Drone Launch and Landing Pad

About: Paul Illsley

DIY Drone Launch and Landing Pad

Landing pad with a DJI Mavic 2 PRO for scale

I needed a solid landing pad for areas with tall grass, mud or rocks where a collapsible landing pad would not work well. I needed it to be light, portable, tough and inexpensive so I figured a thin piece of plywood would do the trick. Here's how I made it.

The pad measures 24 inch X 24 inch and is made from 1/4 inch plywood with 2.5 inch rounded corners.
The handle cut-out measures 6 inches by 2 inches with 1 inch rounded corners.
There is a 1 inch gap between the edge of the handle opening and the edge of the main board.
The entire pad is painted with gray outdoor paint (optional) and sealed with a protective outer coating (optional).

The landing pad in a grassy area

This design works quite well as it is, but you could add some pattern (paint or stickers) to the top of the pad to help the drone’s down looking camera orientation system recognize the pad when it gets close to the ground (less than 2m). I just kept my pad a uniform gray color.

Landing pad on a muddy beach area with seaweed (vertical view)

This pad can also be used as a scale in vertical images and as a color calibration reference if you use paint with a known spectral reflectance. I had a local paint shop color match a white balance reference card, and the results were quite good. If you do use the pad as a color reference you should check it from time to time to make sure the paint hasn’t changed color due to sun exposure or staining. An easy way to check this would be to place the original color reference card on top of the pad and photograph them both under normal daylight conditions, then compare the two sections of the image to see if there has been any shift in color.

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