Egnos Civil Aviation Roadmap
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that is used to improve the performance of the global positioning system (GPS).
Such infrastructure is an opportunity for ENAV, the Italian provider of navigation services, to implement new Local Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV) flight procedures and new low level routs with performance based navigation (PBN) standards in the Italian airspace.
Main objectives of this technical proposal named ECARO (Egnos Civil Aviation ROadmap) is the development of flight and approach procedures based on EGNOS navigation signal and appropriate receiving devices and it will give a significant contribution towards EGNOS exploitation in Europe, in particular for rotorcraft operation and RPAS operations. The project has the main objectives of:
- Preparation and publication of RNP APCH procedures for Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance -RNP 0.3 LPV200 in four airports: Bari-Palese, Genova-Sestri, Torino-Caselle, Trieste.
- Preparation and publication of three Low Level Routes (tirrenica, Adriatica, appenninica) for rotorcraft operations.
- Preparation and publication of RNP APCH flight procedures for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) for the airport of Grottaglie and assessment of threats to EGNOS service coming from electromagnetic fields.
- RPAS operations: developed around Grottaglie airport that is Apulian Center of excellence for RPAS flight trials. The activities of LPV implementation will be extended with a study of the impacts of voluntary and non-voluntary interferences on the EGNOS signal and the vulnerability effects on EGNOS devices.
- Airports: all the activities (obstacle assessment, design, validation, safety and training) needed to enable publication into AIP of the RNP APCH for the selected airports
- Rotorcraft Network: all the activities (obstacle assessment, design, validation, safety and training) needed to enable publication into AIP of the low-level route network and Airgreen retrofit activities.
Benefits related to airport accessibility
In general, RNP approaches supports the reduction of the number of operational disruptions during periods of bad weather conditions or where ILS is unavailable. This may occur at airports without ILS capability or where the ILS is out of service or available only for one runway end. The improvement in terms of the operational minima enabled by RNP approach can allow the aircraft to land at an airport where it would otherwise encounter a disruption. This may occur during periods where a combination of low cloud ceiling or reduced runway visibility and current published minima would result in a failure to see the runway in advance of the missed approach point by the pilot.
In relation to the scenario selected, the operational benefits can be summarized as follows:
Enhanced Safety in terms of reducing the probability of Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents, enabling Continuous Descent Final Approach (CDFA);
- Increased Safety for airports where there are no precision approaches, removing also the need for circling approaches;
- Minima reduction;
- Increased airport accessibility with particular terrain constraints;
Benefits related to rotorcraft flights.
The main advantage coming from the development of low level routes networks specifically addresses the enhancement of safety performances concerning helicopters operations:
- Enhanced Safety in conducting helicopters operation along pre-defined routes separated from obstacles and terrain;
- Increase in number of operations, being less dependent on meteorological conditions;
- Use of modern helicopters PBN capabilities, leading to safer flight and to pilot workload reduction;
Benefits related to the development of RPAS segment.
The development of RNP APCH instrument flight procedures for the airport of Grottaglie, associated with the study of the impact of interferences on the EGNOS signal will enable the exploitation of the EGNOS-based navigation services for RPAS operation and the advancement toward the RPAS insertion into European Air Traffic Network. The project outcomes are expected to deliver several impacts in this respect:
- Development of knowledge, skills and know-how about RPAS flight procedures.
- Enhanced safety of the airport so that probability of accidents (Controlled Flight Into Terrain – CFIT) are reduced while new smoother trajectories are enabled,
- Increased capacity to validate innovative civil applications of RPAS,
- Increased capacity for emergency management RPAS flights,
Satellite approach procedure validated in Grottaglie airport
A milestone achieved for ECARO project funded by GSA under the programme EGNOS Adoption in Aviation.
