The goal of this project was to build an Instrument Landing System (ILS) that could help Remote-Control (RC) plane pilots safely land their planes with little or even no visual contact. Landing safely and accurately requires pilots to know an RC plane’s accurate location information in real-time. Global Positioning System (GPS) with Real Time Kinematic (RTK) enhancements to improve accuracy was used to determine location information. The final design for the RC ILS consists of three subsystems. An RTK base station provides real-time correction messages to the on-plane GPS module. The on-plane module updates position data in real-time and broadcasts it to the pilot ground station. The pilot ground station retrieves position data and displays it on a laptop for visualization. A prototype was built that demonstrates the concept but does not yet fully integrate all the subsystems. Testing was limited to ground-based experiments, but showed that the required accuracy for landing could be achieved. Once an RC plane is available for testing, the whole system can be tested and improved by performing full system tests under realistic operating conditions.
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