Improved safety in poor visibility conditions is an advantage that pilots at Eurocopter in Donauwörth are now able to enjoy. The onsite helicopter landing pad at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Germany is the first helipad in Europe to make use of Localizer Performance with Vertical (LPV) guidance, a highly precise, GPS-supported instrument approach procedure.
The new procedure supplements conventional lateral guidance systems by adding the vertical component, which enables approach guidance to be displayed in 3D for the first time. This improved guidance relieves the strain on pilots and increases safety, since obstacles can be flown over safely even when visibility conditions are poor.
The license permitting LPV approaches to the helipad also means Eurocopter in Donauwörth can use the new procedure when testing and approving the latest navigation systems for use in its helicopters. Eurocopter is currently conducting these tests using its twin-engine EC135 and EC145 T2 helicopters.
The Group’s international customers stand to benefit from these improved conditions for landing approaches, as they can now take off and land even in bad weather. Eurocopter also offers its customers training courses for the new system. The LPV instrument approach procedure is based on the European Geostationary Navigation Overlapping Service (EGNOS) satellite-based format, which augments the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNNS) to allow three-dimensional positioning.
Use of the LPV approach is further testimony to Eurocopter’s comprehensive expertise in cutting-edge helicopter landing pad technology. Even before LPV was introduced, the Group was already pioneering the use of innovative approach procedures. In 2008, for example, Donauwörth became the first European helipad to introduce satellite-based RNAV (area navigation) specifically for use by helicopters and recently, Eurocopter in Marignane successfully approved new landing procedures relying on augmented satellite guidance allowing lower sound level footprints.
Furthermore, Eurocopter’s special on-site helicopter landing pad, which welcomes some 6,000 take-offs and landings a year, is one of the few helipads in the world to have been certified as suitable for all-weather operations in line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.
Source / Author: Eurocopter