Last 11/01/2021 ENAV completed the GNSS flight validation of an EGNOS-based approach procedure for the Grottaglie airport. The procedure, similar to an ILS Cat.I in terms of performance, will be published on AIP in the next months and so available for all airspace users. The procedure is a relevant experimental asset for the Grottaglie airport where a number of flight trials are already planned in the years 2021/22 and nested in national and EU research and innovation projects led, or participated, by DTA.
In the near future two more objectives of the ECARO project will be realized completing the part related to the development of capacity in the satellite navigation of RPAS: the installation of a GNSS interference monitoring system and, in June 2021, the RPAS flight trials demonstrating the benefits of E-GNSS supporting navigation.
The Grottaglie airport was dedicated in 2014 by Italian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure to support aerospace industry development and growth, since then ENAC authorized experimental flights with UAS and ENAV (Italian ANSP) assigned segregable air spaces. In the following years, DTA has launched several R&D projects and built a network of partners and a Drone Living Lab (with Comune di Bari and ENAC) aimed at developing knowledge and capacity in RPAS flight, services and regulations.
The project ECARO, partially funded by GSA, the European GNSS Agency, was launched by ENAV with the objective to increase EGNOS-based routes in Italy in selected airports, Grottaglie airport one of them, with GNSS approach procedures.
ENAV, that recognized, and is exploiting, the value of the Grottaglie experimental airport to develop its capacity in the UAS market sector, leading the ECARO project, is contributing to increase the experimentation capacity of the same airport. The objective, which is the final objective of the DTA programme Grottaglie Airport Test bed, will be achieved by creating conditions for experimenting safe and secure real RPAS flights in a segregated air space, providing flight experimentation services. The GNSS-based procedures will enable experimentation of GNSS navigation capacity of RPAS and its related benefits in terms of performances and safety.
Two more outcomes, in line with the Grottaglie Airport Test Bed objective, are to be achieved with ECARO project. The first one will be realized mainly by Planetek Italia, that is going to deploy a prototype system to monitor GNSS signals looking for interferences created by any potential sources in the neighborhood of the experimentation area. Such a service will support RPAS operator in assessing and monitoring security of flight operations and in validating flight experimental conditions. The second objective, to be achieved next June 2021, is related with the real RPAS flights. DTA, UMS Skeldar and ENAV are already preparing the flight authorization documentation to be submitted at ENAC. The flight profile was already designed and a detailed risk assessment is quite completed in line with the Italian regulation issued early this year in implementing the EU regulation. The flight trials will be operated by UMS Skeldar with the VTOL RPAS V150, equipped with a right GNSS receiver.
The RPAS operation context is a really dynamic one and the ECARO project will contribute to increase national and EU innovation in the GNSS navigation capacity of RPAS so pushing the development of that market sector by improving safety and security of flight operations.
Project presentation to ENAC Personnel
Rome, May, 18th, 2020. With a remote conference call the project ECARO was presented to ENAC. After 9 months since the start of the project and in spite of difficulties and limitation due to the COVID-19 emergency management, ENAV together with Airgreen and DTA, has presented project objectives, status of activities, achieved and expected results to a delegation of ENAC personnel directly interested to project themes.
During the discussion, ECARO partners highlighted the strategic relevance for Italy of the development of new low level routes for helicopters, Tirrenica, Appenninica and Adriatica, enabled by European satellite system EGNOS. The needs were collected by ENAV through a survey during a national event participated by many operators of helicopter rescue service and by end users of such a service.
In addition to that, ECARO project will realize experimentation and demonstration activities of airport approach procedures based on EGNSS (EGNOS and GALILEO) also for remotely piloted aircraft. These experimental and demonstrative activities are framed in the programme Grottaglie Airport Test Bed launched by DTA.
As conclusion of the meeting, it was decided to launch technical workgroups to share and discuss results about routes for helicopters and trials with remotely piloted aircraft system. Through the workgroups project results will be finalized and demonstration and validation will be accurately planned and operated.
ECARO project is co-funded by GSA through the call EGNOS adoption in Aviation.