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Page last updated on: Monday, January 3, 2022

Disruption of air traffic due to FM broadcast transmitter

Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) reports that the radio traffic of aircraft landing at Schiphol has been regularly disrupted in recent weeks

A translation of the Dutch national amateur radio society VERON post reads:

Music from the FM broadcast band caused the interference. This disturbance was on the frequency that Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) uses to give instructions to approaching air traffic. After the deployment of the Telecom Agency (AT), a broadcaster in Gelderland was taken off the air at the end of last week.

It concerned a license holder who was allowed to broadcast via FM, but did not adhere to the rules. After the transmitter was shut down, there was no more disruption on the aviation band.

Although this incorrect FM use did not create an acutely dangerous situation, a disruption of radio connections in aviation is a direct risk. This is because failure ensures that there is no contact between the air traffic controllers and the pilots. Air traffic controllers guide aircraft by means of course, speed and altitude instructions. The air traffic controller uses radiotelephony for this. If the frequency is disrupted, this can cause pilots to not hear the instructions from the air traffic controller properly. In the worst case, this could lead to planes approaching each other too close in the busy airspace around Schiphol because a pilot receives an instruction too late.

For safety reasons there should be no doubt that the device has received the instruction. That is why the pilot must always completely repeat the instruction himself to the air traffic controller. LVNL may switch to an emergency frequency in the event of disruption, although this is not preferred because fewer alternatives remain in real emergency situations. Every year there are many reports from pilots about disruption by music that interferes with the aviation band, often from air pirates. In view of the importance of safety, LVNL immediately reports this to the authorities. This year there were 10 reports.

Source: Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland (LVNL) via VERON
https://tinyurl.com/IARU-Netherlands

 
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