[Avionics Today 01-16-2015] NetJets Europe is leading the efforts of a 15-company, eight-country alliance uniting to validate the ability of augmented vision and satellite-based navigation technologies to improve access into a range of airports. The Advanced Approaches for all Airports (A3) consortium was formed by the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) program. Through the end of 2016, the consortium plans on performing 200 total demonstration flights that represent what commercial and business aviation operations will look like under the united Single European Sky program.
The Airbus A380 cockpit. The Airbus A380 will be one of the airplanes performing the demonstration flights for the AAL project. Photo: Airbus.
"NetJets does not plan to execute any of the demonstrations. NetJets’ role is to coordinate the project vis-a-vis the SESAR Joint Undertaking, and to ensure the operational relevance of the demonstrations," Jean-Philippe Ramu, SESAR project manager at NetJets Europe told Avionics Magazine. "The project will last for two years, with demonstration results expected for Q2/Q3 2016."
The majority of 2015 will consist of preparation for the demonstrations, Ramu said. Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines will perform the demonstration flights themselves, which are expected to begin in 2016, using Airbus A320, A380 and Boeing 747-800 aircraft. Honeywell and Dassault test pilots will represent business aviation airspace users using a Dassault Falcon 900 and Dassault Falcon 7X respectively.
The advanced procedures tested during the demonstrations will be based on five different technologies: Required Navigation Performance (RNP) paths, Ground and Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (GBAS and SBAS), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) and Synthetic Vision Guidance Systems (SVGS). The synthetic vision demonstration flights will prove especially beneficial for enhanced landings for pilots, as those flights will demonstrate an operational credit that reduces a pilot's traditional decision height by 50 feet.
"For example, for an [Instrument Landing System Category 1] ILS CAT I with a decision height of 200 feet, they want to demonstrate operational credit to be able to go down to a decision height of 150 feet above ground level," said Ramu. "This operational credit is foreseen through an independent cross check of the aircraft vertical glide slope or the flight path that is displayed on the synthetic vision. With better accuracy [and] with better situational awareness they want to be able to demonstrate this possible operational credit."
Procedural design for the Augmented Approaches to Land (AAL) project will be provided by Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, Skyguide and Airbus ProSky, among others.
Rather than focusing on one particular set of advanced avionics technologies, Ramu says the project seeks to prove the operational concepts of a range of different technologies complementing each other. That's what NetJets Europe and others involved in the project hope to see as a result of the demonstration flights. The aim is that operators will see the fuel and emission reductions along with the safety benefits of these procedures and start to use them in the near future.
"The Augmented Approaches to Land project's strength is not to focus on one technology, but to consider the complementarities between several up-coming approach and landing technologies. [Global Navigation Satellite Systems] GNSS for the navigation and augmented reality for the instruments are always further integrated in the design of modern cockpit," said Ramu. "Tomorrow, a super heavy commercial airline will operate a zero visibility automatic landing at a hub using GBAS technology, while the pilot is supported by enhanced and synthetic vision for effective situational awareness. A business jet will fly a stable precision approach at any small airport thanks to SBAS technology, and fly a zero visibility manual landing supported by enhanced and synthetic vision. What is really interesting, and a game changer, is what these technologies can do together."
The NetJets Europe SESAR project manager also wants the project to result in European regulators establishing a regulatory framework, which will incentivize airspace users in Europe to invest more in these technologies and procedures, as well.
"I am confident that these projects will further convince the broader community that the first SESAR solutions are now fit for wider scale deployment," Florian Guillermet, executive director of SESAR, said of the AAL project.