First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you!
This is just the type of project I can sink my teeth into. After reading Wired's article on the Arduino, I went and bought the MegaPilot kit, soldered it together and installed it into E-Flight's Apprentice 15e model.
I spent about a month going through the code, looking at the capabilities, reading the manual and generally getting my bearings with the hardware and software. I learned way more about PID controllers, C++, the Arduino, and Eclipse than I ever wanted. ;)
I spent Saturday and Sunday getting the HIL testing working (I'm using the XPlane sim). I made sure everything was working as indicated and finally got to fly the beast.
It was perfect! I'm currently using the Fly-by-wire functionality and love it. I think this is my first 'crash-proof' airplane.
I started in fully manual mode to take-off, then switched to fly-by-wire for most of the fly. There were a couple of times I need to pop it back into manual to make some more aggresive turns, but overall, I could not be happier. I landed without issue and now am ready to start programming full auto when I ahve a chance.
Thanks again for such a great community!