EUSPA and EASA join hands to bring instrument flying to general aviation with EGNOS

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

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, including business and recreational flights, flight training, or 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 aerodrome 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 the 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.

You can download it here: Safety Assessment Guidelines for the implementation of EGNOS-based instrument approaches to non-instrument runways located at aerodromes serving General Aviation.

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.