NEWS Alert

Federal Aviation Administration Proposals; 5G C-Band Interference and Safety Management Systems

Today, January 11, 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) to the Federal Register.

The first NPRM proposes an Airworthiness Directive that would supersede Airworthiness Directive 2021-23-12, which applies to all transport and commuter category airplanes equipped with a radio altimeter. Airworthiness Directive 2021-23-12 currently requires revising airplane/aircraft flight manuals (AFMs) to prohibit certain operations requiring radio altimeter data when in the presence of 5G C-Band interference as identified by Notices to Air Missions. The new Airworthiness Directive would require that flight manuals include further limitations on operations in the presence of 5G C-Band interference when those operations require radio altimeter data. Existing AFMs would need to incorporate prohibitions on certain operations at all airports for non-radio altimeter tolerant airplanes. For radio altimeter tolerant airplanes, the prohibited operations would be allowed at 5G C-Band Mitigated Airports as identified in an FAA Domestic Notice. The proposal would also require modifying certain airplanes to allow safe operations throughout the United States 5G C-Band radio frequency environment. Airplanes operating under Part 121 would need to be modified from a non-radio altimeter tolerant airplane to a radio altimeter tolerant airplane. The FAA intends for this new Airworthiness Directive to address the unsafe conditions arising from the proliferation of 5G C-Band base stations.

The second NPRM proposes to update and expand the requirements for safety management systems (SMSs) and require certain certificate holders and commercial air tour operators to develop and implement an SMS. This proposed rule would expand the parties subject to the SMS requirements under Part 5 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Those SMS requirements currently apply to domestic, flag, and supplemental operators under Part 121. This NPRM would make Part 5 applicable to commuter and on-demand operators under Part 135, air tour operators under § 91.147, production certificate (PC) holders under Part 21 that are holders or licensees of a type certificate (TC) for the same product, and holders of a TC under Part 21 who license out that TC for production. The FAA proposes this rule in part to address a Congressional mandate as well as recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and two Aviation Rulemaking Committees (ARCs). Additionally, the proposed rule would more closely align the United States with Annex 19 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. This proposed rule is intended to improve aviation safety by requiring organizations to implement a proactive approach to managing safety.

Established in 1999 and based in Washington, DC, The Wicks Group (TWG) has a lengthy record of providing technical assistance to civil aviation authorities (CAAs) worldwide, including but not limited to the CAAs of India, Panama, Cabo Verde, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Trinidad and Tobago. In all, ten FAA Category 1 ratings have been issued to TWG IASA technical assistance clients to date – a 100% track record. TWG also regularly assists foreign air carriers with obtaining the US government approvals needed for US air carrier operations and foreign repair stations with securing FAA certification required to maintain US-registered aircraft.

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