GA groups ask FCC to withdraw waiver that threatens GPS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) are strongly urging the Federal Communications Commission to take action to prevent interference with GPS reception and threats to the future of a GPS-based air traffic system.

The FCC has applications from LightSquared, a company that wants to build a nation-wide broadband internet infrastructure. Frequencies for it are adjacent to those used in GPS and pose severe interference, making GPS systems unreliable.

The most recent action by the two GA groups is asking the FCC to withdraw the conditional waiver granted to LightSquared.

“The evidence is clear,” said AOPA’s President Craig Fuller. “The LightSquared proposal puts the entire GPS system at risk.” He made a similar comment when testifying before a Congressional Committee. Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, warns FCC that LightSquared “threatens the FAA’s multi-billion dollar investment in the NextGen satellite-based air-transportation system.”

At the Congressional hearing, an executive from LightSquared declared that the company had already invested millions of dollars in the system and their tests showed frequency interference appeared to happen only about 1% of the time. To which Fuller responded: that “1% can kill a lot of people.”

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