Graham Dyer
  • Male
  • RPAS Pilot - Johannesburg. (ex-Safari Trails Guide)
  • South Africa

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Latest Activity

Graham Dyer commented on Graham Dyer's blog post RC Electric Calculator App for Android
"I've been thinking on adding some additional calculations to this app that apply to multirotors. Current per motor is one I can think of, Expected flight time can be calculated already but I could do one specific to multirotors? Total lift…"

Graham Dyer replied to churl11's discussion when the plane takes off in auto mode,the pitch begins to Oscillate. in the group ArduPlane User Group
"Seriously try to DO an autotune, it will most likely fix the problem straight away (assuming that mechanically the plane is 100% sound). Oscillation like that is often too high P and incorrect I and D"
Jul 21

Graham Dyer replied to Deval Vyas's discussion help.
Jul 21

Graham Dyer commented on Chris Anderson's blog post Hackaday prize nomination for Pixhawk-powered anti-poaching solar drone
"Designing and flying the drone in a safe controlled tame environment is the easy part. Operating (a correctly designed) one in the African bush is another story all together. Day time temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) are common in…"
Jul 15

Graham Dyer commented on Chris Anderson's blog post Adding UHF RFID sensors to IRIS+ for aerial farm management
Jul 15
Artem commented on Graham Dyer's blog post Prop testing on a 'copter
"Yes, air density plays huge role. In my case at sea level my tricopter takes 10-12amps to hover (depends on batt voltage) up 6700ft it was taking 14-17amps all else being the same.  Also do not try to use autotune on a tricopter with 3 AC…"
Jul 11
David Jones commented on Graham Dyer's blog post Prop testing on a 'copter
"Is the atmosphere really so much thinner that thats whats made the difference? "
Jul 11
David Jones commented on Graham Dyer's blog post Prop testing on a 'copter
"I don't wanna be unpopular by resurrecting an old post. But I really can't understand how you fly a 12" CF SF prop with those motors. I used to run a tricopter (1040g without battery, using batteries from 300g to 450g) with DT750, I…"
Jul 11

Graham Dyer replied to Fernando Calatayud's discussion Battery balancer Lipo
"Does your LiPo charger not have a storage program? Most of the Turnigy and other brand name chargers do. Flying half your normal time or manually discharging can also achieve the desired rest voltage of around 3.85V per cell. BTW, LiPo's…"
Jul 4

Graham Dyer commented on Roger Sollenberger's blog post The DIY Drones Monthly Newsletter
"Things move so quick here, would it be worth making the newsletter a bi-weekly one instead of monthly?"
Jun 25

Graham Dyer replied to Eric's discussion APM Flyaway when switched to ALT HOLD
"Check your z-axis vibrations, your symptoms are typical of that problem."
Jun 23

Graham Dyer replied to Antonie Kruger's discussion Can industrial infrastructure cause this failure?
"Hi Antonie, we've seen hectic RF and who knows what else around these types of facilities in SA, there are typically all kinds of Tx's pushing out watts of power so could easily be interference. At 50m AGL you could fly through all kinds…"
Jun 21

Graham Dyer commented on James Wright's blog post Insane 11,000 Wh/kg Lithium battery!? Check out thees upcoming battery technologies
"This article explains a bit: To quote: "But here’s a safe bet: Breakthroughs in energy storage technology aren’t coming. Not in the foreseeable…"
Jun 21

Graham Dyer commented on Andrew Tridgell's blog post APM:Plane 3.3.0 released
"We've had to revert to v3.2.1 due to the following problem:, would like to use the new firmware obviously to take advantage of the other improvements but this is a show stopper. Is there any…"
Jun 20

Graham Dyer replied to Damo's discussion Finwing penguin takeoff issues in the group ArduPlane User Group
"We always use auto takeoff although not specifically with the Finwing but with the Super Skysurfer. It's reliable and foolproof if done correctly. In 500+ day and night launches we've had a failure rate of about 0.012%. We've set it…"
Jun 16

Graham Dyer replied to Paul Okelly's discussion Problems with latest firmware
"That's quite a big jump and a lot has changed so it may be that you need to reset everything to default (load another firmware) and start from scratch, ie redo all the calibrations and redo the setup. Save your current parameters first though…"
Jun 13

Profile Information

About Me:
I worked as a Safari Trails Guide (Lead Rifle) and Ranger in the South African Wildlife Tourism Industry for about 20 years.

