PROJECT TITLE: ILS Zone 3 Measurement
- PI: Dr. James West, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Oklahoma State University
- Co-PI: Jamey Jacob, Professor and Director, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, USRI, Oklahoma State University
- Co-PI: Gary Ambrose, Research Manager CEAT/USRI, Oklahoma State University
- Students: Joe Jantz
- Industry Partner: Essential Aero
- Technical Support: Taylor Mitchell, Dane Johnson, USRI, Oklahoma State University
- FAA Sponsor: Floyd Badsky, Flight Program Operations (AJW-3)
- FAA Technical Monitor: Brad Snelling
The objective of this project is to record the glideslope depth of modulation in Zone 3 for analysis of manned aircraft flight inspection system (FIS) accuracy and to advance development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for ILS facility preparation. A UAS will be instrumented with a lightweight ILS receiver capable of recording both localizer and glideslope depth of modulation (DDM). The UAS will be equipped with an RTK GPS to more accurately track and record position within 5cm laterally and vertically. The UAS position data will be recorded and synchronized with localizer and glideslope DDM. The data will be present for easy lookup and may optionally be presented in various visualizations. This research will support technical training with the prototyping integration of RTK GPS aboard UAS and visualization of signals for future technicians.
The data collection region will extend from runway threshold to 3,500 feet. The lateral region will be approximately 3 degrees (from localizer) both sides of runway centerline. The vertical region will be approximately .70 degrees above and 1 degree below the commissioned glideslope angle. The UAS flight profiles will be designed so that data is collected with sufficient resolution to achieve the outcomes below.
Current ILS inspection methodology uses results from ground test and manned flight test. A performance gap currently exists since the availability of UAS is widely available and has the potential to vastly increase inspection efficiencies; with speed of collection, accuracy and cost. This project will explore the capabilities of UAS for ILS inspection and support strategies that employ augmenting flight inspections with unmanned and autonomous vehicles.
Expect Project Outcomes:
The project will demonstrate the feasibility of performing in-air, high resolution ILS signal integrity inspection using a low-cost UAS platform. The fine spatial resolution of the measurements and the 3-D visualization GUI will give a better understanding of the actual signal parameters in an active environment than can be achieved using manned aircraft. Multiple test flights on different days will show the effects of changes local conditions such as weather and seasonal dependence of vegetation on the signal integrity.
- Prototype visualization of ILS data to improve training aids for ILS technicians, mission specialists, facility engineers, and inspection software engineers.
- ILS Zone 3 data that can be used to validate manned aircraft ILS results and the effect of pilot induced flight technical error in result accuracy.
- Development of prototype equipment and procedures to operate a lightweight ILS recording systems for use in preparing ILS facilities.
Value of Research:
The technologies and methodologies developed in this project will support technical training and lead to the development of a portable, cost-effective method of inspecting and evaluating the integrity of operational ILS signals. The system will be rapidly deployable and will provide more precise spatial resolution and positional accuracy than is possible with current manned inspection aircraft, and will ultimately allow for autonomous ILS signal inspection. The cost savings and higher spatial resolution and accuracy will ultimately lead to safer landing navigation.