companies and the Federal Communications Commission say that there is no threat to aviation from 5G networks. The FAA says more study is needed.
The FAA is testing how many commercial aircraft have altimeters that can be vulnerable to spectrum interference. The agency said this week it expects to estimate the percentage of those planes soon, but did not put a date on that.
“Aircraft with no test altimeter or that requires retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed,” the agency said in a statement.
In relation to the Boeing 787, the order includes 137 aircraft in the US and 1,010 aircraft worldwide. The 787 is a two-aisle aircraft that is popular on long routes, including many international flights.
The FAA said that based on information from Boeing, 787 aircraft may not properly transfer from flight to landing mode if an interference occurs, which could delay the activation of systems that help slow down the aircraft.
AT&T and Verizon have twice agreed to postpone activating their new networks because of concerns raised by aviation groups and the FAA, with the FAA and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently weighing in in favor of the aviation industry. did. Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Stephen Dixon warned that flights could be canceled or diverted to avoid potential security risks.
Under an agreement with telecommunications companies, the FAA has designated 50 airports that will be buffer zones in which companies will turn off 5G transmitters or make other changes in early July to limit potential interference.
50 includes three major airports in the New York City area – LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty – O’Hare and Midway in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth International, Busch Intercontinental in Houston, Los Angeles International and San Francisco.
That concession by Telecom was modeled after an approach used in France, though the FAA said last week that France needs more dramatic cuts in cell-tower access around airports.
David Koenig can be reached at www.twitter.com/airlinewriter