Skip to main content

Drone-based ILS Measurements

Colibrex/FCS NavAidDrone (UAS) for ILS Measurements

The new Colibrex/FCS NavAidDrone is a unique and revolutionary tool to carry out specialized field measurements required for commissioning or regular maintenance of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) of all categories. It is especially designed for use by ANSP CNS (Communication, Navigation, Surveillance) maintenance staff, NAVAIDS system manufacturers and CNS installation and maintenance service engineers. Due to the high flexibility of the airborne platform, ILS transmitter and antenna adjustments are now much easier. Areas which cannot be accessed by the traditional telescopic mast can be easily accessed by the NavAidDrone. For example for localizer coverage measurements in a sector of ± 35° around the antenna which may be difficult with a measurement vehicle, the NavAidDrone offers a substantial improvement, thanks to its ability of flying fully programmable orbit paths without necessity of service roads.

The  same applies for measurements of the glide path antenna system with its critical adjustments from a distance. All in all, the NavAidDrone offers an alternative to time- and manpower consuming ground based measurements and opens the way to potential  extension of flight inspection periods with the corresponding savings.

The NavAidDrone is a system resulting from a multiyear R&D project. It merges the flight inspection and receiving/processing expertise of FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH and the  expertise in design and international commercial operation of RF measurement drone (UAS) of Colibrex GmbH.

Measurement applications

  • Localizer inspection (course structure, alignment, SDM, coverage, linearity)
  • Spectrum detection of spurious signals
  • Glide path inspection (structure, angle alignment, SDM, coverage)
  • VOR coverage, north adjustment, interference measurements
  • GBAS signal analysis incl. measurement of VDB

Use cases and key advantages

  • ILS periodical measurements as specified by ICAO, toreduce ground-based inspection costs
  • Special measurements to detect degradation of ILS/VOR signals coming from change of the surrounding infrastructure or moving structures (cranes, temporary buildings, …)
  • Support of ILS commissioning during/after installation of new systems or replacement/repair of antennas, potentially enabling a reduction of flight inspection efforts
  • Special measurements to facilitate maintenance and problem detection; possibility of extensive offline data analysis
  • Correlation with flight inspection data for overall optimization of ILS/VOR installations and preparation of an extension of flight inspection periods with the corresponding savings

Successful NavAidDrone mission during the commissioning of a new ILS at Hannover airport

Beginning of November 2018, the NavAidDrone from Colibrex and FCS Flight Calibration Services was employed at Hannover International Airport in Germany during the commissioning of a new Instrument Landing System. As part of the measurement process of the Glide Path antenna, our team conducted several measurement flights to generate very precise DDM (Difference of Depth of Modulation) measurement curves above and below the 3° approach path of the new 09R ILS at 1 km distance from the threshold. The measurement flights were monitored not only in the control tower of Hannover airport, but also at the DFS headquarters in Langen via the new DFS/Telekom U:CON drone tracking system. The flights were very successful and form an important impulse for the rapid operational introduction of measurement drones for ground measurements of the numerous Instrument Landing Systems installed worldwide. 

Upcoming Workshop

Workshop on Drone-based NavAids measurements

As many potential users have expressed the wish to see the very innovative NavAidDrone solution in a real environment and live conditions, Colibrex organizes the first “International workshop on drone-based NavAids measurement”.

When: New date will be announced soon
Where: Baden-Airpark (Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, located South-West Germany)
Content: Presentation of ILS measurement technology and LIVE MEASUREMENT DEMONSTRATION with various NavAidDrone flights conducted in and around the Baden-Airpark Airport (equipped with CAT III ILS)

Beside the NavAidDrone live demonstrations there will be interesting presentations on topics like :

  • Challenges when measuring ILS signals on a moving and overhanging platform
  • Comprehensive system integration as key for accurate ILS measurements
  • Software-based NavAids inspection workflow as facilitator for CNS engineers
  • Drone-based VOR measurements
  • Absolute field strengths measurements for applications like GBAS
  • Possibilities of drone-based measurements for navigation radars

An interactive discussion with the representatives from various ANSP organizations will round-up the workshop.

Download our NavAids Measurements Information

Drone-based ILS Measurements