The fifth SHERPA Workshop regarding “EGNOS Service Provision” was held on the 02nd July 2013 at European GNSS Agency (GSA) premises in Prague (Czech Republic).
The main topics tackled during this technical Workshop were:
More than 40 attendees participated in this event including representatives of GSA, SHERPA consortium members, EASA, AustroControl (Austrian ANSP), CroControl (Croatian ANSP), Dubrovnik airport and EEGS-2 project consortium.
Last July 3rd ESSP and the Czech ANSP ANS RP signed an EGNOS Working Agreement (EWA) within the frame of the Yearly EGNOS Service Provision Workshop hold in Prague.
ESSP President Dirk Werquin awarded ANS CEO Jan Klas with a Recogniton diploma to seal this agreement.
The signature of the EWA between an ANSP and the ESSP as EGNOS service provider is the first step for LPV procedures implementationat European countries within the EGNOS service area . After the signature, ANSPs are responsible for the EGNOS-based procedures publication within their territories.
Helicopter operations such as offshore, mountain rescue and emergency medical services can dramatically benefit from EGNOS. In particular, EGNOS enhances vertical precision and integrity improving safety, accessibility and efficiency for operators, pilots and helipads across Europa. It leads to a substantial reduction in the decision height, making helipads accessible in poor weather conditions, which makes a significant difference for medical and emergency operations.
The first edition of the European Helicopter Show welcomed more than 20,000 visitors from 9th to 11th May 2013 in Hradec Králové Airport. A dedicated seminar about EGNOS Benefits for Helicopter Operations was held both on 9th and 10th of May. “EGNOS does not depend on any local ground navigation infrastructure at the heliport”, Carlos Hernando, from the European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) explained. He added that EGNOS is in constant evolution to meet user requirements; it is free and is here to stay.
“European helicopter operators and device manufacturers are enthusiastic about EGNOS” said Carmen Aguilera of the European GNSS Agency (GSA), “the experience gained by pioneer users prove clear operational and safety benefits. With more than 130 EGNOS enabled procedures in European airports and the imminent publication of design criteria for such helicopter operations by ICAO, we expect a boost in the adoption also in the rotorcraft community”.
Marc Torres, from Pildo Labs, explained how it works: “These new helicopter IFR (Instrumental Flight Rules) procedures are called Point in Space (PinS). They allow access to heliports in adverse weather conditions. They lead the flight to a specific point in the space from which the crew perform visual manoeuvring to the landing site, without the need of ground infrastructure”.
The EU funded HEDGE-NEXT project is implementing EGNOS specific procedures for helicopters across Europe. As an example, Helicopter low level IFR procedures are being developed in Spain and Poland, demonstrating the benefits to access hospitals in critical conditions. It is a result of effective collaboration between technology provider (Pildo Labs), Air Navigation Service Providers and the Helicopter Operators that will benefit from them.
Helicopter Emergency and Medical Services and Search and Rescue operations are too often penalized because of weather constraints. Previously, operators had to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which faced restriction in such adverse situations. EGNOS improves continuity and regularity of such operators, which is crucial for saving lives.
The message was given by Mieszko Syski from LPR, a Polish Helicopter Emergency and Medical services operator. “Our priority is safety for the client and the pilot: to be safe back home when after take-off the weather doesn’t allow performing the mission. And this is when EGNOS comes into the picture. You can fly safely also at night!”. He added that efficiency is a must for the company and EGNOS allows extending operational capabilities of medical transport with no on-ground equipment costs.
Speaking in the workshop, Trevor Pegrum from Garmin said that EGNOS is a key element of the present avionics and of his company’s view of the future flight management system. He recognised that helicopter operations have unique requirements and have optimised the features of their recognised EGNOS GTN touchscreen avionics for rotorcraft operations. He explained that not only navigation can benefit from SBAS (Satellite based augmentation systems), since it is also an enabler of surveillance applications, terrain awareness and warning systems and will improve traffic management.
The seminar raised the attention and interest of Pilots and HEMS organizations that are nowadays thinking in the upgrade of their operations from VFR to IFR by using GPS and EGNOS.
The European Commission has launched few days ago two initiatives regarding GNSS:
1.Public Consultation on applications of EU satellite navigation programmes (Galileo&EGNOS) : http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/satnav/pubconsult/index_en.htm
Consultation related to the GNSS application Action Plan
2.Call for ideas: the definition of potential GNSS R&D activities funded under Horizon 2020 : http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=6601
Consultation related to GNSS R&D to be financed within Horizon 2020
GNSS stakeholders are welcome to actively participate in both initiatives.
ANSPs from UK and Poland signed the EWA with ESSP
These last months have been very fruitful in terms of collaboration with different European ANSPs, finally materialized by the signature of new EGNOS Working Agreements (EWA); In February ESSP signed the EWA with PANSA, the ANSP from Poland. At the end of March, another EWA was signed with Exeter and Devon Airport Limited (EDAL), an ANSP managing and operating Exeter International Airport in the UK.
“LPV approaches using EGNOS will complement the current precision and non-precision approaches at Exeter International Airport,” said Stephen Wiltshire, EDAL Operations Director “Adding an option to carry out LPV approaches will benefit aircrews wishing to use Exeter.”
The signature of the EWA between an ANSP and the ESSP as EGNOS service provider is the first step for LPV procedures implementation at European countries within the EGNOS service area. After the signature, ANSPs are responsible for the EGNOS-based procedures publication within their territories.