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How 5G technology affects Flight Safety: ALPA weighs in

Looking forward to getting full 5G performance out of your cellphone? 5G technology sounds promising and exciting. However, there is a little known fact that this could affect flight safety. This is a detail so serious it could potentially cause an airplane crash!

The Aviation community versus 5G versus Flight Safety

The aviation community is greatly concerned about how 5G technology affects flying.

The world’s largest airline pilot union, ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association, International), is one of the leaders in coordinating a safe transition to 5G technology. ALPA is weighing heavily in on the issue, for the safety of its crews and passengers alike.

What is 5G?

5G is a 5th generation technology for data transfer, operating in the so-called “C-band” region of radio transmission.

Billions of devices will have faster download speeds, more capacity, more reliability, and more connectivity, enhancing our daily lives.

The functionality of our wireless devices, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality technology can all greatly benefit from 5G technology.

Advantages of 5G technology in airplanes

Airplane 5G technology will allow huge amounts of data to be transmitted at airports and around the gates. Overall, the technology would aid the airlines to perform pro-active maintenance procedures, improvements in turn-around times and on-time departures, and exchange timely transmissions of aircraft data analysis.

The bottom line: Airlines can operate more efficiently and customer experiences can be greatly improved.

5G can be adverse to Flight Safety

However, before 5G goes into full effect, there is an angle to the technology improvements that could put flight safety at risk.

For example, you can see how altitude callouts are automated by the radio altimeter in the video below. You can hear the radio altimeter callouts from 100 feet above the runway by the radio altimeter. This is an important pilot-aid contributing to a safe landing.

This is only one aspect of the many different airplane systems that could malfunction from 5G wireless system interference.

Automated Radio Altimeter callouts on landing, starting at 100 feet above ground level (AGL).

ALPA weighs in on the 5G flight safety issue

Eleven private sector aviation and aerospace organizations have requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider parts of its recent C-Band Order to protect aviation safety.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) was asked to revisit how protections are applied to adjacent band radio altimeter operations that are essential to safe air travel.

The petitioners consisted of ALPA, Airbus, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute, Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc., Garmin International, Inc., the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Helicopter Association International, Honeywell International Inc., the International Air Transport Association, and the National Air Transportation Association.

Joint press release

In a joint press release, Capt. Joe DePete, president of ALPA stated,

“ALPA supports the thoughtful and safe deployment of technology, but the planned implementation of a 5G mobile wireless system in this frequency band does not take into consideration existing users on nearby frequencies, including aviation. Deploying 5G near the radio altimeter frequency—used on commercial aircraft—without adequate testing and validation that the protections are adequate, could pose a serious threat to safe flight during critical operations such as landing during bad weather and fog. Additionally, the interference could render useless important safety equipment onboard aircraft such as the Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), which is required on all U.S. commercial aircraft and has led to zero passenger fatalities due to controlled flight into terrain for the past 15 years. ALPA urges the FCC to take an active role in ensuring a safe 5G deployment in this band.”

Did you know that 5G technology could affect Flight Safety? What do you feel about the work of ALPA, always enhancing flight safety? You can send your comments here.

Featured image: CaptainJetson.com. Video: Video: Captain Jimenez, Mexico, for Captainjetson.com.

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