Civil flights stuck in the 5G web, a difficult choice

      The recent USA regulatory circular on the affect of 5G network on flight operations has thrown the aircraft makers in a tizzy. The 5G network which has been rolled out in various parts of the world has subscribers drooling with the promise of blazing internet speeds which could download a movie in 5 seconds.  The 5G network affects the operations of the radio altimeter of the aircraft which could interfere with various systems like the automatic landing, Ground Proximity Warning Systems, Displays etc. The two big aircraft makers have approached the FAA to help mitigate the risk by delaying the launch of the 5G network in the USA. The question which arises is, what about the rest of the world where 5G has already been deployed and aircraft flying in and out daily? Well yes, the airline industry would loose billions as the flight operations would get impacted especially in poor visibility conditions. However, there doesn't seem to be any concern towards possible lives being los

Qatar Airways avoids potential traffic collision with a crossing aircraft over Iran


A Qatar Airways newly acquired Airbus A-350-1000 series aircraft had a close call over Iran on 12th April when it came into close proximity with another crossing aircraft. The airliner equipped with the state of art technology and traffic collision avoidance system was seen climbing by about 500ft while cruising at 34000ft on a flight from Doha, Qatar to Los Angles, USA.

          Flightradar24 plotted aircraft track

The automated TCAS detects an incoming aircraft and if it identifies the other aircraft on a potential collision trajectory, she arms the traffic collision avoidance system. When the intruder crosses a pre-set threshold , the system automatically initiates an avoidance maneuver to provide the minimum safe separation between two aircrafts.

Altitude increase/ Speed decay due to traffic avoidance

In this incident the Qatar Airways A350 registration 97-ANO dropped its speed by almost 35km/hr while cruising at 888km/hr. This drop in speed at an high altitude is not safe since the avoidance maneuver climb is not a rough one but is expected to be as smooth a climb as is carried out during a normal day to day flight as the engines are capable of developing sufficient thrust to maintain the speed.

The possible reasons could be a a sudden climb order "Climb" due to a malfunction in the intruder aircraft's altitude hold capability. In this event, the A350 aircraft's autopilot would increase the load maneuver capability by 0.3g and pull up the nose of the aircraft. The engines are expected to increase the thrust simultaneously to prevent a large speed decay and a potential stall. 

It needs to be investigated if the aircraft performed the evasive maneuver as per the design requirements or was there insufficient engine thrust to back the automatic maneuver. Human factors could also play a part in this event.


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