How 5G could put your flight at risk – by causing safety equipment to stop working

AVIATION experts have warned that the use of 5G on planes could lead to huge safety issues – as it could stop some of the safety features working.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said earlier this week that it could cause "safety equipment to malfunction".

In a bulletin published earlier this month, they alerted manufacturers, operators and pilots that action may be needed to address potential interference with sensitive aircraft electronics caused by the 5G deployment.

While the FAA said that there had "not yet been proven reports of harmful interference due to wireless broadband operations internationally," they added they "should be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology could cause certain safety equipment to malfunction, requiring them to take mitigating action that could affect flight operations."

They also added that 5G could lead to the "degradation to the capabilities of safety systems and other equipment that depend on radio altimeters, particularly during low-altitude operations."

They urged pilots to continue telling passengers to put phones on airplane mode if using 5G, or to turn them off.

In a letter sent to the White House, Boeing Co, Airbus SE, US airlines, pilots and others said they need the Biden administration and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "to help aviation and telecommunication industries reach acceptable mitigations."

Concerns were also raised last year regarding the effects of 5G on plane equipment.

According to the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) who advise the FAA, 5G operations on the 3.7 to 3.98GHz frequency spectrum could interfere with planes' radar altimeters – which use the 4.2 to 4.4GHz frequency.

The report warned that it could impact aviation operations on aircraft both in the US and worldwide, with potential "catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities, in the absence of appropriate mitigations".

It stated: "The results presented in this report reveal a major risk that 5G telecommunications systems in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band will cause harmful interference to radar altimeters on all types of civil aircraft—including commercial transport airplanes; business, regional, and general aviation airplanes; and both transport and general aviation helicopters."

The report continues: "Failures of these sensors can therefore lead to incidents with catastrophic results."

However, wireless trade group CTIA says 5G networks can safely use C-band spectrum "without causing harmful interference to aviation equipment," and cited numerous active 5G networks using this spectrum band in 40 countries."

Here is everything you need to know about 5G as well as a map of the UK's 5G masts.

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