AOPA On Top Of "Threat" To Satellite WX

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AOPA says it's monitoring a couple of bills that some worry will mean the end of satellite weather beamed to aircraft cockpits. Internet rumors are circulating that the loss of Sirius and XM aviation weather services will be one result of the Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act, which has been lying dormant in House and Senate committees for more than a year. The bill is intended to protect local radio stations from competition by the satellite broadcasters by prohibiting the satellite stations from offering content tailored to specific markets. Some have interpreted that to cover local weather data and forecasts prepared for aviation customers. It's an unlikely result, says AOPA's government affairs specialist Andy Cebula, but it's also something AOPA is keeping an eye on. When the bills were introduced in March of 2005, Cebula said AOPA officials talked to the sponsors and were assured canceling aviation weather was not part of the intent. Since then the bills haven't moved from committee but AOPA is monitoring them to make sure, if they see light of day, that they don't have that effect, whether intentional or not. "If satellite radio broadcasters are prohibited from offering graphical weather service, pilots will lose a reliable and widely available source of in-flight safety information," said Cebula. "AOPA will continue to make sure that there's no doubt in lawmakers' minds about the link between satellite weather data and safety."