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Aviation groups continue to pressure FCC to investigate potential GPS threats

May 6, 2011, 12:30 pm

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, along with other aviation interest groups, is continuing to pressure the Federal Communications Commission to look further into the impact that approving a permit to repurpose the satellite spectrum for network operator LightSquared may have on aviation, the group says.

Since the announcement of a permit that would allow Lightsquared to expand its satellite presence, aviation groups have been pushing the FCC to investigate the impact such a change could have on flight, the source says. In order to address the groups concern, the FCC mandated that Lightsquared work with GPS users to determine the impact its satellite use may have as a condition for its permit being approved - a measure that many argue may not be enough.

"Such an investigation should have been headed by the [FCC International] Bureau or a neutral third party, not LightSquared," AOPA senior vice president of government affairs Melissa Rudinger wrote in a letter to the FCC.

With the NextGen system in development, GPS may have an increasingly important role in safe practices for aviators, both in the air and during landing and take-off. GPS interference could potentially compromise pilot awareness and lead to a serious accident. Pilots should constantly be mindful of the risk of fatal crashes and prepare themselves and their families by obtaining pilot life insurance coverage.  

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