Satellite guidance tests lead to quieter landings


Significantly quieter helicopter landing procedures have been achieved by a twin-engined Eurocopter EC155 using augmented satellite guidance.

Taking part in the Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator program – part of Europe’s Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative – the flight tests in Marignane, France, involved the use of optimised noise abatement flight paths compatible with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations.

Eurocopter said vertical guidance during landing approaches was provided by the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the European Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), with the helicopter’s Flight Management System (FMS) coupled to the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS). This meant that the new approach profiles could be flown accurately with automatic monitoring of speed profiles and ascent/descent rates, thus minimising pilot workload.

“Improving the neighbour-friendly aspects of rotorcraft continues to be a priority for us, and these new tests underscore how advanced flight guidance systems can be brought together with the latest navigation technologies to reduce perceived sound,” Eurocopter Vice-President of Research Yves Favennec said in a statement.

The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative, which is said to be Europe’s most ambitious aeronautical research program ever, aims to significantly increase the air transport sector’s environmental performance by developing breakthrough technologies that result in quieter and more fuel efficient aeroplanes and helicopters.

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