The Helicopter Association International (HAI) has formally petitioned the FAA for an expanded exemption to the requirement for properly functioning radar altimeters in helicopter air ambulances to cover both Part 91 and 135 operations due to the potential of interference from 5G C-band cellular service.
Specifically, HAI is requesting, on behalf of its members, an amendment to Exemption No. 18973 for relief from FAR 91.205(h)(7), 91.9(a), 135.160, and 135.179(a) to expand relief to operations conducted under Parts 91 and 135, including operations with night-vision goggles and night landings and takeoffs from unimproved or off-airport sites with inoperative or unreliable radio altimeters. Comments are due to the FAA by August 29.
In June, key U.S. government, wireless, and airline stakeholders agreed to a partial extension of the 5G C-band mitigation near airports by cellular companies Verizon and AT&T that was to expire July 5. However, this serves primarily the interest of mainline and regional airlines. Under a framework of continuing cooperation, operators of regional aircraft with radio altimeters most susceptible to interference will retrofit them with radio frequency filters by the end of 2022. Helicopter interests have long maintained that this does not address the potential of C-band interference at and around hospital helipads/heliports or while conducting scene work.