The European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA)–which operates and maintains Egnos, Europe’s Waas equivalent–and Eurocontrol signed a new cooperation agreement yesterday under which they will jointly implement European satellite navigation policies in the aviation sector. The move will set the stage for the EU to evolve its air traffic management infrastructure from one based primarily on ground-based systems to a more satellite-based system, improving accessibility, efficiency and safety for European operators, pilots and airports.
European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service
The list of FAA GPS procedures using Waas, known by ICAO as space-based augmentation system (SBAS) procedures, continues to grow steadily. These include ILS-equivalent localizer precision with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches, providing centerline and glideslope guidance down to 200 feet at more than 800 Part 139 runways in the NAS, plus another 2,600 at various heights above 200 feet at other NAS Part 139 and non-Part 139 runways. At most of the non-Part 139 runways, of course, there’s no ILS, and probably never will be. SBAS is filling that need.
Rockwell Collins received EASA certification of its Pro Line 4 to Pro Line 21 avionics retrofit for the Falcon 2000 and Falcon 2000EX. The Pro Line 21 retrofit features four 10- by 8-inch LCD panels and Waas/Egnos capability, as well as support for electronic charts and graphical weather. The upgrade is also available for the Falcon 50EX. The first installation is scheduled for this summer at a Ruag maintenance facility in Germany. An upgrade for Fans-1/A will be available next year for these Falcons.
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) provides clear benefits to the business aviation sector. With many business aircraft not specifically catered to by current air traffic management systems, more often than not they find themselves shut out of many key airports.
This is particularly true as Europe’s skies continue to become more and more crowded. As air traffic continues to grow, smaller airports must make themselves accessible at all times–something that cannot be done when relying solely on nonprecision approaches.
The European helicopter industry must educate operators about the benefits of Sesar, the European Union’s next-generation air traffic management (ATM) systems and procedures, if it is to derive any benefits from the system, according to several speakers at a conference on “The future of the rotorcraft sector” at Helitech.
Any of the 6,000 helicopters that annually use the helipad at Eurocopter’s facility in Donauwörth, Germany, will now find arrivals easier in poor weather with the recent certification of a GPS localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach to the pad, one of the few in Europe certified for all-weather operations.
In 2008 Donauwörth became the first European helipad to introduce satellite-based Rnav (area navigation) specifically for use by rotorcraft.
Eurocopter obtained the first license in Europe permitting localizer-performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches on a helipad, at its development and production facility in Donauwörth, Germany. The helicopter manufacturer emphasized that such a procedure improves safety in poor visibility, since aircraft can overfly obstacles more safely.
Eurocopter demonstrated new automated landing procedures relying on Egnos (Europe’s Waas equivalent) satellite guidance. Part of Europe’s Clean Sky research project, the tests were performed on an EC155 medium twin. They showed significant reductions in the helicopter’s perceived sound footprint, the company said. The noise-abatement flightpaths were compatible with IFR operations and can be tailored to local requirements.
If ever there was a Comeback Kid in avionics, it would have to be the FAA’s wide area augmentation system (Waas). Heralded by the agency in 1994 as the future Swiss Army knife of navigation, Waas was going to bring greater accuracy and enhanced reliability to the sometimes unpredictable GPS and, in so doing, promised a new era where satellites would replace not only the nation’s NDBs and VORs, but also the more than 600 Category 1 ILS installations in the National Airspace System at the time. Development would cost more than $300 million, and take about four years.
We often think of the FAA as a cumbersome organization that usually–but not always–gets the job done, often in its own sweet time. But with its Waas space-based augmentation system (Sbas) program, the agency has shown it can also move quickly.
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