European GNSS Drives General Aviation

Published: 
07 May 2014

As a sponsor of Aero Friedrichshafen, one of the world’s leading General Aviation trade shows, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) highlighted the essential role that EGNOS plays in increasing airport access and safety in this important aviation sector.

General aviation is a key market segment for EGNOS. In fact, according to a recent GSA survey, the vastEGNOS at Aero Friedrichshafen majority of the European General Aviation IFR community is either interested in installing and using SBAS or, at the very least, have considered using it. Approximately 48 percent of participants indicate that their aircraft are already SBAS capable.

One reason general aviation is so enthusiastic about EGNOS is that it opens regional airports to the sector. General aviation depends on access to these regional airports as flying into commercial hubs is not only expensive, but reserving slots can be next to impossible.

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), who has been heavily involved in setting up GNSS procedures since the late 90s, the access to runways that GNSS systems provide is essential to the sector.

“The US has done a fantastic job at rolling out new LPV approach-capable runways for general aviation, averaging 300 per year,” says Jens Henning, Vice President of Operations, GAMA. “With EGNOS we fully expect to see the same success, creating a real opportunity for the sector to increase its access to Europe.”

Henning further noted this process is greatly simplified as EGNOS operates on the same equipment standards used for other GNSS systems. The result is the same aircraft equipped for the US can land in Europe using the EGNOS signal. 

According to the GSA, supporting general aviation users in adopting EGNOS is an essential component to its mission towards overall European GNSS success. “In addition to airport access, EGNOS also has the potential to improve safety across all phases of a flight, thanks to its precise and reliable positioning,” says Daniel Lopour, Market Innovation Officer, GSA.

Lopour goes on to note how important having this precise positioning is to general aviation. “In support of this, the GSA will continue to strive for enabling adoption of EGNOS in general aviation, both by fostering the setup of new procedures and by removing barriers to the use of EGNOS enabled on-board equipment,” he said.

New Opportunities

European air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are working to develop EGNOS-based procedures for key regional EGNOS at AERO Friedrichshafenairports. Currently, a total of 108 LPV approach procedures are available in 77 European airports. In addition, 91 APV Baro-VNAV procedures are allowed to be flown using EGNOS vertical guidance in Germany and Czech Republic. Other countries, including France, also authorise the use of EGNOS for APV Baro-VNAV.

The GSA is looking forward to fresh innovative ideas to foster further use of EGNOS in aviation. The recently opened Horizon 2020 programme offers support to EGNOS related activities, aiming to increase adoption in all market domains – including aviation. The second call for proposals will be open for application in the third quarter of 2014. More information is available at the GSA website.

As this figure 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 procedures already in place.

For more in-depth information, users can consult the ‘PBN Approach Map Tool’ developed by Eurocontrol, which provides information on current implementation and plans of PBN Approaches.

Benefiting Operators

Of course this is just the beginning. EGNOS also offers curved approaches and more efficient routes to save fuel and lower noise to populated areas near airfields. 

Such pioneer users as AirNostrum and Netjets are driving on-going demonstrations to quantify the benefits of such advanced operations.

AirNostrum is currently conducting demo flights prior to the system validation, a prerequisite step for the implementation of EGNOS into its regular operations. For example, during an April 15 demonstration flight, advanced departure, arrival and approach procedures were flown by an Air Nostrum CRJ-1000 aircraft for approximately one hour. The aircraft followed the designed flight procedures, including the curved segments, with great track-keeping accuracy.

The demo flight also assessed the Constant Descent Approach (CDA) during the arrival and curved segments. Once aligned with the runway centre-line, the aircraft performed LPV approaches in an ILS-look-alike manner.

“The demo flight clearly showed the value of EGNOS and advanced avionics functionalities to support flexible flight procedures that contribute to mitigating the noise impact in the vicinity of the airport,” said Antonio Mares of AirNostrum. “Once these advanced departure, arrival and approach procedures are published, AirNostrum and other airlines will be able to reduce noise, fuel consumption and flight times – to name just a few of the benefits.”

“The GSA will continue to strive for enabling adoption of EGNOS in general aviation, both by fostering the setup of new procedures and by removing barriers to the use of EGNOS enabled on-board equipment.”

Daniel Lopour, Market Innovation Officer, GSA 


Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu). 

More information: 

The European GNSS Agency 

EGNOS Portal

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