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Jun 02, 2019, 07:45 AM
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ILS for copter

ILS Approach for Arducopter (5 min 31 sec)

The recently released Version 3.2 of my GCS FlightZoomer (for ArduCopter) offers an automatic approach system, that is similar to the ILS for manned aviation. For plane it was working since last year but since copters can't just slip down the glideslope and then touch down with a lot of forward speed, the implemented procedure had to be changed as follows:
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❶ At first, Copters will stay in GUIDED mode and will descend on the glideslope towards the runway.
❷ The moment, when an altitude of 7m above ground will be reached, the descend will stop and the copter will continue in level flight until the begin of the runway is reached.
❸ At that point, forward speed will be cut to zero, and the FlightZoomer autopilot will put the copter automatically in ArduCopter's LAND mode.
❹ The ArduCopter LAND mode will then simply perform a straight down descend.

As you can see in the examples in the video (towards the end), the whole procedure provides stunning results.

Some more bullet points about ILS approaches for copters:
  • As any number of runways and glideslopes can be defined upfront in the FlightZoomer navigation database, the airspace can be structured to support flexible flight operations in changing conditions (different for plane vs copter, have runways for different wind directions).
  • The final descend can start in a controlled manner at a rather high altitude. There is no need to for a long descend in LAND mode.
  • Solution picks up terms and procedures of manned aviation.
  • The procedure does hardly deviate from the solution for planes (the only difference is the short vertical descend right before touchdown).
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