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FAA Submits ADs Regarding 5G Impact on Radar Altimeters

December 9, 2021 – On Tuesday, the FAA submitted two airworthiness directives (ADs) to the Office of the Federal Register for publication. The ADs will be effective upon publication and will require flight manual limitations that prohibit operations requiring radar altimeter data at locations that will be identified in NOTAMs to be issued in early 2022. One AD applies to transport and commuter category airplanes and one applies to helicopters.

While this does not have a direct legal impact on many EAA members, many GA aircraft do fly with radar altimeters and systems dependent upon that telemetry. Those aircraft will be affected by these limitations to safety equipment.

EAA is part of an aviation coalition that continues to press the Federal Communications Commission and telecommunications industry to mitigate the impact of 5G rollout on aviation safety and operations. These ADs will likely result in significant disruption of commercial passenger and cargo carrying operations as well as public safety and commercial helicopter operations.

The coalition, led by the Aerospace Industries Association, released a statement on Wednesday, December 8, related to the 5G deployment. The statement notes that industry stakeholders have offered a counter-proposal to the FCC that “builds on the telecom proposal and provides additional safeguards in, around, and on the approach to airports and heliports. The aviation stakeholders’ proposal aims to minimize the impact on both telecom operations and our national aviation system.”

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