Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM)

Nov. 21, 2022

The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) and NBAA partnered recently to express concerns with a Ligado Canada application to operate an Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) in a band that could negatively impact aviation safety.

Ligado Canada submitted its application to operate the ATC in the L-band – essentially the band adjacent to bands used by the aviation sector. The company has conducted similar operations in the US, though at much lower power levels.

In a letter to Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada, the associations explained, “Ligado Canada proposes to operate an ATC in a manner similarly to how they have been authorized by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate in the U.S., however, Ligado Canada’s application is for significantly higher power levels (~82 times greater) and relaxed Out-Of-Band-Emissions limits.”

Read the associations’ full letter. (PDF)

“Preliminary analysis has demonstrated that the Ligado proposal is likely to have an adverse effect on aviation,” said Robert Sincennes, CBAA’s vice president of regulatory affairs, which corresponds to U.S. data supported by FAA that indicates there is a clear adverse effect. “We are asking the ISED to reject the Ligado Canada application at any power level until such a time as aviation safety concerns are resolved.”

The power levels presumably must be higher in order to provide adequate coverage to remote areas of the country.

“The U.S. has a long history with Ligado implementation,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s senior director, air traffic services and infrastructure. “At lower power levels, as proposed in the U.S., data shows there will be aviation impacts. Now consider the impacts at a much greater scale.”