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Aviation industry gears ups for EGNOS launch

Brussels, Belgium: The aviation industry is preparing to use European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) once it is certified for the sector later this year, according to speakers at Galileo Application Days in Brussels, Belgium.

The aviation sector is one of the primary reasons EGNOS was launched by the European Community. The EGNOS open signal became operational in October 2009. “The safety-of-life signal is expected to be certified for use in civil aviation later this year. About 40 EGNOS procedures for landing aircraft with EGNOS have been designed in France in preparation for when the satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) can be used,” said Hans de With, Market Development Officer with the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA). “The European Commission is dedicated to extending EGNOS geographically and a range of organisations – including the GSA – are working to facilitate its market adoption,” he continued.

Studies have shown that the full adoption of EGNOS-enabled flight procedures, such as localised performance with vertical guidance (LPV), could produce savings of up to EUR 4 billion in Europe.

Okko Bleeker, the director of Rockwell Collins’ research and development in Europe, said, “With EGNOS there is no need for RAIM (Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) as EGNOS tells us the integrity already. EGNOS provides better availability and better position reporting. However, any participants in such a predictive system must use common clocks that are coherent and closely synchronised.”

Pierluigi Parente, an avionics systems engineer with Augusta Westland, described the special requirements needed for helicopter operations. He said, “Helicopters require operational flexibility. Current air traffic management systems do not differentiate between rotocraft and fixed wing.” He suggested that SBAS systems like EGNOS could allow specific procedures for helicopter operations that would increase operational efficiency. Such procedures were being tested with a 370 kilometre long low-level helicopter route recently developed between Turin and Venice.

EGNOS is Europe’s pre- Galileo system. It improves the accuracy of the open public service offered by GPS. Galileo is scheduled to become operational in 2014. Fully interoperable with the USA’s GPS and Russia’s GLONASS systems, it will provide highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning services.

Source: EGNOS