The Altimeter is the main part of the 787’s landing system, which turns on reverse thrusters that slow down the plane after it lands. Mr. Lamme said the Boeing patent indicated that the work was fully automated, meaning that even a 787 manual landing pilot would not be able to reverse the plane’s thrusters if the altimeter malfunctioned. The 787’s landing gear brakes, which are triggered by weight, will still work, as are its wing spoilers, which are only partially controlled by the altimeter readings. But Mr. Lemme said the lack of reverse thrusters would make it difficult for pilots to stop the plane before it reaches the end of the runway.
“You definitely have some planes that can run off the runway,” he said.
Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.
The FAA issued a notice on Friday stating that it had discovered “discrepancies” that “regardless of the weather or the approach” 5G interference could affect a number of 787 automated systems. “In the presence of 5G C-band interference, sluggish performance could result in increased landing distances and runway tourism,” the agency said. The notice covers 137,787 in the United States and more than 1,010 worldwide.
Why were these concerns not addressed earlier?
AT&T and Verizon’s decision to temporarily limit their new 5G network within two miles of the airport should address many of these security concerns – at least for now. But 5G has been around for years, raising questions about why airlines, the FAA, wireless companies and the FCC haven’t addressed them before.
Ms. Earlier warnings from aviation experts were ignored, Firthgot-Roth said. She said that in December 2020, the Department of Transportation sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration warning that allowing 5G to operate in its proposed frequency band would create problems for flight safety systems. She said the letter was never sent to the FCC and wireless companies.
Instead, the FCC, relying on its own research to address 5G security concerns, proceeded with the planned auction. In February, carriers bid more than 80 billion to use that portion of the wireless spectrum for 5G.
“Wireless carriers have a right to expect a return on their investment,” she said. Furchtgott-Roth said. “But you should be very happy that the FAA is taking a strong stance to ensure the safety of the people.”