Customers flying to Eurocopter’s Donauwörth training center and customer service facility in Germany now benefit from a helicopter-dedicated airspace layout, the first of its kind in Europe, according to the local Eurocopter flight operations team. The new flight procedures allow operations in almost all weather conditions.
Since mid-March, approaches at the airport have been GPS-based, allowing flights in IMC.
According to the Eurocopter flight operations team, implementing the GPS-based approaches into the general airspace structure has been a challenge. They added that getting approval from local civil and military authorities has been difficult, too. However, the 18 months of discussions between specialists has been worthwhile, they concluded, because the implementation of the new procedures boosts safety and improves air traffic management.
The heliport is now included in an uncontrolled class-F airspace block. “All other traffic has to check about the status, so all the traffic in the vicinity is known,” the Eurocopter team said. Class-F airspace is suitable only in areas in which IFR traffic is infrequent, they explained.
There are about 6,000 aircraft movements per year at Donauwörth heliport. Last year, of these, 1,000 were IFR takeoffs and landings; 200 of the landings were in IMC.