HAI President and CEO James Viola to Address Congressional Subcommittee
Alexandria, VA. (February 3, 2022) – James Viola, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International (HAI), will testify before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aviation on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Viola will appear as part of a panel of aviation experts and will address how 5G interference with aircraft radio altimeters affects the safety of helicopter operations.
The subcommittee hearing will begin at 11 am eastern time. Those interested in watching the hearing can view it on the subcommittee’s webpage or on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s YouTube Channel.
“On behalf of the helicopter industry, we appreciate the decision by the House Subcommittee on Aviation to convene a hearing on 5G deployment and its effects on aviation safety,” says Viola. “We acknowledge and are encouraged by the recent progress the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made in providing relief from 5G-related restrictions to aircraft used by the airlines and cargo carriers, but the unique challenges of the helicopter industry must be addressed and prioritized moving forward.”
In his testimony submitted to the subcommittee, Viola says that “helicopter operations, which take place at much lower altitudes than airline flights, could very well conduct their entire flight within the zones of [5G] interference.” He goes on to note that the FAA has prohibited helicopter takeoffs, landings, and other critical procedures with radio altimeter requirements in areas affected by 5G interference, limiting the helicopter industry’s ability to provide public services, “especially when you consider that limitation applies to nearly 2,000 US locations.”
“Our operators face a great deal of uncertainty in the current operating environment and have strong concerns about the implications of additional towers being activated and temporary protections expiring in July,” says Viola. “It is imperative that we identify for helicopter operations immediate- and long-term solutions that maintain safety and minimize disruptions.”