ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Commercial, Embedded Avionics

SESAR Launches Major Flight Demonstration Project for Augmented Approaches

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | December 23, 2014
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[Avionics Today 12-23-2014] A new consortium formed by the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) will perform more than 200 demonstration flights at airports throughout Europe to validate new approach and landing technologies. The new consortium, called Advanced Approaches for all Airports (A3), is looking to use the demonstration flights to develop new approach and landing solutions that will increase air traffic throughput while also reducing aircraft emissions and noise over communities located near airports throughout Europe. 
Computer rendering of an RNP approach into an airport runway. Photo: Hughes Aerospace.
NetJets Europe is leading A3’s demonstration flights, named the Augmented Approaches to Land project (AAL). The project will use advanced approach and landing procedures based on five different technologies; curved Required Navigation Performance paths (RNP), Ground and Satellite-based Augmentation Systems (GBAS and SBAS), Synthetic Vision Guidance System (SVGS), and Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS).
These different approaches provide benefits for operators with more efficient flight paths into airports, as well as the airport itself, as they eliminate reliance on inflexible ground-based Instrument Landing System (ILS) equipment. GBAS systems are designed for aircraft equipped with GPS landing system technology, which most current production Airbus and Boeing airplanes feature. 
“It will demonstrate that augmented vision and satellite-based augmented navigation can improve the access while reducing the environmental impact of all types of airspace users into all types of airports,” said Jean-Phillippe Ramu, SESAR project manager, second in command Gulfstream V/550 at NetJets Europe. “We believe that the project will show what will be the approach and landing operations of tomorrow.”
One of the more progressive aspects of the demonstration will be the trials that feature the use of synthetic vision technology. SVGS technology, such as Honeywell’s SmartView system, provides a three-dimensional view of an airborne aircraft’s surrounding terrain, obstacles, airports and runways. Honeywell has applied for a Supplemental Type Certificate for SmartVision Lower Minimums (SVLM) that, if certified, would allow pilots to navigate using synthetic vision down to a 150 feet decision height with visibility as low as 1,400 feet.
Curved noise abatement Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures with transitions to satellite navigation based approaches (GBAS and SBAS) will be demonstrated during the trials. A3 also has a goal of developing and publishing new airport procedures during the demonstration period. 
Deploying more Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures, such as those mentioned above, is one of the top goals of the overarching Single European Sky project in Europe and the NextGen Air Traffic Management (ATM) modernization project in the United States. During a recent interview with Avionics Magazine, Chris Baur, president and CEO of Hughes Aerospace Corp., discussed the benefits of eliminating operator and airport reliance on ILS equipment. In 2013, Hughes lead the effort to establish the first public RNP procedure at the world’s busiest airport, Chicago O’Hare.
“There’s really no business case for legacy navaids anymore. Its just a horrific expense, you have to constantly calibrate them, validate them, maintain them, and you’re limited as to how you can operate,” said Baur, who is also a commercial airline pilot.
“Everything with these legacy navaids is also linear you have to fly out to catch your radio beam and track it inbound. The GBAS, the [GNSS Landing System] GLS approaches, the RNP approaches, the PBN catch all eliminates all of that,” he said.
Honeywell and Elbit Systems will be supplying the avionics for the demonstrations, while Dassault Aviation and Airbus will provide airframe manufacturer and aircraft systems support. Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines will also participate in the demonstration flights, which will occur at small and medium airports including Perigueux, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Ostrava and Bremen, as well as large airports Frankfurt and Zurich. 

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