During the upcoming 20 years, there is a well known major surge for pilots in the world. Due to this fact, most pilots will get their first job with a major airline, and hence be directly exposed to an operational environment, including the use of EGNOS, PBN principles and RNP approaches.
The OSM Aviation Academy project was funded under European GNSS Agency’s Aviation Grant Programme for the implementation and use of LPV with the objective to implement EGNOS LPV capability in commercial pilot training.
Note from the editor:
On PBN instrument approach chart titles, the term “RNP” is going to replace the term “RNAV”. RNAV has been used for decades to refer to instrument approach procedures enabled by Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Therefore we have elected to consistently use the term "RNP approaches" in this article. Read more about this change in this document from Eurocontrol (PDF).
List of abbreviations and definitions:
EGNOS - European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service
GBAS - Ground Based Augmenation System
GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite System
LPV - Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance
PBN - Performance Based Navigation
RNAV - Area Navigation
RNP - Required Navigation Performance
SBAS - Satellite Based Augmentation System
WAAS - Wide Area Augmentation System
The importance of EGNOS for initial pilot training
OSM Aviation Academy (OSMAA) is one of the major European flight schools and has trained and educated pilots since 1963. For the last 15 years simulating an airline environment from the first day of pilot education has received increased attention to the point where it has become ingrained in our culture. OSMAA has in collaboration with the professional maintenance organization OSM Aviation Airtech, created a holistic combination of training services, maintenance and technical support, akin to the operational environment of airlines.
OSM Aviation Academy has strong ties to the airline industry and hosts an executive committee meeting four times per year. The committee consists of senior management representatives from several different airlines, such as Norwegian, SAS, BRA (Braathens Regional Airlines), experienced members from government/academia and enrolled student representatives from OSM Aviation Academy.
During the process of seeking the European GNSS Aviation Grant, the member airlines have all agreed that it is of great benefit to implement the full EGNOS concept in the early stages of a pilots career, since doing so will greatly enhance the transition for future pilots from aviation academy to the airlines.
The introduction of GNSS approaches in pilot training will improve the competence and proficiency in the use of modern equipment most likely result in the next generation of pilots gravitating towards more actively requesting GNSS based navigation and approach procedures, thereby contributing to the supply/demand relationship in the aviation industry with a positive pressure for further development.
Overall, the implemented use of LPV and other SBAS methods in flight training will greatly enhance the use of EGNOS in aviation.
Maximising the operational use of EGNOS in aviation
The implementation of SBAS/EGNOS equipment together with the organizational changes (Training Manuals, etc.) will introduce the technical systems and the corresponding operational procedures at an early stage in the pilot careers, fostering the adoption of EGNOS within European airspace. If the next generation of pilots are comfortable with using the SBAS and RNP systems, it puts a positive pressure on the entire aviation industry to continue this development. In the near future and in practical terms, the pilots will be more prone to use the modern systems later in their careers.
Furthermore, it will make the operations more flexible, enabling flights to smaller/medium sized airports using the GNSS technology, where traditional navigational aids are not available, providing a high level of accuracy.
The use of EGNOS will make it possible to access a higher number of airfields during pilot training in the future. It can be assumed that airports without navigational aids today, will be equipped with GNSS-based procedures as an alternative and even as a replacement for older equipment.
During the fall 2018, a satellite base was established in Arendal (Gullknapp ENGK), Norway, where RNP approaches will be the only approved instrument approach procedures. The use of SBAS/EGNOS will consequently greatly enhance the training possibilities at this location.
Furthermore, a retrofit or the aircraft fleet will likely push OSMAA:s homebase in Vaesteras, (Stockholm/Vaesteras airport ESOW) in the right direction. There has been a planned implementation of GNSS based RNP approaches for years, but the project has been postponed several times. As the major operator on the airport, OSMAA expect to have a certain impact to drive development in a positive direction.
As our operation stretches from northern Sweden and Norway (ESNU/ENVA etc.) to southern Sweden (ESMS), our presence and ability to operate with GNSS equipment may also have a positive impact in the country as a whole, promoting further development of RNP approaches.
Our international students, having done their basic flight training in the USA, where SBAS and RNP approach systems are more widely used, will be able to use their experience and continue to operate these systems in Sweden/Europe during their last parts of the training.
Economic and public benefits
With the increased use of RNP approaches, the number of available airfields will increase. In the long run this will decrease the burden at the airfields used today resulting in more evenly distributed noise pollution, hence increasing the acceptance for flight training among the public.
An indirect economical consequence is that the knowledge and skills of the future pilots will increase, ultimately leading to a more efficient form of flying, using points in space as well as the full use of RNP approaches. Less time has to be spent in expensive airline equipment (full flight simulators), teaching the pilots about SBAS functionality as this training will receive more attention during ab-initio training at the flight school.
It is expected by the airline that the newly hired pilots are well aware of and familiar with satellite based approaches. BRA emphases the potential cost saving in having pilots ready for the new equipment directly during hiring. The same airlines states that a common problem area among new airline pilots is the lack of knowledge in the SBAS area.
Implementing LPV training as early as possible during the training will greatly improve both knowledge and skills in this field. Norwegian states the benefit of having the pilots fully aware from the start of their career, with an “RNP mindset” including both flight operational and related ground procedures necessary for satellite based navigation.