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White House meeting with HAI, other aviation industry associations preceded postponement decision by wireless carriers.

As many of you are aware, this week of Nov. 1 started with the FAA’s release of a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB AIR-21-18) warning radar (radio) altimeter and aircraft manufacturers, operators, and pilots of the risk of potential adverse effects on radar altimeters resulting from the deployment of 5G wireless systems on Dec. 5, 2021.

As the week comes to an end, however, I am pleased to report some very encouraging progress: the wireless industry has agreed to delay its planned Dec. 5 deployment by one month!

On Wednesday, Nov. 3, representatives from HAI, the Aerospace Industries Association, and the Air Line Pilots Association, International briefed officials at the White House and the National Economic Council on the 5G issue. Dozens of aviation industry representatives participated in the meeting to express our collective concerns about the restrictions that may be imposed on aviation operations if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fails to require reasonable mitigations by the wireless industry to address the radar altimeter issue.

HAI’s work is far from over. We believe the NEC must work with the FCC and the FAA to convene a joint industry working group that will develop mitigations to 5G interference with radar altimeters. The deployment of 5G technologies in frequencies adjacent to those used by radar altimeters, the C band, must be delayed until the safety and efficiency of the US National Airspace System (NAS) is ensured.

HAI and 20 other aviation groups and organizations just sent a letter to the NEC making clear our position that cooperation among all stakeholders is needed to create and enact a solution that maintains US leadership in 5G deployment as well as safety in the NAS.

HAI has been fighting the misguided FCC decision to auction frequencies in the C band spectrum since 2017. We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect the vertical flight industry. We will also continue to keep you, our valued members, updated on this important issue.

Author

  • James A. Viola is HAI’s president and CEO. After a career as a US Army aviator, he joined the FAA, where he served as director of the Office of General Aviation Safety Assurance before joining HAI. A dual-rated pilot, Jim holds ATP ratings in both airplanes and helicopters and is a CFII. Jim can be contacted at president@rotor.org.

James Viola

James Viola

James A. Viola is HAI’s president and CEO. After a career as a US Army aviator, he joined the FAA, where he served as director of the Office of General Aviation Safety Assurance before joining HAI. A dual-rated pilot, Jim holds ATP ratings in both airplanes and helicopters and is a CFII. Jim can be contacted at president@rotor.org.

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