EFLA aerodrome published the first-ever LPV to a Non-Instrument Runway End (NIRE) in Class G airspace.

Friday, October 06, 2023
Runway view from an airplane

In January 2023, the Lahti-Vesivehmaa Aerodrome (ICAO code: EFLA), located in southern Finland, two hours to the north of Helsinki, published the first LPV procedure to a Non-Instrument Runway End (NIRE) in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace in Europe; thus, becoming pioneers on the matter and paving the way for many other procedures to come.

EFLA aerodrome has been in operation for over 80 years. Originally built for military purposes, it has been primarily utilized by General Aviation pilots flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and from January 2023 for also pilots under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Located in Class G airspace, the aerodrome site is particularly convenient for flight schools. In fact, it was the flight schools themselves who requested the publication of the LPV procedure. This was done to enhance the availability of the aerodrome, provide the opportunity for pilots to train in aircraft with LPV capability and derive other benefits that can be brought by its use, such as the improvement in safety.

Quote: “The most important advantage for flight schools at the aerodrome was the vertical guidance provided by EGNOS.” By Aki Suokas.

After discussing the topic with the aerodrome operator and Fintraffic ANS, the main Finnish Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), it was interesting to see how the aerodrome has been accommodating their capabilities over the years in order to satisfy applicable requirements for the type of operation they intended to carry out at each point in time. At the beginning, the runway was only certified for VFR operations. However, in 2022, the national regulations underwent a change that allowed VFR runway ends to obtain approval for IFR operations, even in aerodromes located in Class G airspace.

After a couple of years of dedicated work towards the publication of the LPV procedure, the aerodrome completed the process on AIRAC Cycle 2301 (January 2023), when it was published on the LPV map after the establishment of the EGNOS Working Agreement (EWA) and NOTAM service activation.

To ease the implementation of this type of operations around Europe, in 2020 European GNSS Working Group (WG) for General Aviation (GA) was created, chaired by EUSPA & EASA and with the participation and contribution of different stakeholders, aviation associations, ANSPs, and Competent Authorities of different States around the world (Europe, The United States, Australia and New Zealand). The main objectives of this WG are to exchange best practices on the operational implementation of Instrument Flight Procedures (IFP) at non-instrument runways and Class G airspace, encourage the different National Competent Authorities (NCA) to support the GNSS IFP implementation, harmonize the implementation of this type of operations at European level and helping in the identification of issues to be shared with ICAO and EASA.

If you want to know more details about their Success Story, we suggest you refer to the upcoming release of the EGNOS Bulletin, where a more extensive article will be published to highlight this particular case. Stay tuned!