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Supporting safe satellite-based rotorcraft operations

SAMU helicopter on a helipad.

EUROCONTROL has just released two Safety Cases for helicopter Point in Space (PinS) and Low-Level Routes (LLR) flight operations.

The two generic Safety Cases and related Guidance Material are now endorsed by EASA and were developed within the FLAG Helicopter Group to address satellite navigation based operations of helicopters in instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions in support of critical and public service operations.

Helicopter low level route operations in controlled and uncontrolled airspace

Helicopter point in space operations in controlled and uncontrolled airspace

Helicopter point in space operations in controlled and uncontrolled airspace

Helicopter low level route operations in controlled and uncontrolled airspace

The FLAG was originally established under the 5-Lives project co-funded by GSA within the Horizon 2020 programme with the aim to bring helicopter operators and national aviation authorities together to promote and harmonize the implementation of EGNSS operations for rotorcraft in Europe. The group is now composed of European helicopter operators and manufacturers, ANSPs, regulatory and national aviation authorities and supported by EUROCONTROL, the GSA and EASA.

In collaboration with all stakeholders the group has developed a three-year work programme for implementation and support of satellite-based rotorcraft operations and is acting as a leading European panel for this type of operations. EUROCONTROL is co-chairing and lead contributor to the group.

The teams below were involved in the development of the generic safety cases and the further work activities:

  • EUROCONTROL safety lead;
  • Aviation Authorities: the Portuguese Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), the French Directorate for Civil Aviation Safety (DSAC), the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA);
  • Helicopter operators: REGA (Switzerland); Norskluftambulanse (Norway); BABCOCK France, Spain, Portugal, Italy; Nucleo Elicotteri and Airgreen (Italy);  BMI (Austria); Sécurité Civile (France); OEAMTC (Austria);
  • Helicopter manufacturers: AIRBUS and LEONARDO;
  • Air navigation service providers: AUSTROCONTROL; DSNA; ENAV, Skyguide and NAV Portugal;
  • Engineering and coordination: PildoLabs.

A series of operations and safety workshops have been held to consolidate the safety and guidance Material while at the same time coordinating with EASA and ICAO All-Weather and Flight Operations Panels for cross reviews, contributions and further cooperation.

Learn more about our GNSS support activities