Now I'm a professional RPAS Pilot. I fly drones 40-120km, both day and at night, 7 days a week on a special project. 320 hrs and 14668km as of end Mar '15.
Please tell us a bit about your UAV interest
DIY Carbon H-frame QuadCopter with 200+ flights (40+ flying hours), APM2, 3DR Telemetry, Sunnysky X2212-980 motors, 11x4.7 carbon props, 2200/5000mAh 3S Turnigy Batts, 15 minute flight time, Sony 520TVL camera, 1.2GHz 700mW Video Transmittor + inverted Vee antenna, Video googles & 9" Dvd monitor.

DIY FPV folding carbon Tricopter - XUAV-X1 (Arsov) powered (300mm width)

Twin boom FPV 1.75m plane for long distance Nav & FPV. APM2.6, 20+ flying hours.

Old: Own design & built twin-boom UAV Plane (now RIP)
ArduPilot v2.7.1, ArduIMU, MediaTek GPS. Had clocked 50+ hours flying time.

Slowstick - ArduPilot Legacy v2.6.2, Thermopiles, was used for FPV and as a stabilized trainer.
Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Graham Dyer's Blog

Prop testing on a 'copter

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 9:43am 18 Comments

I wanted to do a few real world hover tests with different prop sizes to satisfy my curiosity.

I tested 3 sizes of some commonly used props, the RCTimer Carbon 10x4.7, 11x4.7 and 12x3.8, all carefully balanced. There are other very similar props branded differently.

The 'copter is a carbon…


ArduPilot formation flying revisited

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 11:29pm 10 Comments

Further to our first attempts at fully automated formation flying (see…


Another 100km+ flight

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 4:00am 33 Comments

Went for our long distance flight attempt today, flew a test flight with a 6S 2600mAh LiPo and then put in the 18650 batteries in, the log unfortunately shows both flights as I forgot to reconnect so I have calculated the time and total distance from the launch of the second flight to the…


Finwing Air Titan

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 11:30am 17 Comments

Looks like a good fpv/camera ship for long distance flights with…


ArduPilot formation flying attempt

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 1:00am 12 Comments

We tried some formation flying with 2 different APM equipped planes.

Both were loaded with AP v2.76 and the same exact mission except for the chase plane flying 20m higher than…


Comment Wall (16 comments)

At 5:52am on July 24, 2009, Robert Hannaford said…
Hi Graham,

Please give me aring when you get a chance, Rob Hannaford 011 781 4029, 0733000337
At 5:43am on August 20, 2009, viky said…
have u got success in reversing ur aileron ... i m using same setup with XY sensors
At 2:12am on August 21, 2009, viky said…
i think i can correct it but want a clear view ur ailerons r reversed in automode or manual mode. If its auto change is to be done in the code else it has to be reversed using RC remote... let me know whats exactly it is
At 2:40am on August 21, 2009, viky said…
so u must have tried #define ROLL_REVERSE 1 , then nothing happened ... am i right..
At 3:08am on August 21, 2009, viky said…
actually the same problem i had faced but my elevator movement was reversed
in autopilot so i tried to correct it by #define PITCH_REVERSE
but nothing happened later i found thaT this header is not at all used inside code so i just follow the logic in code and got the line to reverse the motion of either aileron or elevator in ... void pulse_servos(int roll, int pitch) //Normal mode
pulse_servo_2(90-pitch); //invert sign if you want to reverse the servo...

This is what i had changed then to work it well.
I did few tests and got semi success in few , hopefully i can make it this time atleast 80% success with little changes in trim as u recommended in ur blog failure and success.
Its very nice blog i will try to write the one ... it really helps ourselves and others
At 2:49am on August 24, 2009, Garth said…
Graham please contact me
021-7827148 or 0827708200

At 4:41am on March 11, 2010, Cronselaar said…
Hi, this must sound stupid, but how do you get the nice line logs in GE... My current position just constantly changes. I'm using a E406. I can't seem to get the right altitude data in the GS2 either.. Any help would be appreciated.

At 9:58am on August 17, 2010, Robert Hannaford said…
Hi Graham, won't you please send me you cell no I have lost it, Regards Rob Hannaford

At 8:08am on October 17, 2011, bruno voisin said…

Hi Graham, this is Bruno from Cape Town. 

These are my first steps in the UAV world, and I am interested in building a ArduCopter to conduct game counts in a nature reserve.  Any advice / recommendation would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

At 1:31am on November 7, 2011, Robert Dielenberg said…

Hi Graham,

we're developing a UAV here in Newcastle, Australia. We've been experimenting with the ardupilot 2_7_1 for a few months. Having huge problems with altitude hold and throttle. We're using a petrol engine. We realize the original ardu is for electric. It seems there is not much data on petrol engines for ardu. We had a crash last week and lost the plane. We're going to rebuild the code from scratch and simplify it. Will get back on to you on our progress. Cheers,


Rob Dielenberg, MotMen UAV (

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