The European GNSS Agency (GSA) discusses how EGNOS is benefiting the General Aviation sector at Aero Friedrichshafen.
Speaking recently at Aero Friedrichshafen, one of the world’s largest General Aviation events, the GSA discussed how EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, is benefiting the General Aviation sector.
Specifically designed to improve the accuracy of position measurements by sending out signals that correct GPS data and provide information on its reliability, EGNOS continues to bring new benefits to this important sector.
For example, EGNOS is improving safety across all phases of a flight. It allows for easier approaches to small airports – even during bad weather – without the need for expensive ground infrastructure. “We have received great feedback from pilots who say that landing with EGNOS is more comfortable, easy to follow and often more stable than with conventional ILS approaches,” says GSA Market Development Officer Katerina Strelcova.
Since EGNOS was certified for aviation in March 2011, almost 250 EGNOS enabled procedures have been implemented at 141 airports, and more than 440 LPV EGNOS enabled procedures are expected by 2018. The largest number of operational airports in Europe is in France, with 63 in place and a further 51 planned. Next is Germany, with a further 12 countries, including Italy, Switzerland, the UK and Austria, having at least one approved airport. In addition, six APV Baro-VNAV procedures are allowed to be flown using EGNOS vertical guidance in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.
As the number of approved airports grows, an updated list is available at the EGNOS Portal and the EGNOS Service Provider site, which also includes an “EGNOS based procedures map” with a detailed table listing currently implemented and planed LPV/LP/BARO approaches. As second source, users can find the ‘PBN Approach Map Tool’ developed by Eurocontrol, which provides information on current implementation and plans of PBN Approaches.
As a direct result of this increasing number of EGNOS enabled airports throughout Europe, there is growing enthusiasm among the European general aviation community for the use of satellite based approach systems (SBAS), and many general aviation aircraft are now SBAS capable.
Information provided by the GSA shows that all current generation Cessna, Cirrus, Diamond, Pilatus and Piper aircraft are SBAS-capable, and other types such as the Piaggio Avanti, Daher TBM900 and Aquila all have EGNOS solutions available. This includes the Garmin GNS430W/530W, GTN6XX/GTN7XX TS and the G1000, G2000, G3000, G5000 systems. EASA certification for the Bendix-King KSN765/770 TS is in progress, and approval for Avidyne systems is expected in 2015.
“The GSA has sponsored the Approved Model List - Supplemental Type Certificate for the Garmin GNS430W and GNS530W avionics, which are the most widely used systems by general aviation,” says Strelcova. “As a result, general aviation pilots with this equipment will soon be able to take full advantage of EGNOS without significant financial investment.”
Creating Airport Access
EGNOS allows aircraft to land at many smaller and regional airports that have, until now, been inaccessible for IFR traffic, playing a significant role in solving the problem of many large commercial airports being denied to general aviation aircraft due to high pricing and slot availability.
Progress with new airport approvals is essential, particularly as GNSS procedures in the US have been advancing at a very rapid rate. Speaking at the Aero exhibition, Paul Sherry, Chairman of PPL/IR Europe, pointed out that there are now 3,534 WAAS LPV approach procedures in the US at 1,725 airports, indicating that Europe faces some pressure to catch up. Unfortunately, according to Sherry, the cost to airports of establishing compliance is around €35,000, but he hopes this can be reduced to close to €10,000.
Achieving worldwide adoption of GNSS systems is also desirable. As EGNOS operates to the same equipment standards as other GNSS systems, aircraft equipped for the US can land in Europe using the EGNOS signal.
“Besides the safety advantages, EGNOS enables aircraft operators to use more efficient routes to save fuel and to take advantage of curved approaches and other efficiency features,” says Sherry. “Hopefully, a wider adoption will also reduce the incidence of CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) accidents to aircraft approaching VFR airports in IMC.”
Growth in the Scheduled Sector
A good number of scheduled airline operators are also adopting EGNOS systems. Typical is CityJet, which has fitted out eight of their 13 Fokker 50 turboprops. CityJet, with headquarters near Dublin, is a subsidiary of Air France-KLM and, according to Christine Ourmières, CityJet’s CEO: “We are jumping to EGNOS for reasons of cost and improved navigation. We did some analysis and found fuel savings and comfort for our crew – they feel better, safer, and it is a modern tool.”
Ourmières also points out the technology benefits of EGNOS, which allows older aircraft to remain in service longer. “Even with a 25-year old aircraft, you know that the technology is good,” she says.
Another notable adopter is Air Nostrum, the largest Spanish regional airline, which has upgraded its current fleet to use the service. EGNOS systems have been installed on ten ATR 72s and 30 Bombardier CRJ1000s. The airline has highlighted that this gives them much more efficient routes, and makes it more environmentally friendly as the new approach procedures burn less fuel and save time.
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Among other practical successes of adoption is the experience of Aurigny Air Services, which runs scheduled services from and between the Channel Islands. Following a project established with Eurocontrol and NATS (National Air Traffic Services) in 2010/2011, Aurigny became the first regional airline to make use of EGNOS during all their approach and landing operations. They are now conducting more than 3,500 LPV approaches annually.
Also in the UK, Exeter Airport-based training school Aviation Southwest, which published its LPV procedures in August 2014, has upgraded its Beech Duchess and Piper PA-28 aircraft and integrated LPV into its Instrument Rating courses. Exeter Airport has now stated that, since LPV is available, they may withdraw non-precision approaches when their fixed navaids reach the end of their useful life.
“General aviation is a key market for EGNOS and users can really take advantage of this efficient navigation solution that increases both accessibility and safety,” concludes Strelcova. “In summary, EGNOS is a win–win solution for general aviation pilots and small airports.”
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