ACRO bug (fixed in 2.9.1b): while doing flips in ACRO mode, if you switch to Stabilize while inverted your throttle will go to minimum.  To regain throttle control you need to switch back to ACRO then back to Stabilize again (i.e. switch to stabilize twice).  You never lose control of roll/pitch/yaw.

Loiter/AltHold/Auto/RTL bug: if you switch into these modes with throttle at zero motors will go to minimum until you raise the throttle.

Auto mode altitude bug (fixed in 2.9.1b): setting a waypoint altitude greater than 320m over home altitude may wrap around and instead be interpreted as a low altitude.

ArduCopter 2.9 is now in the mission planner and the downloads area!

The major improvement is we use inertial navigation to improve altitude hold.  This increased reliance on the accelerometers means you must do some additional set-up before flying:

1. Perform the new accelerometer calibration in the mission planner (video).  The auto-trim metho has also changed (video).

2. Add vibration dampening foam between your frame and the APM.  Some suggested materials: DuBrogelhk foam.

 3. If upgrading from 2.8.1, modify the throttle and altitude PID values:

  • Increase your Throttle Rate P, reduce I to zero, increase D
  • Increase Altitude Hold P, reduce I to zero
  • Tune Throttle Accel P and I terms but try to keep P about 1/2 the size of I


Here is the list of major changes (a more detailed list can be found in the release notes):  

  • Alt hold using inertial navigation (Leonard, Randy, Jonathan)
    • AUTO_VELZ_MIN, AUTO_VELZ_MAX parameters control the max climb/descent rate for the autopilot (cm/s)
    • PILOT_VELZ_MAX controls max climb/descent rate for the pilot (in cm/s)
  • Landing improvements (Leonard/Randy).  Copter will descend to 10m or until an object is sensed with the sonar.  Then slows to 50cm/s descent (speed can be adjusted with LAND_SPEED parameter). (video).
  • Surface tracking with sonar (Randy/Leonard).  Copter will attempt to maintain current distance from objects in front of sonar regardless of altitude.  Only used in alt-hold and loiter, not used for missions.  Sonar can be enabled/disabled with CH7 switch. (video)
  • Failsafe improvements (Randy/Craig/John Arne Birkeland) including bug fixes, additional check for PPM encoder failure and implementation of battery failsafe.  Set-up instructions are here.
  • Mediatek gps driver accuracy improvements and use of SBAS [Craig].  Instructions on upgrading your mediatek to firmware 1.9 are here.
  • Traditional Heli improvements (Rob) including (a) bringing heli code back into the fold, (b) enabled rate controller (previously only used angle controllers). (c) fix to rotor speed controllers - now operates by switching off channel 8.  (d) allow wider collective pitch range in acro and alt hold modes vs stabilize mode  (e) bug fix to allow collective pitch to use the entire range of servos
  • Acro trainer (Leonard). Copter will return to be generally upright if you release the sticks in acro mode.
    • ACRO_TRAINER : set to 1 to enable the auto-bring-upright feature
    • ACRO_BAL_ROLL, ACRO_BAL_PITCH : controls rate at which roll returns to level
  • Camera control improvements (Randy/Sandro Benigno):  (a) AP_Relay enabled for APM2  (b) Trigger camera with CH7 or DO_DIGICAM_CONTROL command  (c) Allow pilot override of yaw during missions and fixed CONDITIONAL_YAW command.
  • PPM sum support for transmitters with as few as 5 channels (Randy/Tridge/John Arne Birkeland).
  • Performance and memory useage improvements (Tridge).


As per usual PIDs are optimised for the 3DR/jDrones quad with 850 motors and 10" props. If you're using more powerful motors/props and are seeing bad flight behaviour in stabilize, start by turning down Rate Roll P in 25% steps.

Special thanks to our testing team lead Marco and the dedicated bunch on the 2.8.1 release thread who put their copters at risk while testing the pre-release version.  Some of their videos are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Please feel free to report issues you find in the discussion below and/or add them to the issues list.


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Andreas, I'm guessing you've got one of the older Mediatek GPSs? We'be been flying quads and hexas today with the uBlox and newer (1.9) Mediateks and the Loiter accuracy on 2.9 is amazing (<1m). If you do have an older Mediatek, upgrading your firmware to 1.9 should help a lot. 

Francis: I suggest your reset your settings (CLI/Setup/Reset) and go through the config process again. 

No I upgraded to uBlox a few months ago. Loiter radius was not that bad. Just very busy looking corrections.

But the real bummer was the sudden crash when I switched from loiter to alt hold. Unfortunately the log download in the planner does not work for me anymore. Hope copy&paste version of the log can still be analyzed.

Give Chrome a try if you can. IE10 builds on the traditions of IE6 in breaking a lot ;)

Oh, and just in case any TradHeli users are upgrading and missed this discussion, you need to read this as it has lots of valuable info:

Randy, I can't begin to express my personal appreciation for all the work you and the whole dev team do for the community.  But, PLEASE, no "music" on your videos.  I would MUCH rather hear your running commentary.


     When download logs could you try pushing the terminal button 2 or 3 times and then quickly hitting the "Log Download" button?  It's a bit annoying but that normally works for me.

     Your 52.txt log file does have data in it but when the download from the mission planner works properly it filters the data better to remove any garbage numbers so it's much easier to analyse.

I was under the impression that CLI was working over radio now, but I still see the USB required message and when it tries, I get gibberish in the window. It looks like a Baud rate mismatch, but cannot get it to work in any other setting either. My 3DR radio is set to 57600 Baud. Is the terminal maybe expecting 115K? Is there a way to get the 3DR radio to that baud rate? When I try in the Mission Planner interface I get an error.

I have updated my one Mediatek GPS to 1.9, but my other is the newer 3DR unit. Does anyone know what firmware is on that chip and whether it can be/should be updated too?

Well done guys, Impressive! and Great video Dave!  Ill load it and give my crash quad a run tomorrow. Just to be sure, its fully tested and all working fine on APM1 as well?


     I've tested on the APM1 and it worked fine.  The altitude hold performance is not as good as with the APM2 primarily because the APM1 baro is a little noisier and also we only receive updates from it at 8hz (the APM2 baro runs at about 80hz).  We will increase the APM1 baro rate to between 30~40hz in 2.9.1 so that will improve things further.

Ok.Got it!.Thanks Marco. But its raining here..*SIGH*

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