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Norwegian regulator conducts 5G aircraft tests amid US aviation fears

Plane 5G network 16.9.jpg

Norwegian regulator Nkom has conducted tests to determine whether 5G could interfere with altimeters in helicopters.

Last month, the US aviation industry warned of the “catastrophic” consequences of 5G network deployments using C-Band spectrum.

The Federal Aviation Administration warned that 5G networks in the US, operating on the spectrum could interfere with aircraft altimeters.

A mobile 5G transmitter was placed in the middle of an airport runway, and a 5G receiver at the end of the runway to ensure the helicopters were subjected to a continuous 5G signal.

Nkom tested three helicopter types and made sure that they flew in different patterns around the base station and were as close as 50 metres away in some cases.

In practical cases, though, a helicopter would normally be much further away from a 5G transmitter than in the tests.

In its tests, the regulator said observations and analysis show “no operational impacts on the radar altitude meters in the helicopters that were part of the tests”.

While the majority of the frequency band used for 5G in the US is closer to altimeter frequencies in Norway and Europe, the regulator said it is important to investigate whether there may be challenges for European countries too.

The tests were carried out at Kjeller airport in cooperation with the Norwegian Armed Forces Research Institution, Telenor Research, Telia, the Air Force, the Helicopter Service and the Norwegian Air Ambulance.

Nkom says it is continuing to work on the results.

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