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.
European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service
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.
LAAS could end up being overtaken by a combination of the FAA’s WAAS and Europe’s GPS equivalent, Galileo. While official speakers at last month’s U.S.
This summer a Eurocopter EC 155 all-weather demonstrator performed satellite-guided precision approach tests in Lausanne, Switzerland, as part of a research program aimed at developing approach and departure IFR procedures suited to helicopters using the European geostationary navigation overlay service (egnos) Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, coordinated the program. Swiss medical air rescue agency Rega was also involved.
One of Eurocontrol’s senior navigation managers says the business aviation community should be acting now to prepare for the introduction of the EGNOS (European geostationary navigation overlay service) augmented satellite approach and landing system.
The EBACE conference program will today focus on the Single European Sky program and what it will mean for business aircraft operators. The session, to be held from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Hall 7 Salon 1 will be moderated by Bo Redeborn, Eurocontrol’s director of ATM (air traffic management) strategies. He will be joined by guest speakers Steve Zerkowitz of ATM consultancy BluSky Services and Serge Lebourg from Dassault Aviation.
The French civil aviation authority, DGAC, has published the first GNSS nonprecision approach procedure for a French airport and is working toward introducing approaches with vertical guidance (APVs) once the necessary augmentation of the GPS signals is available and the relevant ICAO design criteria become effective.
After 10 frustrating years of technical delays, escalating costs and contractor changes, the FAA’s GPS wide area augmentation system (WAAS) is approaching the level of performance the agency originally envisioned for it back in the late 1980s. With the system’s initial operational capability declared in 2003 and 18 months of satisfactory performance now behind them, WAAS advocates can see light at the end of the tunnel.
No GPS-based IFR approach has been designed yet for commercial or parapublic helicopter operations in Europe. But the European helicopter industry is endeavoring to catch up with its U.S. counterpart, which has access to hundreds of GPS-guided approaches. In France, the first GPS approach dedicated to helicopter operations is scheduled to enter service next year.
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