EGNOS for aviation in acceleration mode

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15 March 2017
When you consider the safety and cost benefits, it’s no wonder that so many airports are enthusiastic about EGNOS.

The World ATM Congress is the must-attend trade event for the air traffic management sector, welcoming participants from across the world who come to showcase the latest innovations, services and products. One of those services on display in Madrid was the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

EGNOS, which was designed for aviation, has revolutionised the way we fly – creating more access to small and regional airports, increasing safety and facilitating business across Europe. From the commercial, regional, general and business aviation sectors to OEMs, airports and the end user – everyone benefits from EGNOS.

As to the airports – the focus of the congress – there are already over 430 EGNOS-enabled procedures available at over 300 different European airports. According to GSA Market Development Officer Carmen Aguilera, more than 500 procedures are planned. “These procedures will increase accessibility to regional airports, support decongestion of main hubs and provide suitable alternatives or backups for Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) – all while EGNOS implementation is spreading to more even countries,” she says.

                Read this: EGNOS can crack the capacity crunch!

When you consider the safety and cost benefits of EGNOS implementation, it’s no wonder that so many airports are enthusiastic about publishing EGNOS-enabled localiser performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches. “Many of these 300 airports are small and regional airports that simply cannot afford the high cost of installing and maintaining ground-based ILS,” explains Aguilera.

“For Slovakia, which was one of the first countries to adopt EGNOS LPV procedures, it was simply a matter of increased safety,” says LPS SR Head of ATM Planning and Procedures Ratislav Primus. “With EGNOS, we can provide accurate vertical guidance – making airports across Slovakia much safer.”

As an alternative to ground-based ILS navigational aids, EGNOS utilises geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations to receive, analyse and augment GPS signals. With EGNOS, these satellite signals become suitable for such safety-critical applications as aircraft landings. Thus, the EGNOS LPV 200 service level provides vertical guidance that enables reaching a decision height as low as of 200 feet. This is a capability similar to what is provided by ground-based navigational aids, but without the same financial burden of installing, maintaining and calibrating ground equipment.      

“I highly recommend implementing EGNOS Cat-I procedures leveraging LPV-200, especially for smaller airports, but also as a valuable add-on for larger airports,” says Austro Control Head of ATM-CNS Procedure Design Team Daniel Schaad. “It’s worked well for us and, increasingly, for airlines too. It is very innovative with ILS performance and we’re happy to have EGNOS procedures in our portfolio – I think it’s a good option for everybody.”

New models and retrofit too

Of course having all of these procedures isn’t very useful if nobody uses them. This is why, in addition to facilitating the launch of new EGNOS procedures, the GSA is also committed to working with manufacturers to ensure the latest aircraft and rotorcraft coming onto the market are EGNOS-ready. Thanks to these efforts, most new aircraft models have EGNOS-capability, including models from such leading manufacturers as ATR, Airbus, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jets, Hawker, Beechcraft and Pilatus. According to the GSA, this list is expected to continue to increase in the near future.

                And this: Europe’s aviation community enthusiastic about EGNOS

In addition to new aircraft models, the GSA also noted a rise in the number of available retrofit solutions. “These retrofit solutions enable in service aircraft to add EGNOS capabilities,” says Aguilera. “The GSA is working with operators and avionics manufacturers to increase the available retrofit options for the most common models.”

Moving up, moving fast

With EGNOS Version 3 set to enter service in the near future, EGNOS will also augment Galileo, thus further increasing performance and improving accuracy, resilience and safety.

“The principle behind EGNOS – of providing a space-based navigation system – means operators can equip their planes with fairly light-weight receivers and make use of satellite signals with minimal ground-based infrastructure required,” adds European Regional Airlines Association General Manager Policy and Technical Russel Dudley. “Speaking for our association and members, we are strong proponents of EGNOS as it has proved itself an incredibly useful and meaningful tool.”

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Updated: Jan 30, 2018