NBAA Congressional Statement Stresses Importance of Greater FAA, FCC Collaboration on 5G

In a statement submitted at a hearing of the Aviation Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) reaffirms the critical need for greater collaboration between government agencies to properly address aviation safety concerns stemming from the rollout of new 5G wireless telecommunications networks.

Last month, Verizon and AT&T deployed new nationwide 5G networks operating between 3.7-3.98 gigahertz, adjacent to “C-band” frequency spectrum utilized by radar altimeters that measure an aircraft’s real-time height over terrain and obstacles. Interference concerns led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to restrict certain aircraft operations dependent on radar-altimeter data in 5G environments.

“With the significant benefits that 5G technology will provide for connectivity across the nation, NBAA believes these networks must safely co-exist with aviation,” reads the NBAA statement. The Feb. 3 hearing, titled “Finding the Right Frequency: 5G Deployment & Aviation Safety,” included FAA administrator, Steve Dickson; representatives from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); and other government, aviation industry and telecommunications stakeholders.

“The aviation industry has been open to working with the FCC, FAA and other agencies to advance the discussion on these issues,” NBAA continues. “Unfortunately, since the December 2020 auction of the 5G-C spectrum [to AT&T and Verizon], the required levels of coordination did not occur.”

The result was two FAA airworthiness directives (ADs) and more than 1,500 notices to air missions (NOTAMs) that restricted low-visibility operations by fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and affected a host of other aircraft systems tied to radar-altimeter functionality. While NBAA commended the FAA’s efforts, the association emphasized that those actions came from “a reactive position because the necessary proactive coordination had not occurred.”

NBAA further lauds the FAA’s diligence in issuing alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs) for aircraft to safely operate in 5G environments, although the agency’s focus on commercial airliners has delayed similar AMOCs for general-aviation and business aircraft. Currently, the FAA must also reissue all 5G AMOCs every 30 days, compounding delays in issuing new AMOCs.

The resulting situation highlights the need for greater interagency collaboration not only today, NBAA summarizes, but even more so in the future, as emerging aviation technologies, including advanced air mobility aircraft with autonomous capabilities, create new wireless-spectrum challenges.

“By working collaboratively with the FCC, telecom providers and other stakeholders, the FAA could have better visibility into future 5G impacts,” NBAA states. “The general-aviation community looks forward to working with the FAA on an improved process so we can continue accessing airports across the nation and performing our critical missions.”

To read the NBAA’s statement, visit

Additional information about the effects of 5G on business aviation is available at

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