Challenging EGNOS in the Swiss Alps
In view of the operational validation of EGNOS, some early tests are being performed with the EGNOS System Test Bed (ESTB). This prototype has been broadcasting an EGNOS-like signal since early 2000. The performance of ESTB is reduced compared to the full deployed EGNOS, but it gives the opportunity to test EGNOS equipment and gain experience. Eurocontrol, skyguide and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) are active in data collection and analysis in order to study the signal-in-space performance for the civil aviation users. The objective of this work was to analyse the system’s performance during flight tests in the Swiss Alps where the topography is a challenge for satellite-based navigation systems. Sion regional airport was selected for its location in a valley surrounded by very high mountains. Moreover, the use of EGNOS on regional places is expected to bring significant operational benefits. A new GNSS procedure including both the approach and a special missed-approach with a 89° turn in the valley was designed for these tests. A total of 13 approaches and missed-approaches were flown in November 2002 by a Dornier 128 belonging to the Technical University of Braunschweig (TUBS) and a King Air 100 belonging to SENASA (Sociedad para las Enseñanzas Aeronáuticas Civiles S.A.). Around 8 hours of data were recorded from different receivers on the ground and in the air. This paper shows that the accuracy and integrity obtained during the tests with the EGNOS System Test Bed fulfils the stringent requirements of civil aviation even in a difficult environment. However, some progress still has to be made on the availability and continuity parameters. This will be the case once the real EGNOS will be operational. It also demonstrates that EGNOS-based procedures are feasible and that it could bring important operational benefits to regional places with a limited ground navigation infrastructure.