Austrian air navigation services provider Austro Control is in charge of implementing EGNOS-based procedures at the country’s airports. So far, EGNOS-based approach procedures, including rotorcraft procedures, have been implemented at seven airports/heliports and there are plans to make this implementation more widespread in the future.
The Austrian ANSP was an early adopter of Europe’s SBAS system EGNOS. The first LPV approach procedures for Linz and Graz airports were published in 2014, as part of the GSA-funded FP7 ACCEPTA project, providing Austro Control’s Instrument Flight Procedures team with some valuable early experience. A key pre-requisite for successful implementation was the involvement of all stakeholders from the very beginning of the process.
Buchmann noted that a big advantage for Austria is the fact that the country is located inside the core EGNOS coverage area. Following the initial successful implementation at Linz and Graz, Austro Control has continued to roll-out LPV approaches throughout the country, with a view to increasing operational safety and all-weather accessibility of airports.
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“We will finish EGNOS implementation at the main airports in Austria by the end of this year or next year, but then we will extend it to rotorcraft operations, serving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) bases or hospitals. The first of these approach procedures were implemented in February this year as part of the GSA co-funded project PIONEERS 2 within the Aviation Grant Programme,” Buchmann said. “In the future we will also look into low-level routes for helicopters as well as serving smaller airfields,” he said. In total, three helicopter approaches were designed and validated under the PIONEERS 2 project in Austria - at Oberwart, Bad Vöslay and Allentsteig.
When it comes to rotorcraft operators, the Austro Control representative noted that the best way forward is a coordinated approach at European level. He said that in Austria some operational issues had to be resolved at the national level, but overall the process had been straightforward and the feedback from operators had been extremely positive.
Florian Buchmann, Head of Instrument Flight Procedures at Austro Control
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“The response from general aviation and business aircraft operators has been positive, thanks to the increased accessibility and the high-quality vertical guidance provided by EGNOS. In particular, for HEMS rotorcraft the main benefit is the safe flight operation in adverse weather conditions. If you can keep operations open regardless of the weather, this has a major positive impact in terms of service delivery and medical assistance,” Buchmann said.
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