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Austro Control Adopts Innovative EGNOS Satellite Technology

7 February 2014

Since the start of 2014, improved and more precise approach flight procedures using the innovative EGNOS satellite technology have also been possible in Austria. Austro Control has published the first EGNOS-supported approach procedures for Linz and Graz airports. The introduction of the new system was funded under the European Accepta Project. 

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is an augmentation system for existing satellite navigation, and allows for even greater positional accuracy in GPS navigation. This satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) is a state-of-the-art navigation technology, and has been certified for use in aviation applications in Europe since March 2011. Comparable systems are also in place in the USA and Japan, and all three systems are fully compatible in terms of functionality. 

EGNOS approach flights enjoy greater positional accuracy in comparison with those that rely on existing GPS signals, and because of the greater horizontal and vertical precision in the final approach, they also deliver significant safety improvements. The new generation of satellite-supported approach flights is especially important for general aviation, because it will now be possible to take advantage of these extremely high quality approach procedures using relatively cheap avionic solutions. 

The enhanced precision of the new EGNOS procedures makes them the highest-quality back-up currently available for existing instrument landing systems (ILSs). As a result the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) now requires GPS procedures to be prepared for all runway alignments by 2016. EGNOS is intended as the main technology to be used for this purpose. 

Austro Control plans to publish additional EGNOS approach procedures in the near future. Each individual procedure is designed to precise standards and reviewed for technical safety by Austro Control’s Instrument Flight Procedures Team, and must also be subject to in-flight testing before publication. In-flight testing of the procedures published to date has been carried out in collaboration with Austrian aircraft manufacturer Diamond Aircraft. 

EGNOS is operated on behalf of the European Union by European Satellite Service Provider (ESSP), and is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Eurocontrol. Austro Control signed a licensing agreement for EGNOS in June 2012 and immediately began with the preparation and implementation of the procedures. 

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