Adapting satellite technologies for general aviation operations

- Madrid, Spain

A recently-started SESAR project called GAINS – General Aviation Improved Navigation and Surveillance, coordinated by aviation consultancy Helios, aims to demonstrate how concepts enabled by Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and EGNOS for scheduled airlines can be adapted for use by the general aviation community.

Co-funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the two-year project is being overseen by a consortium including representatives from the general aviation (GA) community AOPA UK, Pildo Labs, Funke Avionics and Trig Avionics.

Concepts being addressed include electronic visibility and instrument flight procedures to meet the needs of GA, including both fixed wing and rotorcraft.

Helios Project Director Philip Church comments: “General aviation, has more than 100,000 users in Europe. GAINS aims to demonstrate to the wider aviation community how improvements being developed for scheduled carriers can be adapted to enhance GA operations without prohibitive cost or certification requirements. The project aims to demonstrate, through live flying exercises, the ability of GA to employ new technology and procedures in flight. It also aims to test the viability of adapting SESAR solutions to improve GA’s operations and integration within a variety of operational contexts and environments.”

The flights undertaken are intended to demonstrate to the wider GA community the benefits of these technologies and collect evidence on performance of these technologies within the typical operational environments of GA. They will also support regulatory adaptations with the certification authorities to enable wider deployment and demonstrate the deployment of SESAR solutions to enable integration of all airspace users. This is expected to contribute to better integration of GA at controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes, as well as improving safety, efficiency and predictability of operations. It may also make possible the provision of basic air traffic services at aerodromes where this is normally not economically viable.

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