For the air transportation industry safety is the top one priority. Airports around the world have to check the runway’s condition, and the visual and radio systems located close to the airport runways. That needs to be periodically inspected from the air to make sure it works, and to comply with the national regulations based on international standard.
To perform the required flight inspections, airports use flight inspection airplanes with onboard sensors. Today’s practice of performing inspections with manned airplanes has a very high direct cost for the airport, including the ferry flight to bring the airplane to the location, operational expenses such as fuel, flight crew, and airplane maintenance, insurances, and storage. On the other hand planning and flight inspection schedules are often impacted by weather conditions or flight slots lost.
Why not use a drone to perform the inspection of runways and NAVAIDs instead of such an expensive solution?