The recently released Version 3.2 of my GCS FlightZoomer 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 for copter:

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 FlightZoomer will put the flight controller automatically in 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 works nicely and supports rather fast descends.

For what purpose could ILS approaches for copters be useful?

  • 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.

More details can be found in the FlightZoomer User documentation:

https://flightzoomer.com/manual/hfw_automatic-landings-_-ils-approa...

Views: 482

Comment by d j on May 31, 2019 at 8:39am

copters can land vertically

Comment by Martin Rüedi on May 31, 2019 at 1:09pm

That is correct. That's the novel part of my feature: copters can shot an imaginary ILS and still the touchdown happens vertically. Very similar like helicopters do in manned aviation e.g. in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkUd9eY1qS4

The rotocraft flies the approach 100% like any fixed wing aircraft, just to stop the descend shortly before the runway. Taxiing to the final position then happens by flying along the taxiways at a very low altitude.

Comment by d j on May 31, 2019 at 3:05pm

Martin,

copter landing has nothing to do with ILS

Just read what ILS stays for:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_landing_system

"

An Instrument Landing System (ILS) enables pilots to conduct an instrument approach to landing if they are unable to establish visual contact with the runway. It is defined by the International Telecommunication Union as a service provided by a station as follows:

A radionavigation system which provides aircraft with horizontal and vertical guidance just before and during landing and, at certain fixed points, indicates the distance to the reference point of landing.

Comment by Martin Rüedi on May 31, 2019 at 11:50pm

I know ILS and the other instrument approach systems very well. You are correct that my system avoids a permanent radio station. The correct description would be, that technically the lower layers of an ILS are emulated, but on the user layer (user input, procedures, instruments et cetera) my system behaves 100% like an ILS. When I say ILS approach for copters I simply mean from user perspective.

And -  as shown in the video of the real helicopter flying an ILS approach and then hovering to the parking stand -  rotorcrafts can use ILS or RNAV instrument approaches too.

Comment by d j on June 1, 2019 at 2:19pm

Martin,

read again:

"An Instrument Landing System (ILS) enables pilots to conduct an instrument approach to landing if they are unable to establish visual contact with the runway.

Either ILS or RNAV is all about aircraft's approach / navigation and instrument landing system.

Copter is excluded or not covered since copter is VTOL aircraft.

> Calling your car Ferrari doesn't turn it into genuine Ferrari car.

Comment by Martin Rüedi on June 2, 2019 at 5:35am

I am not sure, which part is not clear.

VTOL aircraft (helicopters) fly ILS approaches on a daily basis like any other aircraft types.

Also, the FlightZoomer solution certainly ticks off the "instrument approach" part. You can fly the approach 100% based on the instruments if you like.

RNAV (which is by far not only about approaches) works exactly like my solution: based on GPS data, the deviation from the desired position is continuously calculated, displayed and used for corrections when flying in auto flight. Of course in case of RNAV other sources are added for increased accuracy, but the principle is the same.

Comment by d j on June 2, 2019 at 7:42am

Martin,

read again:

"An Instrument Landing System (ILS) enables pilots to conduct an instrument approach to landing if they are unable to establish visual contact with the runway.

Helicopters don't approach to landing by ILS since they land vertically and can reduce their forward speed, still maintaining altitude above zero.

Non VTOL aircraft requires ILS like landing path guidance to reduce forward speed to land securely

Ideas are great but lifes is for real.

Comment by Martin Rüedi on June 2, 2019 at 10:35am

You are wrong that helicopters don't use ILS. Google returns 125000 hits for "ILS helicopter" even if the search is reduced to videos. Please convince yourself e.g. with this video:

Comment by d j on June 2, 2019 at 11:59am

Google is your friend

"why helicopters don't use ILS

23 400 000 results

key to understanding why helicopters don't need ILS is by definition

""An Instrument Landing System (ILS) enables pilots to conduct an instrument approach to landing if they are unable to establish visual contact with the runway.

"unable to establish visual contact with the runway.

Helicopters don't approach in that case, moving to another location since recommended approach / take-off profiles don't match fixed wing.

Reducing altitude to zero helicopter must reduce airspeed to zero at the same time since no moving platform is available

so in theory and practice helicopter doesn't need a runway to land quite the opposite to fixedwing.

Approach/ take-off profiles don't match since helicopter is slow aircraft anyway

So helicopters approach the fixedwing behaviour just to let helicopters being embeded into fixedwing traffic.

Helicopters don't need to fly instrument approaches and under ILS show different approach profiles vs. fixedwing

Helicopters don't allow for "long, flat descents that leave the aircraft aligned with the desired runway, while still avoiding terrain and other obstacles.


Moderator
Comment by RM Aviation on June 2, 2019 at 4:20pm

Erm, I've been flying ILS approaches over the last 15 years. Commercial helicopter pilot. Just saying.......

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