The French helicopter industry is endeavoring to catch up with the U.S. in satellite-aided precision approaches, as it strives to enable landings and takeoffs at hospitals in IMC. The ultimate aim is to build a solid network of inter-hospital low-altitude IFR routes, according to participants at a forum held by the Toulouse-based air and space academy late last year.
European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service
Helileo (Hall 4 Stand E66), a Galileo test bed and expert company located in Aerospace Valley of southwest France, is offering flight testing services to manufacturers of GPS, EGNOS and Galileo receivers. Under an original program, the French start-up company plans to have one engineer testing hardware during French Army pilot training flights operated by Helidax, a private venture, with Eurocopter EC 120 helicopters.
Airbus plans to install satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS) in its A350XWB to support GPS Cat 1-equivalent 200-foot LPV approaches. SBAS includes the FAA’s WAAS; Europe’s Egnos (2010); India’s Gagan (2011); and Japan’s MSAS (2010/11). The FAA has already published 1,445 WAAS LPV approaches (exceeding the number of ILS approaches) and plans to have 6,000 available by 2018.
Europe’s regulatory body, the European Commission, has issued a Eurocontrol notice of proposed rulemaking (ENPRM) mandating ADS-B after Feb. 5, 2015. At that time, all aircraft operating in European airspace must transmit ADS-B Out signals and meet Eurocontrol’s enhanced mode-S surveillance standards. Currently in the public comment stage until April 8, the final rule is expected in late 2010.
Before GPS, approach classifications were cut and dried–they were either precision (ILS) or nonprecision approaches. But as pilots move into the future, they will need, before considering an approach into an “obstacle-rich environment,” to first navigate through an acronym-rich environment of new terminology to decide how to reach the threshold.
The SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) program to define and implement a new air traffic management system for the Single European Sky (SES) presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to develop a common concept of operations (ConOps, in Eurocontrol jargon).
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced it will issue revised standards for helicopter navigation this fall that are intended to take advantage of GPS receiver technology and new types of instrument approach procedures.
While EGNOS, SBAS, GBAS and Galileo may be unfamiliar to most North American aviators, they are key elements in Europe’s determined move to a satellite air traffic control environment. Addressing the FAA’s satellite operations implementation team meeting in December, Eurocontrol officials reported on progress toward their vision of
Last year in Toulouse, France, Eurocopter completed two series of tests that demonstrated the feasibility of satellite-navigation precision approaches for helicopters. Europe, which lags behind the U.S. in creating satnav nonprecision approaches for helicopters, has almost completed some research toward addressing that imbalance.
CMC Electronics showcased its new CMA-9000 flight management system (FMS), which also includes radio management. “The -9000 is a derivative of both the -3000, a helicopter cockpit product, and the airline-oriented -900,” FMS program manager Martin Richard explained. It features several search-and-rescue functions, including programmable moving waypoints.