The METIS project successfully demonstrated the benefits of EGNOS for civil aviation use in approach with vertical guidance (APV) operations at regional airports in Turkey and Italy.
The demonstrations were conducted at Çanakkale airport, Turkey on 5-6 November and at Perugia airport, Italy on 11 November. The flight demonstrations consisted of a number of approaches using EGNOS and used APV experimental procedures designed for the two airports.
For both demonstrations a Cessna Citation VI I-BLUB aircraft was equipped with a Garmin GNS 480, a satellite navigation receiver commonly used by general aviation aircraft. The GPS navigation unit is compatible with satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS), making it capable of receiving the EGNOS signal.
The aircraft’s pilots received flight guidance through a conventional course deviation indicator/vertical deviation indicator (CDI/VDI) connected to the navigation receiver, which was loaded with a database of APV procedures.
“Using the EGNOS service coverage presently available, the two METIS trials demonstrated the operative benefits of EGNOS in the civil aviation sector,” said Antonella Di Fazio, the project coordinator for METIS and part of Italy-based Telespazio’s research and development unit.
EGNOS increases safety, efficiency, and an airport’s capacity for traffic, while reducing the need for ground navigation infrastructure, she added.
“The benefits also stem from the possibility of carrying out ILS Category I approaches at airports not equipped with conventional navigation aid infrastructures,” Di Fazio said.
The flight demonstrations involved the air navigation service providers of Turkey (General Directorate of State Airports Authority of Turkey) and Italy (Ente Nazionale di Assistenza al Volo).
European EGNOS programme
Funded by EuropeAid, a directorate-general of the European Commission, METIS is managed in the context of the European EGNOS programme.
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation. EGNOS is a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that improves the accuracy of GPS over Europe and the Mediterranean area.
EGNOS augments the standard GPS signal by providing more precise location information along with an integrity signal, making it suitable for applications requiring very accurate and guaranteed positioning.
By itself, the US GPS global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is not accurate enough in the vertical plane to provide pilots with usable glide slope information for precision approaches when landing. By comparison, EGNOS achieves an accuracy of 95%, which translates into locating a position within 1-2 metres horizontally and within 2-4 meters vertically.
Once certified for use by civil aviation, a process expected to be completed in 2010, the EGNOS Safety-of-Life signal will become a standard in Europe and in the Mediterranean countries.
The EGNOS Open Service, which is freely available to anyone with an SBAS-enabled receiver, has been available since October 2009 and is suitable for most common location applications.
The extension of the EGNOS service coverage over the Mediterranean region is under implementation, with the deployment of additional monitoring stations in North Africa and Middle East.
Providing benefits to Mediterranean-area countries
The flight demonstrations in Turkey and Italy are part of a series held by METIS to prepare the 10 members of the EU’s Mediterranean Economic Development Area (MEDA) programme for the introduction of EGNOS and Galileo services, particularly in the aviation, road, maritime, freight and rail transport sectors.
MEDA is made up of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
A key activity of the project was the development of a GNSS regional plan plus 10 national plans for the application of satellite navigation services in the MEDA area over the next 5-10 years along with a cost-benefit analysis of the benefits of EGNOS and Galileo for each sector in each country.
Studies by METIS estimate that €200 million in benefits will accrue to MEDA’s members over the next 10 years from the use of EGNOS applications in the transport sector. For example, in the civil aviation sector, Turkey is expected to gain €7.6 million in benefits over the next 10 years according to a METIS cost benefit analysis, Di Fazio said.
The METIS project, which ends in December 2009, operates through a consortium of private and public organisations from European and Mediterranean countries. The core team includes Telespazio, the Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, the European Satellite Service Provider (ESSP), France Développement Conseil (FDC), and Thales Alenia Space.
The project completed its work on 7 December 2009 with a final event meeting in Tunis, Tunisia.