Eurocopter, September 12, 2013 - 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.
About Eurocopter: Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 22,000 people. In 2012, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion Euros, orders for 469 new helicopters and a 44 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter’s worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports more than 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,780 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 148 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.