EUSPA and EASA join hands to bring instrument flying to general aviation with EGNOS
Small EU aerodromes and airfields used for recreational aviation can rely on EGNOS to become safer and more accessible. EUSPA, EASA, and the aviation industry joint effort yielded a second publication offering Safety Assessment Guidelines to General Aviation operators.
General Aviation encompasses a wide range of aerial activities from private and recreational aviation to flight training, and flying clubs, among others. Approximately 350,000 aircraft and 700,000 pilots are involved in these activities worldwide, according to IAOPA Europe, which is the European branch of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA). General Aviation flights are usually dispatched from small aerodromes with non-instrument runways where pilots can only land using Visual Flight Rules (VFR), weather permitting. In many cases, these aerodromes do not offer Air Traffic Services (ATS).
General Aviation aerodromes usually rely on only VFR operations and have limited ground infrastructure. EGNOS is a perfect technology to enable the implementation of Instrument Flight Procedures for the general aviation community that brings additional operational and safety benefits without the need to invest in ground navigation and additional infrastructure. Even though the General Aviation (GA) community undertakes millions of flights on aircraft equipped with GNSS-receivers, it is not taking full advantage of the technology.
Following the publication of (GNSS-based) Instrument Flight Procedures implementation for General Aviation Uncontrolled Aerodromes and non-instrument runways, in 2019, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published today guidelines for developing a safety assessment for GNSS-based IFR operations at General Aviation.
The present document is intended to be a supportive guidance material to ease the undertaking of the safety assessment-related activities in the local implementation process of EGNOS-based approaches in General Aviation operations. The target audience of this document is mainly the Airspace Change Initiator, but it also comprises airspace users, aerodrome operators, aerodrome owners, and National Competent Authorities (NCAs) willing to support the implementation of IFP procedures based on the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) in a General Aviation environment.
“I would like to salute the excellent cooperation between EASA and EUSPA teams in the development of these guidelines. The material an important element for achieving one of the key objectives of EASA General Aviation (GA) Roadmap – to allow safer, efficient and sustainable GA IFR operations in Europe,” said Dominique Roland, Champion for the GA roadmap project at EASA.
“This is another important step to facilitate EGNOS implementation in small general aviation aerodromes. EGNOS can enable landing with instrument guidance to non-instrumented aerodromes where now it is possible to land just visually. This material is an outcome of a great cooperation of EUSPA with EASA. The general aviation community and stakeholders supported us via their active participation in our working groups.” said Fiammetta Diani, Head of Market Development Department at EUSPA.
Why EGNOS is the future?
SBAS is becoming the favourite technology for both airlines and airports across the globe. In Europe only, more than 400 airports use EGNOS and the trend is on the rise. The provision of EGNOS services to airfields and aerodromes not equipped with conventional navigation aids increases aviation safety and airport accessibility, especially in remote regions. Accessible airports equal more opportunities for leisure and new flight routes at a regional level with minimum costs for ground infrastructure and its maintenance.
EGNOS guarantees safer approaches for the crew and the passengers while lowering the percentage of go-arounds due to poor visibility. As more and more SBASs switch to multi-constellation/multifrequency (notably benefiting from Galileo), the SBAS services offer greater availability to users while guaranteeing integrity to comply with aviation stringent regulations.
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