I have been working on making my flights more autonomous and so far I have had a great deal of success.  The setup shown in the video has made eight successful fully automated flights with no operator input from takeoff to landing.  This flight was different, and I would appreciate some assistance trying to determine what went wrong.

I planned a simple mission with a takeoff to 50 meters, three standard waypoints, a RTL, and land.  The quad ascended about 2 meters and made a hard bank into the trees.  Wind was about 20kts to the SE, so the quad was flying almost into the wind.  Below is a recreation of the actual flight path the aircraft took.  The KML appears to show the aircraft traveling in the opposite direction.

Note: The "Home" location shown below is from the second time the motors were armed when I flew out of the tree.

Damage Pics:

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It was an interesting video to watch. Can't make any comments unfortunately; new to APM:)))

I am pretty sure someone will chime in...

Wind was strong could have affected the flight characteristics, compass not calibrated is my guess since it went off in opposite direction.

I never calibrated my compass. Instructions were saying it can calibrate itself during test flights. I did fly a few test flights and it seems working fine. 

Is it necessary to do manual compass calibration?

Well, it's back on its feet.  This frame is an absolute beast!  The bottom plate needed some hammering to flatten it back out.  I bent the arm back into place on the edge of the workbench. Liberal application of plastic epoxy has the landing gear back together. New props too, orange this time to make the aircraft more visible in pine trees!

I felt like I was living an episode of Star Trek, but I scanned the launch area with my cell phone and I discovered a strong magnetic distortion near the ground.  This must have confused the sensors on takeoff.  It looks like verifying compass direction will be added to the pre-flight checklist.

Thanks! This was definitely a lesson on how well an aircraft can camouflage itself in the trees.

Apparently not, you will need to fly manually for the first few minutes though: First-Time Setup

What is this frame called?

Looks very sturdy and give great protection to the electronics.

It's the Turnigy HAL.  There is also a hexacopter version.  The dome is quite large and provides excellent protection to all the guts (see video!)

Thats interesting, What did you use to scan the area with on your cell phone?


There are a few apps that dump all of the phone's sensor data.  AndroSensor and Z-Device Test are two that I like.  GPS Essentials and GPS Status are pretty useful also.

Sorry about the bad flight!

Grab something like this and hook it to an unused channel if possible. Great for locating tree-dwelling copters.

Hi CodyO,

Does the light blue track on the mission planner stay stable around the copter on the ground before launch?

I find that the Media Tech GPS is slow and not as good as the UBlox Lea6 version. It can show the gps tracking around my general location to around 10-20 m when on the ground and near trees and takes up to 5 mins to lock on. The Ublox gets reception indoors sometimes! I give the unit some time to lock on, even when the system says 3D gps is locked. Just check on the mission planner that the little blue track isnt looking like a worm thats been cut in half :)

Also, get your telemetry log and look at the stats as its playing. see if all gps sats were good and maybe the magnetometer can be seen too? Someone else might give advice on this.

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