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AOPA ACTION: AOPA joins FCC petitionAOPA ACTION: AOPA joins FCC petition

Aviation groups speak out against Ligado network

AOPA, nine other aviation associations, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration have urged the Federal Communication Commission to rescind approval issued to Ligado Networks for its proposed 5G wireless network over concerns about its potential to overwhelm GPS reception.

The groups challenged the credibility of Ligado’s aviation advisers and said they believed that the FCC accepted Ligado’s arguments about aviation safety despite those arguments being contradicted by “virtually the entire aviation industry.”

Ligado, the successor entity to LightSquared, responded to its critics with a sharply worded news release that sought to nudge the FCC to move on and close the case. The high-profile case is unfolding as the FCC moves forward on the rollout of 5G to support internet demand, GPS is becoming ever more essential to individuals and organizations, and Ligado spends eye-popping amounts on the lobbying front.

Positions taken by Ligado “and its hired allies” against the petitions “frequently evade responding directly to the arguments of Joint Petitioners and repeatedly mischaracterize the Petition, the FAA’s analysis, the record, and even the Order,” the aviation groups said.

The FCC’s approval order was inadequate “to address the harmful interference that Ligado’s planned deployments will cause GPS receivers and satellite communications terminals,” the aviation groups said.

Ligado insists that “strict conditions” the FCC included in its approval order provide assurance that the network’s L-band transmissions would not overwhelm GPS signals of lower power on adjacent frequencies.

Baker on the news: “The real DNA of this association is in its advocacy work.” —AOPA President Mark Baker

AOPA awards more than $1.1 million in scholarships

More than 120 high school students and teachers, primary student pilots, and pilots working toward advanced certificates and ratings have been awarded scholarships totaling more than $1.1 million through the AOPA Foundation, thanks to generous donations from the Ray Foundation and the pilot community. Scholarships funded by the Ray Foundation went to 80 high school students and 20 high school aviation teachers, who each will receive $10,000 for training toward their private pilot certificates. Generous donations to the AOPA Foundation from the pilot community funded an additional 17 primary flight training scholarships and seven advanced rating scholarships of varying amounts.

“These scholarships are all about helping people reach their dreams,” said AOPA Foundation Executive Director Melissa Rudinger. “The aviation community knows the immense value of learning to fly and has generously helped fund scholarships for 124 students, teachers, and pilots to help them experience the same sense of joy and accomplishment.”

The scholarships, which are available exclusively to AOPA members, are part of the AOPA You Can Fly program, a collection of initiatives to build a larger, more vibrant pilot community.

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