FCC probes ILS interference at small airport

The Federal Communications Commission has been brought in to help find the source of interference with instrument landing systems (ILS) at the airport in Lubbock, TX.

Four FCC technical crews will assist the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which operates the ILS at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, in finding the source of the interference, according to a report in the Feb. 11 Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper.

While interference has been reported by pilots going back nine days, the FAA cleared the ILS for use by noon, local time, Tuesday, only to have more interference reported by 7:00 p.m. that day. The interference was described as “noise” by Michael O’Harra, FAA deputy administrator for the region, who said at a news conference that the interference caused pilots to steer slightly left or right of the approach centerline.

The search area will extend 10 miles back from the end of the runway at the airport, which is where most pilots turn on their ILS as they prepare to land, the paper reported.