Kistler offers application specific sensors and measuring chains for VTOL, drones and UAV testing.

Advanced testing for UAVs, drones, and VTOL aircraft – on the ground and in flight

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly referred to as drones, represent a globally emerging market which is expected to grow significantly in the next decades. There is a wide range of commercial and non-commercial applications, e.g. in media and entertainment, public safety, inspection and monitoring, agriculture – and of course transportation. Here, also small category VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft come into play: they are about to revolutionize urban mobility, especially when fully electric powered (eVTOL). Based on 60 years of experience in aerospace, Kistler offers a wide range of application specific sensors and piezoelectric measuring chains for eVTOL, drone and UAV testing: from R&D over certification to operations.

UAVs and drones vary ‒ depending on their purpose ‒ a lot in size (from micro to near-airplane) and other parameters. These include for example operational range, payload, altitude and endurance (total time taken in flight). Other technologically important features are wing type (rotary, fixed, hybrid) and propulsion systems. Because of the great variety of UAVs, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) opts for the more general term Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which includes ground control as well as communication and data transmission capabilities.

VTOL on the move

Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) capabilities represent key technologies which create new opportunities for urban mobility: so-called “air taxis” can transport people very quickly from A to B, avoiding dense traffic in cities. Our competencies in aviation testing enable tailored solutions for your requirements – in various application fields such as R&D, airworthiness testing or obtaining the type certification for small category VTOL aircraft as defined by EASA and FAA.

Full range of sensors for various applications

Aerial vehicles have to be tested, certified and monitored properly and comprehensively on the ground as well as during flight to optimize the airframe design, define operational limits and to ensure a safe and efficient operation. Thanks to our aviation specific portfolio providing low mass and low-noise accelerometers, Kistler is able to deliver custom-fit measuring chains for almost all UAV, drone, VTOL and eVTOL testing applications. For example, we offer quartz-based piezoelectric, PiezoStar IEPE, and MEMS capacitive accelerometers for stable and reliable vibration measurements in addition to comprehensive signal conditioning and DAQ. Propulsion system evaluation also includes thrust and impact measurement using multicomponent force sensors as well as pressure sensors for combustion pressure measurement and torque sensors for electric motor testing.

Kistler is proud to be a member part of DIAS – the Drone Industry Association Switzerland – to best support this emerging technology with its multiple beneficial applications.

UAV, drone and small VTOL aircraft testing portfolio:

Ground-vibration testing (GVT)

For GVT, Kistler offers accelerometers for modal and structural analyses in three measurement ranges, including 5 g, 10 g and 50 g.

Flight vibration testing (FVT)

FVT typically involve higher frequencies, so IEPE accelerometers are in need to measure the vibration-induced load inputs into the structure and components.

Thrust and load
Aircraft hydraulic system performance

Kistler offers a large product portfolio to support dynamic force, torque and pressure measurement.

Electric Motors

Kistler offers a large product portfolio to support testing and monitoring of electric motors.

Gas Turbine and Aero Engine testing
Kistler offers special high-temperature pressure sensors and acceleration sensors for jet engine testing.

For these types of tests during development and maintenance, Kistler offers high-temperature pressure and acceleration sensors applicable at up to 700°C (1300°F).

Combustion engines

As a technology leader for decades, Kistler offers highly developed sensors and complete solutions for combustion engine analysis.


Kistler is your partner to support this certification process as well as the operational monitoring with the following technologies:

Application specific accelerometer technologies (piezoelectric, PiezoStar IEPE and MEMS capacitive)

Single and multi-component force sensors and dynamometers

Small and low weight modal accelerometers with different measurement ranges (5g, 10g, 50g)

Ceramic-based sensors with repeatable low and high frequency response

Easy test handling thanks to TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet)

Flexible and comprehensive signal conditioning, DAQ and software solutions

Vast experience in aviation thanks to long-term partnership with global aircraft industry

Max 25 MB