European GPS Augmentation System OK’d for Aviation Use

 - March 8, 2011, 7:14 AM

Following a certification and verification process, the European Commission approved the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (Egnos) “safety-of-life” service for aviation last Wednesday. Egnos is closely similar to, and compatible with, the U.S. Waas satellite-based augmentation system that corrects timing errors in GPS signals, making it more accurate. Like Waas, it enables GPS precision approaches and shorter, more-direct routes throughout Europe. Egnos consists of transponders aboard three geostationary satellites, an interconnected ground network of 40 positioning stations and four control centers in Europe. The Egnos coverage area currently includes most European states and will be further extended in the near future. According to the EC, Egnos is a precursor of Galileo, the global satellite navigation system being developed by the European Union. Egnos was launched in October 2009, and up until now has been available for open applications, such as personal navigation and precision farming. To use Egnos’s safety-of-life service, aircraft need to be equipped with a Waas/Egnos-enabled receiver and airports must have Egnos-specific approach procedures for their runways. The first Egnos approach procedure has recently been published for Pau Pyrénées Airport in France and has successfully been flown by a Dassault Falcon 900LX.