A confidential briefing on the LightSquared/GPS situation presented by Gen. William Shelton, chief of the Air Force Space Command, to senior staff at the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was promptly leaked to LightSquared.
Global Positioning System
On Tuesday, the FCC approved LightSquared’s fallback plan to move from a frequency close to that of GPS in the upper L-band–where tests had shown severe interference–to a lower 10-MHz portion of the same spectrum where reduced interference was expected.
The high-level industry and government committee tasked by the FAA with developing “a common understanding” of NextGen priorities has recommended a set of baseline airborne equipment and next will advise on operational or financial incentives that would help aircraft operators install that equipment.
The former head of the New York State Police aviation unit has been charged with grand larceny for selling a state-owned Garmin 496 GPS to a fellow trooper. Retired Maj. Robert Kreppein is accused of selling the unit for $1,600 in 2008. Kreppein retired in July after media reports surfaced that he was being investigated for allegedly approving civilian flights on state police helicopters.
“The effects of LightSquared deployment would be far-reaching and potentially devastating to aviation,” the FAA wrote to the President’s Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) group in a report that was recently leaked to the media.
The GPS industry’s failure to comply with the Department of Defense’s receiver filtering standards is the root cause of potential interference issues involving LightSquared’s proposed broadband wireless network, the company has told the FCC.
Low-powered incoming GPS signals are allocated 1559-1610 MHz in the L-Band radio spectrum. The neighboring spectrum–from 1525-1559 Mhz–is allocated to other, equally low-powered, incoming satellite signals, such as Sky Terra’s. GPS receivers are open to signals above the blue line shown, but filter out signals below it, and require modification to accept Glonass.
Accord Technology’s NexNav mini GPS Waas Class Beta-1 sensor has been recognized by the FAA as meeting requirements outlined in Advisory Circular 20-165. The 20-165 requirements cover accuracy and other parameters that GPS sensors will need to meet standards for ADS-B operations. The FAA will require mandatory equipage with ADS-B out systems beginning in 2020.
Avidyne signaled that it is joining the trend toward avionics with touchscreen controls by launching its IFD540 FMS/GPS/navcom system at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wis., yesterday.
LightSquared is running an advertising campaign in Washington, D.C., that includes prominent multiple advertisements along the platforms of downtown stations of the city’s Metro system serving Capitol Hill, FAA headquarters and other key government offices. Photo at left was taken this morning by an AIN staffer at L'Enfant Plaza Metro station.