Helicopter-Recording-Random Flights

The project helicopter-recording-random-flights was an applied research & development activity in the frame of the CHIPS programme to promote satellite-based navigation. The aim of the project was to assess the GPS and EGNOS navigation performance at low altitudes.


Helicopters of the Swiss Air-Ambulance (Rega) and the Swiss Air Force have been equipped with data recording units, allowing to record GPS (Global Positioning System), EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), FMS (Flight Management System) and AHRS (Attitude and Heading Reference System) data during their daily missions. Furthermore, dedicated flights using high accuracy GPS reference data have been carried out to record data under special conditions. Throughout the project duration of five years, a total of 40’000 flight hours have been recorded with three different helicopter types, the Airbus Helicopters EC 145 and EC 635, as well as the Agusta Westland Da Vinci AW109SP. Analyses include validation of simulation tools, the assessment of the radio frequency interference level, the availability of GPS and EGNOS navigation in particular in mountainous area, as well as the trajectory accuracy of the flights on dedicated routings, such as the Swiss low-flight network.


The project has been led by Skyguide with Rega, Swiss Air Force and RUAG Aviation as project partners. Financial support has been provided by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) through the special financing fund aviation (BV86). The project lasted for five years and has been completed in 2018.


Project results have been presented at various international conferences and scientific papers have been published in dedicated professional journals. On 4 October 2018, a dedicated project event took place to present project summary results.