How does the ardupilto control its altitude? or for that matter hold altitude, is it using the co-pilot to make altitude corrections according to the GPS read out? Also how accurate would that be? Thanks any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Sorry I meant Controlling
It control altitude with throttle, based on GPS altitude readings. Accurate +- a few meters.
I'm pretty new to the game, been flying radio control planes for a while though. You say that it used the throttle for altitude control, does this use standard aerodynamic laws regarding lift vs speed? or does the elevator actually get used? Sorry for all the questions.
FAM co-pilot controls the elevator (and the ailerons). Not sure what you mean by standard aerodymanic laws, but we use simple PID control loops. Doesn't really matter what the underlying laws of the system are, if it's dynamic a PID loop can be tuned to handle it.
ok, that makes sense, thank you very much for all the correspondence...
Throttle control Altitude changes and Elevator control Speed changes
I am still a little confused about this. Perhaps someone can walk me through an example. Say the aircraft just reached a way point at 500 feet and the next way point is at 400 feet. How is the altitude controlled to bring the plane down 150 feet? The FMA is just a stabilization unit right? It just tries to keep the plane in level flight?
Shane, in ArduPilot 1.0 (the current one), we just lower the throttle and the plane descends while the FMA keeps it level. In ArduPilot 2.0 (new software coming out next week), we use both elevator and throttle to control the altitude more precisely and regardless of wind.
Does the Ardupilot 2 use new hardware? Or the same hardware?

I am planning to use ardupilot inside a glider which will be dropped from a weather balloon. So I don't have throttle to control my altitude which is why I am curious how it is implemented now. I am assuming I will need implement my own altitude control to monitor my speed and control what altitude I need to be at since I wont have a motor.
Same hardware. ArduPilot 1.0 won't work for you, but ArduPilot 2.0 will (it can work with elevator only). Just buy the board now and you can download the 2.0 code next week.
Alright thanks! Already bought the board and its on the way =) Are Ailerons neccessary? I was planning on modifying the wing to add them, but do I really need them? I was under the impression that the FMA needs them. I guess Ill know for sure when it gets here and I can read the directions.

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