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Members query EGNOS status at Land's End


Members queried the readiness of satellite landing technology EGNOS at Land's End Airport at last night's Full Council meeting.

The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is designed to help planes land at times of reduced cloud base or visibility.

Cllr Steve SIms, Lead Member for Place, revealed at the meeting that Land's End will need to "reapply for dispensation for the GNSS system approach training, which is primarily aimed at the Air Traffic Controllers at both Land's End (LEQ) and Isles of Scilly Airport (ISC) to ensure the inter-operability at the procedures. Again this is more centred on ISC Air Traffic Control as the Approach Unit."

Skybus crews require to be trained and pass an examination and have the rating on their licenses to be able to conduct GNSS and Satellite Based Augmention System (SBAS) approaches.

He continued: "There are no time frames currently set, however it looks like Land's End will request an Air Navigation Order exemption at the end of October to conduct training, as soon as the Chief Pilot is in a position to guarantee training time to aircrews. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will impose a time limitation on this and after this period a decision will be made as to whether Land's End can publish and operate these procedures or not in full."

When Cllr Ted Moulson asked why Land's End needs to reapply, Cllr Sims replied that "they haven't got the training in and they’ve overrun".

Explaining the situation on St Mary's further, Senior Manager for Infrastructure & Planning Craig Dryden said: "With two of our runways, we're going through an impact assessment so that should be relatively straightforward. That's with the CAA at the moment. Having said that, even after that process there’ll still have to be training, particularly for ATC and pilots.

"For the other two runways, it’s slightly more complex in that we did some consultation a couple of years ago but because regulations have changed we have to go back out for consultation. The reason we don't have to go out for consultation for the other two runways is largely because those runways face out over open water so the impacts will be less. We already have got some instrument approach procedures for those two runways in any event."

He added: "At the moment from our perspective, we’re very much within the regulations and timescales of the CAA. At the moment there are unknowns in terms of the timeframe."

Cllr Robert Dorrien-Smith said: "Am I right in thinking that if St Mary’s does manage to conform to all the necessary CAA tests and regulations and safety cases but the departure point for aircraft does not conform that it is of actually very limited use because basically I would imagine pilots have to be trained on both ends of the route to make it an effective aid? Is that correct?"

Craig responded: "I would say so, but actually in spite of the training issues at Land's End, because of the consultation process to two of those runways, I would say that probably Land's End is slightly ahead of us but I’d have to refer back for more technical advice from the Airport Manager."

Cllr Dorrien-Smith said: "So as it stands at the moment there basically are no digital landing aids at Land's End or St Mary's and no particular timeframe for achieving either of those because they are subject to consultation and the CAA regulation?"

Craig agreed that "there is an element of uncertainty absolutely".

Cllr Moulson then said: "Just for the record my question about the delay was entirely about Land’s End because we in the past have been led to believe that Land's End was virtually up and ready to go…that was why I made the point and requested information about why there was going to be a delay at Land's End because we had been led to believe that they were ahead of the curve."

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