I've just released ArduPlane 2.69 [UPDATE: revised to version 2.70 after bug fix (see comments). This release includes a lot of internal changes, principally the AP_HAL changes, which is why it took so long. I've also been doing a lot of test flights to try to ensure that all these large changes haven't broken anything.

As has been discussed previously, the biggest change in this release is the move to the new AP_HAL hardware abstraction layer. This was a large internal change, that by itself didn't change the behaviour of ArduPlane, but did allow us to make ArduPlane much more portable. As a result, this is the first release of ArduPlane that works on the new PX4 autopilot board. Unfortunately the documentation on how to setup ArduPlane on PX4 is still lacking, so if you have a PX4 and want to run the 2.69 release then you will either have to dive into things a bit yourself to get it to work or wait a bit longer for the documentation updates. Sorry about that!

Of course we still support the APM1 and APM2 and I plan on keeping ArduPlane working on both those boards as long as possible. What I expect to happen is that some new features in future releases will only be enabled on the PX4, but for now ArduPlane on the PX4 works just the same as it does on the APM1 and APM2.

As you might expect from the fact that it has been over 2 months since the last ArduPlane release, there have also been quite a few changes not related to the AP_HAL and PX4 work. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed patches and ideas that made it into this release! I know not every requested feature made it in, but I thought it was better to get the new release out now.

Some of the key changes in this release are:

  • new flight mode 'TRAINING'
  • support for PX4 autopilot
  • CIRCLE mode now holds altitude
  • support for counter-clockwise loiter (thanks to Jochen)
  • support for the 1.9 firmware on MTK GPS
  • support for mounting the APM board in lots of different orientations
  • improved the MPU6000 accel/gyro filtering a bit more
  • secondary elevator support (thanks to Michael Warren)

One of the changes I am most pleased with is the addition of a new flight mode called TRAINING mode. This mode was developed in cooperation with a MAAA flight instructor, and is designed to help people to learn R/C manual flying. When you are in TRAINING mode you have manual control over roll until you reach the LIM_ROLL_CD roll limit, at which point the plane won't roll over any more. The same applies to pitch - you have manual pitch control until you reach LIM_PITCH_MIN or LIM_PITCH_MAX, at which point the plane won't pitch beyond those limits. This means that as long as you stay within the configured limits you are flying the plane manually, and you can quickly learn to fly an R/C plane manually, knowing that the APM will prevent the plane from going upside down. I'll do a separate blog post about how we are using TRAINING mode to teach new pilots good R/C manual piloting skills.

Another significant change in mode behaviour is that CIRCLE mode now holds altitude. This is important because CIRCLE is used in the first stage of failsafe conditions, and if your plane is badly trimmed it could lose quite a lot of altitude before the RTL stage of failsafe kicks in. Note that this doesn't mean that CIRCLE is now the same as LOITER - in a LOITER the plane will adjust its roll to keep going around the target position, whereas in CIRCLE the position of the plane isn't considered - it just holds a small roll angle, which results in a large circle that drifts with the wind. This is deliberate as we want CIRCLE to not be dependent on the GPS, and to involve no sharp turns.

The other change that is probably worth expanding on is the ability to mount the APM in many possible orientations. This has been an open request for a long time as for certain types of airframes it is very useful. Just set the AHRS_ORIENTATION parameter to one of the supported orientations and your APM will quite happily work upside down or sideways.

I'm expecting it won't be 2 months till the next release, as I have a bunch of other changes pending that I held off for this release (for example, the AP_Mission code from Brandon, and the new AP_Scheduler code), but meanwhile I'm very happy with how this release is flying, and I hope you all will be too!

Happy flying!

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Great stuff, I'll try test this week, thank you for this version.

Tridge, you may well have seen this but if not here's the link: http://diydrones.com/group/apmusergroup/forum/topics/improvements-t...

You are a great Tridge !

This week I'll try the new features.


WOW nice!!! thanks

hmm but I saw it is not anymore compatible with arduino 1.0.1 so we have to use 1.0.3.

How can we setup it for Visual Studio???

Hi Andy,

I haven't tried building with visual studio, sorry. Can you build with Arduino 1.0.3?

I don't do builds with Windows myself, so I'm not familiar with the VS build.

Cheers, Tridge

yes Arduino 1.0.3 does work. The 2.68 did only work on 1.0.1 and Visual studio.


In the 1.0.3 I had to choose from the ArduPilot menu the right APM board. I can't do this in Visual Studio so is there a possibility to bypass this?



sorry for disturbing once again. I got the APM2.0 and when I stat the APM up I get following error:

Failed to boot MPU6000 5 times
PANIC: failed to boot MPU6000 5 times


thanks  Tridgell ... very nice

Hi Tridge,

I noticed that when turning on the APM board, the compass indicator is reset on the North position independently of the direction where the plane is oriented. For example, if the plane is oriented at 90 ° or east when i boot the APM the compass reset to zero degrees in that direction as if it were the North. In 2.68 firmware this did not happen.


Did successful build with Ardupilot Arduino 1.03 for input channel 8 remapped at channel 6 so that I could use it with my 6ch Futaba transmitter and a modified receiver for serial PPM out.

I had to change just one line in the code and in control_modes.pde

static uint8_t readSwitch(void){
// uint16_t pulsewidth = hal.rcin->read(g.flight_mode_channel - 1);
uint16_t pulsewidth = hal.rcin->read(g.flight_mode_channel - 3); //NSR: Mode switch on Ch 6, useful for serial PPM in case 6Ch Transmitter is used

Also I am very well able to fly and control my plane just with joysticks only. Detailed flight testing is pending. Excellent work Tridge !

Hi Andy,

Failed to boot MPU6000 5 times
PANIC: failed to boot MPU6000 5 times

That's very strange. The 2.69 release includes some extra paranoia checks that check that the MPU6000 is properly initializing, and it tries resetting the MPU6000 up to 5 times until it responds correctly. Is there anything unusual about your board? For example, do you have any modifications to it? Is it from the 3DR store?

Are you using the firmware from MP or are you building the firmware yourself?

Cheers, Tridge

Hi Fausto,

I can't reproduce that here. Can you check if the compass is correctly enabled? Check both the MAG_ENABLED and the COMPASS_USE parameters.

If it is correctly enabled and this behaviour is repeatable, then can you send me a tlog of the bootup and first minute after boot? Try to follow this procedure:

  • point the APM south with power off
  • plug in a USB cable and connect with mission planner
  • after the APM has fully booted, rotate the APM to point east then west
  • post the tlog from the logs directory of mission planner

That should give me enough info to see what is going on.

Cheers, Tridge

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