On Monday, November 22, 2021, NATCA became aware of the potential adverse effects on radio altimeters due to the deployment of wireless broadband networks in 3700-3980 MHz bands. On Friday, December 10, 2021, NATCA became aware of Airworthiness Directives concerning transport and commuter category airplanes and various helicopters. NATCA responded to this information by requesting a full and consolidated briefing, which was held on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. During the briefing, the Agency detailed reporting 5G anomalies and informed NATCA of current testing it has implemented to fix the 5G issue. The Agency informed NATCA that reporting 5G anomalies must be done pursuant to FAA Order JO 7210.632 (ATO Occurrence Reporting), FAA Order JO 7200. 20A (Voluntary Safety Reporting Programs), FAA Order JO 7200.20 and/or 7210.632. The Agency also stated that testing has occurred at two airports and involves FAA aircraft equipped with sensors flying above the airport, for example a 10-mile run at 1000 feet. The goal of the testing is to obtain measurements of 5G interference on different equipment such as radio altimeters and determine the actual effect of 5G on the equipment. The Agency informed NATCA that it would give airports advance notice of testing and assured NATCA that the testing would not change anything on the ground. Lastly, the Agency stated that if additional testing is required at more metropolitan areas, a NATCA subject matter expert would be required.
POCs: Director of Safety and Technology Tom Adcock, Chief of Staff Dean Iacopelli, Deputy Director of Safety and Technology Mark McKelligan, Chair of National Safety Committee Chrissy Padgett, NATCA Procedures Representative John Murdock, Director of Labor Relations Nicole Vitale, Deputy Director of Labor Relations Akua Brempong-Smith, and Labor Relations Attorney Jon Cakmakci