Friday, May 13, 2022

AAI successfully conducts flight trials using ‘GAGAN’ ever. Know here what is it

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New Delhi: For the first time in the history of the Indian aviation industry, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has successfully conducted a flight trial using GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation) based LPV approach procedures at Kishangarh Airport, Rajasthan on Thursday. This successful trial is a great achievement and a major milestone in the field of Air Navigation Services (ANS). With landmark achievement, India becomes the first country in Asia Pacific Region to achieve such a landmark.

LPV (Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance) permits aircraft guided approaches that are operationally nearly equivalent to Cat-IILS, without the need for ground-based navigational infrastructure. The service relies on the availability of GPS and GAGAN Geo Stationary Satellites (GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15), launched by ISRO.

GAGAN is an Indian Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) jointly developed by AAI and ISRO. It is the first such system developed for India and neighbouring countries in the equatorial region. GAGAN System was certified by DGCA in 2015 for Approach with Vertical Guidance (APV-1) and en-route (RNP-0.1) operations. There are only four space-based augmentation systems available in the world namely India (GAGAN), US (WAAS) Europe (EGNOS) and Japan (MSAS). GAGAN is the first such system developed for India and neighbouring countries in the equatorial region.

Indigo Airlines using its ATR aircraft has flown an Instrument Approach Procedure (IAP) with LPV minima of 250ft, using GAGAN Service. The tests at Kishangarh Airport were performed as part of initial GAGAN LPV flight trials along with the DGCA team on- board. After the final approval by DGCA, the procedure will be available for the usage on commercial flights.

LPV is a satellite-based procedure which has been used by the aircraft for landing purposes on Thursday at Kishangarh Airport (Rajasthan). LPV approaches will make it possible to land at airports not equipped with expensive Instrument Landing Systems, which includes many small regional and local airports. Lowering the decision height up to 250 feet provides a substantial operational benefit in poor weather and low visibility conditions. Thus, any airport which hitherto would require higher visibility minima will be able to accept aircraft benefitting remote airports which are devoid of precision approach capability equipment.

A number of airports including airports under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) are being surveyed for the development of GAGAN based LPV Instrument Approach Procedures so that suitably equipped aircraft can derive maximum benefit in terms of improved safety during landing, reduction in fuel consumption, reduction in delays, diversions and cancellations etc.

AAI in coordination with Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has implemented the GAGAN Message Service (GMS) through which alert messages to fishermen, formers, and disaster-affected people will be sent on the occurrence of natural disasters, calamities, such as flood, earthquake etc. The additional capabilities of GAGAN are also being explored to utilize it in non-aviation fields such as Railways, Surveying, Agriculture, Power sector, Mining etc.

Design of GAGAN procedures requires a meticulous survey of the airport environment surroundings and obstacle surfaces. These data are correlated with the complex aircraft approach manoeuvres and further simulated in software to ensure the safety of the procedure designed. These procedures can be developed for any of the airport in India for landing without the help of an Instrument Landing System. These types of procedures make aircraft to land in low visibility conditions almost equivalent to Category-1 Instrument Landing System (ILS). Currently Indigo (35), SpiceJet (21), Air India (15), Go First (04), Air Asia (01) and other airlines have aircraft in their fleet capable to use these LPV procedures.

AAI has developed 22 such procedures and some are under process of approval from DGCA for commercial flight operations. In line with the initiative of Atam Nirbhar Bharat, the development of LPV procedures for all civil airports is also in progress to make the Indian civil aviation sector more Self-Reliant,

AAI is making all efforts for ensuring the availability, continuity and integrity of Air Navigation services through such technological enhancement in India. With this India becomes the first country in Asia to have a satellite-based landing procedure.

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