FAA Will Require Certain Planes to Take Extra Landing Precautions When 5G Networks Launch

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reportedly announced on Friday (January 14th) it will be requiring certain planes to take extra landing precautions when 5G networks officially launch next week.

According to Reuters, FAA stated it will require operators of Boeing 787s to take additional precautions while landing on wet or snowy runways at airports where 5G networks are deployed. The organization noted that the 5G interface may actually prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode. This could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway.

FAA explained it requires airliner crews to be aware of the risks. It also requires crews to adopt specific safety procedures when landing on the runways. The 5G Network disruption affects 137 U.S. aircraft as well as more than 1,000 planes worldwide. 

The latest word of caution from the FAA comes just a little over a week after AT&T and Verizon agreed to buffer zones around 50 airports. This is in order to reduce interference risks when the 5G Networks launch. Both wireless companies have also agreed to delay deployment for an additional two weeks. 

Commenting on the two-week delay, the FAA states, “During the two-week delay in deploying new 5G service, safety experts determined that 5G interference with the aircraft’s radio altimeter could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode. Which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway.”

The FAA went on to add that it prohibits operators from dispatching or releasing Boeing 787s to affected airports when certain braking and anti-skid functions on planes are inoperable. The FAA also released the list of 50 airports with a 5G Network buffer. 

Airlines Remain Concerned Over 5G Network Interference 

NPR revealed last week that airlines are remaining concerned over the potential interference that 5G Network is going to cause to airplanes once launched. Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO, spoke in a Senate committee hearing last month about the situation. “This is the biggest and most damaging potential issue facing us,” the airline CEO declared. 

Gary Kelly, Southwest CEO, further explained the issue that his company is now facing. “I think if you were to ask us what our No. 1 concern is here in the near term. It is the deployment of 5G [Network]. Because the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive. That would significantly impact our operation once it is deployed.”

Air Line Pilots Association head Joe DePete also spoke about the situation. “Now, radio altimeters on our aircraft determine not only the height above the ground. Not just pressure altitude, but above the terrain as we come in for a landing. Or we’re taking off. But they’re tied to many other systems in our aircraft.”