Probably no big deal, but if you're a nervous flyer, please note that Phil Falcone's LightSquared will be running some tests that might interfere with the technology on aircrafts flying near Vegas.
The Federal Aviation Administration is warning that navigation systems based on GPS technology may be "unreliable or unavailable" in about a 350 mile-radius that includes Las Vegas. LightSquared — a Reston, Va., company that plans to deploy an ultra-fast nationwide wireless broadband network of 40,000 transmitters and cell towers — is field testing its equipment in Nevada southeast of Las Vegas.
The tests are part of a deal LightSquared worked out with the Federal Communications Commission. The company has rights to frequencies located very close in the electromagnetic spectrum to those used for GPS. But the company's signals will be stronger than GPS signals, raising concern that they'll jam GPS in the vicinity of LightSquared transmitters...Dick Knapinski, a spokesman for the Experimental Aircraft Association, which represents 175,000 recreational pilots, said most pilots will see the FAA notice and plan to use something other than GPS to navigate. "It's like if you are in your car or truck and you've been relying on GPS to get someplace, but you might want to make sure you still have a map in your car and get it out," Knapinski said.
For anyone uncomfortable enough with this "get out a map" plan to pay for a last minute change, as an offer of gratitude, Falcone would like to invite you for an evening of cocktails and show tunes with Manhattan's most popular singing pig.