US’ fleet of more than 9,000 helicopters including air ambulances could be grounded after 5G wireless rollout on January 19 because the network interferes with choppers’ radar altimeter

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  • AT&T and Verizon plan to launch their 5G networks in the US on January 19
  • Roll out could mean many Medvac helicopters will be grounded
  • US law requires that these air ambulances have a working radar altimeter that measures altitude
  • However, 5G devices are found to render unreliable
  • The FAA, however, is allowing 119 helicopters to fly regardless of the law.
  • That Still Drops Hundreds of Medvac Helicopters

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AT&T and Verizon are set to launch their 5G networks across the US on January 19, but that could result in the launch of more than 9,000 commercial helicopters, including the life-saving Medvac helicopters.

The wireless service can provide radar altimeters, which measure altitude, unreliable and, under US law, all commercial helicopters must have a working device to fly.

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Without a radar altimeter, landing in remote areas or on a hospital landing pad would be nearly impossible, said Ben Clayton, interim chief executive officer of Life Flight Networks. bloomberg,

The point is that MedVac helicopters need to land and take off in remote areas, making their ability to measure altitude critical for a successful mission.

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Other commercial helicopters that operate tourism or law enforcement craft that need to be deployed in uncomfortable terrain also depend on the technology.

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October to exempt air ambulances from the law when 5G rolled out.

And on January 13, HAI finally got a response, but it was given only partial approval.

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AT&T and Verizon are set to launch their 5G networks across the US on January 19, but the launch could mean that it will result in the shutdown of many MedVac helicopters.

‘Based on the unprecedented nature of the wide-ranging effects on radio altimeters … the FAA will relieve Part 119 certificate holders operating the HAA. [helicopter air ambulance] operating in areas where the FAA has determined that 5G C-band interference affects or may affect radio altimeters,’ according to Some,

However, there are thousands of HAAs in the US that cater to at least 300,000 people a year who need to be transported to a medical facility.

Helicopters used in medical transport often land in places that are not airports or helipads to evacuate victims of natural disasters or vehicle accidents.

And a reliable radar altimeter is essential to ensure the safety of helicopters, rescuers and patients.

The wireless service can provide the radar altimeter, which measures altitude, is unreliable and, under US law, all commercial helicopters must have a working device to fly.  Picture a Verizon going up in Utah

The wireless service can provide the radar altimeter, which measures altitude, is unreliable and, under US law, all commercial helicopters must have a working device to fly. Picture a Verizon going up in Utah

Regardless, the FAA says that this type of transport cannot be grounded even if the device is not working properly due to 5G interference.

“It is in the public interest to allow the use of NVG in HAA operations in off-airport or non-improved area locations, when a radio altimeter may experience interference,” the FAA shared in a statement.

‘The public interest in allowing such operations to continue is considerable, especially considering that around 40,000 to 50,000 such operations take place at night from off-airport or non-improved areas.’

The US reported a total of 9,348 helicopters in 2019, more than four times the next largest fleet in Canada.

There’s been a lot of back and forth between AT&T and Verizon and the US government for the official roll out.

The launch was initially scheduled for January 4, but due to concerns about how the service would affect airlines, the companies agreed to a two-week delay to give the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enough time to fix the issues. Of.

Aviation officials fear that 5G signals near airports could interfere with some of the airplane's equipment, including the radio altimeter used to measure altitude.

Aviation officials fear that 5G signals near airports could interfere with some of the airplane’s equipment, including the radio altimeter used to measure altitude.

The problem is the 3.7 to 3.98 GHz frequency, known as the C-band, that the two wireless carriers spent tens of billions of licenses to use to power their ultra-fast 5G networks.

Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing officials have warned there is potential for interference with critical aircraft equipment operating in the nearby 4.2 to 4.4 GHz band, including radio altimeters that tell pilots their altitude in poor visibility.

In short, the fear is that in rare cases, incorrect altitude readings can confuse pilots as they approach landing in poor visibility conditions, with potentially disastrous consequences.

However, a two-week delay should give the FAA enough time to ensure there is no disruption to airplanes – but the same cannot be said for helicopters.

Explained: The evolution of mobile broadband to 5G

The development of the G system began in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed analog data to be transmitted via phone calls.

Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities launched.

Since then, the capacity and carrying capacity of mobile networks has grown massively.

More data can be transferred from one point to another faster than ever before through mobile networks.

5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the 4G currently being used.

While the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the move to 5G will be so rapid that they will change almost in real time.

This means mobile operations will be as fast as an office-based Internet connection.

Possible uses of 5g include:

  • Simultaneous translation of multiple languages ​​in one party conference call
  • Self-driving car can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
  • A full-length 8GB movie can be downloaded in six seconds.

5G is expected to be so fast and efficient that it could herald the end of wired connections.

By the end of 2020, the industry estimates that 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.

Evolution from 1G to 5G.  Estimated speed of 5G is over 1Gbps - 1,000 times the current speed of 4G and could be implemented in future laptops

Evolution…

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