5G-mitigating FreeFlight radar altimeters get approval

Free flight systems received FAA technical standard order (TSO) certification for two radar altimeters designed to mitigate 5G broadband cellular interference.

The RA-6000 dual installation and RA-5000 single installation digital TERRAIN models were certified on August 8 to meet the performance standards required for short-range airborne radar altimeters.

Tuesday’s announcement follows mobile carriers’ launch in January this year to begin broadcasting in the 5G-C band to improve cellular network speeds. The launch sparked a scramble by the FAA and the telecommunications industry to find a solution to eliminate interference caused by 5G signals to aircraft avionics. Among the compromises made were limiting the power of wireless transmissions and creating no-transmission buffer zones around the busiest airports.

Wireless carriers began discussing using the 5G-C band to improve network speed as early as 2017. Broadcasting in this band near airports can disrupt radar altimeters on board aircraft. Data provided by radar altimeters gives pilots information about the aircraft’s altitude above terrain and provides information for several other sophisticated aircraft onboard systems used by airlines. If the information is suspicious due to signal interference, especially in poor visibility, the aircraft cannot land.

“In 2019, anticipating radar altimeter interference from 5G C-band telecommunications, we launched an innovative radar altimeter design to provide protection against signal interference,” said Anthony Rios, president of FreeFlight Systems in a statement. Press. “We are proud to have achieved TSO certification, which allows us to better serve our industry with a modernized, robust and flexible radar altimeter solution that does not currently exist on the market.”

Since October 2021, FreeFlight Systems has achieved significant certification milestones, including successful flight and Alternative Method of Compliance (AMOC) testing, while striving to achieve TSO certification.

According to FreeFlight Systems, the TERRAIN series radar altimeters are designed for all segments of aviation, including general aviation, commercial transport, business jets, military, rotorcraft and remote pilots . The units allow the aircraft to operate safely even near 5G cell towers.

The TERRAIN Series altitude measurement range of up to 2,500 feet agl and a service ceiling of 55,000 feet msl comes in a space-saving design that can easily be installed in place of older radar altimeters. various manufacturers. To better support a wide range of aircraft platforms, the TERRAIN Series incorporates the latest Ethernet connectivity standards for newer platforms while retaining an ARINC 552 analog interface for integration with legacy gauges and components . With existing installations in mind, the RA-5500 and RA-6500 simplify retrofit installations by supporting existing antennas, control heads, and wiring as needed. For additional display options, FreeFlight Systems offers the RAD45 standalone indicator which meets EASA AMC1 SPA.NVIS.110(b) guidelines.

“We have a huge backlog from carriers and OEMs, especially the advanced air mobility segment,” Rios noted. “Now that we have TSO certification, we are ready to begin product shipments. It’s a good time considering the accelerating rollout of 5G networks across the country, which continues to challenge flight safety.

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