Satellite navigation has become an integral part of our lives today. an area where satellite navigation plays a major role is air traffic control. for this safety-critical domain European Space Agency, ESA, the European Commission and euro control, the European Organization for the safety of air navigation developed EGNOS, which has been in use since 2011 and augments the existing GPS system. this increases the accuracy and the integrity of the position computed by the user. nowadays it has become an extremely reliable tool for pilots, helping them cope with whatever flying conditions there face.
IN Denmark bad weather or limited visibility is something that these air ambulances or rescue helicopters are confronted with all too often. before EGNOS up to ten percent of the missions had to be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. a tragedy for patients whose safe and timely arrival at a hospital was often a matter of life or death. now with EGNOS three geostationary satellites and a ground segment are working together to send an integrity signal to receivers in aircraft and helicopters. this increases the accuracy of the satellite navigation data to one and a half meters. guaranteeing its quality and improving vertical positioning. for instance the Swiss Air Rescue Service whom fly over 11,000 missions a year equipped their helicopters with the new technology anticipating a nationwide adaptation of EGNOS.
EGNOS is also relevant for civil aviation as it can replace the traditional ground guidance systems needed for aircraft to land, providing and saving in the costs of local airport infrastructure, that euro control experts are convinced. EGNOS offers many benefits for aviation in Europe. EGNOS can provide a more efficient service than we had in the past, including improving access to certain airports in adverse weather conditions, so better punctuality, fewer delays and less diversions to alternative airports. more and more airports in Europe are now certified for landing approaches based on EGNOS. and what is happening in air traffic management will surely be extended in many other applications that need to rely on guaranteed satellite navigation signals. EGNOS augment both gps and galileo navigation data relying on two constellations will further improve its performances and reliability.