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This describes the development of path planning algorithms of a small unmanned four-rotor helicopter. A powerful simulation environment of the whole UAV system - including the characteristics of the important ranging sensors for collision avoidance was developed. This is essential for developing, testing, and verifying of the algorithms. Different collision avoidance strategies for VTOL-UAVs are presented. Enhancements and miniaturization will offer more powerful sensor technologies regarding size, range, and power in the future. Very promising are improvements of sensor modules and new technologies like three-dimensional LASER range-finder, PMD sensors, RADAR range-finder, and stereo camera tracking system. Because of the general high level simulation tool introduced herein they can be easily validated and tested without the need and effort of a real hardware implementation. The results showed that adaptive path planning, including collision avoidance, is already applicable on-board small UAV vehicles. With the mentioned new sensor technologies and more calculation power, further improvements like advanced collision notice and global path planning on-board small UAVs are attainable.