PAPI Calibration with the Use of drone technology


Hello guys,

I am researching the possibility for using a UAV calibrating The runway PAPI. I am not aware of all the methods for PAPI calibration but I am aware that our 2 local airports use full scale aircrafts to calibrate them and the costs rise at about 20-30k EUR per year for both calibrations.   

As you can imagine the costs are massive for such a task compared to the potentials of a UAV platform. At the time being I am not researching whether legislation will or will not allow such a calibration method so i am only focused on the technical and practical difficulties. 

At the moment I don't have any theoritical or practical expirience on calibrating PAPI so i can't really be sure whether a UAV can be up to the task so any input on this would Appreciated. 

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Moderator

    Well I stand corrected the, I wonder is it just checking which lights are working or is it actually replacing an aeroplane full of engineers? 

  • Geneva's airport (GVA) has acquired what looks to be a modified DJI F550 to survey there runway lights and PAPI system for a little more than 12k€.

     Original article in french

    Google Translate to english

  • Yeah indeed they are at about 10-15 miles is my guess.

    At the time being it might not be so feasible for an application such as this one but it's good to map down what are the main factors that prohibit this application with the given technology. Speed might be one of them but PAPI calibration may not require being that far and traveling that fast.

    The UAV might not be necessary to perform the prcedure the same method a full scale will. An idea is to perform the calibration in sections.

    I am looking to contact some specialists on the matter see what they have to suggest although i et they will immediately say "You are kidding this can't be done..." for obvious reasons :)  

  • Moderator

    Yes but the circuits were pretty big they were doing the precision approach at the same time from several miles out.

  • I haven't really looked the cost reductions in depth but pretty sure flying a jet in circuits surely costs a lot more than a uav.  

  • Moderator

    I don't think will achieve the required drop in price to make it worth it. For precision results that's not alot of money. About 25 years ago they used to use an Andover in the UK to do it. Not sure how its done now. I do remember having to paint the marker boards for them though.

This reply was deleted.