Airline travel could be brought to a grinding halt all in the pursuit of better wireless broadband connectivity.
City-data.com lists seven airports, twelve heliports, and one seaplane base for the greater Jacksonville area. There were over 60,000 commercial operations at just one of those airports within one year. While many general aviation pilots fly under VFR (visual flight rules), meaning they are free of clouds and other visibility reducing weather and can clearly see the ground and areas around them, the vast majority of commercial and military pilots fly under IFR (instrument flight rules). Pilots flying in IMC (instrument meteorological conditions), which can put them in zero visibility, rely on their equipment to indicate where they are and what direction they are heading. The biggest asset to any IFR-rated pilot is his or her GPS system. In addition to other things, the GPS depicts the track over the ground, terrain, and even weather information. But one company is threatening that GPS system. The same GPS system that you use on your phone, in your automobile, and on your boat.
If this company is allowed to proceed without ensuring their operations are compatible with GPS it could have a devastating affect not only to Jacksonville’s boating and aviation enthusiasts, but also to the local economy for jobs lost, and a possible decrease in tourism. The company that could cripple the travel industry and our local economy? LightSquared. And although the company has ackknowledged that their technology has been proven to interfere with GPS, they ““assumes that suitable filters will soon become available. No evidence suggests that will be the case. Absolutely no filters exist today that can reliably protect GPS from LightSquared interference,” wrote Melissa Rudinger, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs, and Jens Hennig, GAMA vice president of operations.” as quoted in this article.
For more information on the company that may jeopardize the signal, and how it impacts the aviation world, please read the article “FCC asked to halt GPS-jamming network.” For more information on how it impacts the boating world, please read the article “Catastrophic results of GPS failures during hurricane season.”
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