Brussels, 28 Feb 2003
The first African trials of the European global navigation overlay service (EGNOS) took place on board flights into the Senegalese capital of Dakar between 24 and 26 February.
The tests, organised through cooperation between the European Space Agency, the European Commission, and ASECNA (the agency for aviation navigational safety in Africa and Madagascar), were carried out to demonstrate how the planned provision of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) services over Central Africa would work in practice.
The Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) States have adopted a three phase strategy to implement GNSS services in the region. A key element in this strategy is the provision of onboard 'approach with vertical guidance' (APV-1) information to ensure safer aviation.
In order to test such a system, a portable EGNOS test station was installed at Dakar airport and connected to the EGNOS test bed. An aircraft was fitted with test bed user equipment, which gave pilots enhanced navigation information enabling them to perform approaches.
This is the first time that such a system has been deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, and has promising implications for the provision of EGNOS services outside the European civil aviation conference region.
The Central African test bed will be followed by others in Southern and Eastern Africa. More extended trials and an associated GNSS workshop, planned for May in Yaoundé, Cameroon, are expected to bring together all participants in the region to raise awareness of the potential of GNSS services.
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