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Interference Risk: Air Ambulances and 5G Networks


Air ambulances make use of radar altimeters that help them land safely, especially when the visibility is poor. It is one of the critical components that air ambulances rely upon. However, the new 5G networks make use of these same frequencies. Unless some technological tweaking takes place, the new frequency ecosystem can pose a big safety risk. The government of the United States – through aviation regulating agencies – has come out with a few regulatory guidelines and restrictions to both monitor and maintain safety. However, a section of experts feels that the measures may not be effective enough and are highly restrictive.

The Interference Risk and Proposed Solution

The Federal Communications Commission of the United States has approved frequencies for 5G networks, in spite of being cognizant of the fact that the move can interfere with the landing of air ambulances. The logic behind the move is to keep 5G networks and aircraft signals far enough. However, the move proves insufficient for air ambulances that often have to land in heavily populated areas. The only option left with such operators of air ambulances would be either to shut down or upgrade the choppers. The result could be service disruptions and high costs, both of which can be bad for air ambulances as well as the people who rely on them.

Aviation Regulators Must Support Air Ambulances

The flight restrictions have been quite harsh. That said, a middle path has been chalked out between 5G network operators and aviation regulators to ease them. However, this change affects a mere 50 airports. There are scores of airports all around the United States that still have to grapple with the umpteen restrictions. Also, there are several locations that perennially have to fight with poor visibility. It is going to be an uphill task for air ambulances in such locations.

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