Spotlight on the latest service offered by FRACS: PAPI calibration using a drone

A control of the site settings of the PAPI units (Precision Approach Path Indicator) must be carried out every five years or at the implementation of the PAPI sets. On this occasion, the conformity of the visual signals must be verified using another methodology than the alidade.

France Aviation Civile Services proposes an innovative method: THE DRONE!!! This method called “CAVOC” has been developed by DSNA/DTI, in collaboration with the Air Force and has been approved in 2021 by the STAC.

The method used by FRACS distinguishes from the competitors thanks to the use of a light and easy-to-use drone. An expert, a suitcase and FRACS, can come and calibrate your PAPI sets!

Our simple and easily reproducible technique offers undeniable advantages in terms of speed of implementation, runway occupation time (1 hour per PAPI set), accuracy and impact on airport activity compared to the nacelle method or flight control.

The method is rather simple and based on an automatic detection of the colorimetric transition in real time, by image processing algorithms. This process allows PAPI adjustments.

Since 2019, this method has been tested on military airfields and some civil airports (Castres and Toulouse Francazal), and has entered the commercial operational phase in July 2022.

Thanks to the numerous advantages of this innovative technique, two airports have already used our services (Libourne and Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées). The prospects are already promising for 2023.

FRACS drone:  Mavic DJI Entreprise + RTK

Visual of the tablet: Colorimetric transition

FRACS experts undergoing PAPI calibration