What do you think about this airline vs 5G brouhaha?

Mel Beckman mel at beckman.org
Tue Jan 18 22:08:22 UTC 2022

Apples and oranges Michael. The US domestic aviation environment is quite different than even Europe or and especially smaller countries overseas. And how long has 5G been out anyway? I hardly think that’s been available for enough of a safety track record in any country.

-mel via cell

On Jan 18, 2022, at 2:06 PM, Mel Beckman <mel at beckman.org> wrote:


Incorrect. Owning spectrum also includes the right to interference-free operation. And you imply that the FAA and airline industry has done nothing, when in reality it’s the FCC who has done nothing. the FAA sponsored extensive engineering tests that demonstrate the interference is a concern, and they notified all the parties well in advance. The fCC et al chose to do no research of their own, and are basing all their assumptions on operation in other countries, which even you must admit can’t really be congruent with the US.

-mel via cell

On Jan 18, 2022, at 2:01 PM, sronan at ronan-online.com wrote:

 The thing is aviation DOESN’T own this spectrum, they just assumed it would always be unused. And they failed to mention it would be a problem during the last 5 years of discussion regarding the use of this spectrum.


On Jan 18, 2022, at 4:25 PM, Mel Beckman <mel at beckman.org> wrote:


Here’s a recent PCmag editorial on the subject, and it seems like many people want to put Internet speed above airline safety:


This issue definitely impacts network operations for 5G providers, so makes sense to discuss here.

Here’s a comment from a friend of mine who has been both a network engineer and a pilot for United Airlines, posted on the article linked above:

“As a pilot, I can tell you that landing in instrument conditions is by far the most critical flight regime possible, during which the radar altimeter reports are a matter of life and death. There is no alternative technology, such as GPS, with the required accuracy and reliability, to provide approach guidance down to the runway in zero-zero weather, which is what the radar altimeter does.

The collective tech industry needs to admit that it made a huge blunder when it urged the FCC’s clueless Ajit Pai to “blow off” the clearly demonstrated FAA spectrum conflict. Sorry, passengers, but if you look out your window, you’ll see that aviation owns this spectrum and is entitled to interference-free operation. Replacing all radar altimeters isn’t going to happen in time for 5G anyway — it took more than ten years just to deploy anti-collision technology. So do what you should have done from the beginning: follow the FCC rules of non-interference to existing users, who have clear priority in this case.”

I tend to agree with him, and it looks like the 5G providers and FAA agreed last week to put some buffer safety zones around runway approaches at 50 major airports:



On Jan 18, 2022, at 12:33 PM, Michael Thomas <mike at mtcc.com> wrote:

I really don't know anything about it. It seems really late to be having this fight now, right?


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