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

 

5G - Wikipedia 

 

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 lost due to the potential of a catastrophic accident. There have been past incidents where flight operations have been affected and safety compromised. The accident of a Turkish Boeing 737 in Netherlands was due to the radio altimeter anomaly. Though it was not the 5G then but the consequences could be similar. 

Airlines have been impacted on a number of occasions as cited by a release by IATA & IFALPA. 



In the midst of an electronic warfare where frequency jammers are common, this is a wakeup call for the industry to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment and come out with a strategy for mitigation. Not just aircraft but Drones could also be affected by the radio frequency interference, deliberate or not. GPS, which was the most reliable means of navigation is also affected in certain parts of the globe due to security issues.


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