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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will meet Wednesday with telecom and airline industry officials on a push to retrofit and ultimately replace some airplane radio altimeters that could face interference from C-Band 5G wireless service. Reuters reports: The altimeters give data on a plane’s height above the ground and are crucial for bad-weather landings, but airline concerns about wireless interference from a planned 5G rollout led to disruptions at some U.S. airports earlier this year. The FAA wants to use the meeting to establish “an achievable timeframe to retrofit/replace radar altimeters in the U.S. fleet,” according to a previously unreported letter from the FAA’s top aviation safety official Chris Rocheleau reviewed by Reuters. It also asked aviation representatives “to offer options and commit to actions necessary to meet these objectives.”
The planned three-and-a-half hour roundtable meeting will also include a discussion on prioritizing retrofits with antenna filters, which mitigate potential interference from 5G. Antenna filters are currently in production, officials said. A key question is how to determine which planes are most at risk of interference and should therefore get retrofitted first. The meeting will also look at what is set to happen after July 5 and outline “changes to U.S. national airspace operating environment as a result of future 5G C-band deployment in the coming months.”
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