NetJets Europe has played a key role in landing an aircraft using satellite navigation only. A first for Germany, the passenger aircraft used a new satellite-based precision approach procedure without the aid of the conventional ground-based navigation infrastructure to touch down at Bremen airport. This was made possible by EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that supplements GPS and other satellite navigation systems. It improves the position accuracy of GPS from 10-20 metres to one to three metres. Bremen is the first airport in Germany to have implemented a precision approach procedure using SBAS.
Approved by ICAO under the LPV 200 name, the SBAS precision approach procedure can be implemented in poor visibility for CAT I weather conditions, one of three levels of all-weather operations. The pilot is guided down to a height of 200 feet above ground, using satellite-based technology that guides the aircraft horizontally and vertically. When the pilot has the runway in sight, it is safe to land.
Up until now, it has only been possible to guide aircraft to decision height by means of ground-based systems such as ILS or systems such as GBAS, which supplement the satellite guidance with a ground-based station. The new technology offers clear advantages compared to conventional approach procedures. In addition to being an extremely precise alternative to ILS, SBAS does not require ground infrastructure that is expensive to operate and requires a lot of maintenance.
This project demonstrated new approach and landing operations, such as the design of more efficient approach trajectories, as well as the demonstration of better accessibility using augmented vision technologies. LPV 200 is supporting all these potential improvements.