After flying two (arduous) 20km FPV flights, I was thinking it would be fantastic to have a mode that would keep the plane heading, altitude and speed. FBW & Stabilize holds the plane level, but it drifts. Auto requires I pre-load waypoints.

This would be a fantastic feature for the FPV users. What do you guys think?

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FBW of course, not FPB

As I thought it wasn't too hard to add a heading hold mode (now called CRUISE), so I've now pushed out 2.74beta4 with CRUISE mode included. I've been flying it a bit in the SITL simulator and it seems to work quite nicely. It would be great if I could get some more people to try it out, both in HIL and in real planes.

The way it works is this:

  • if you have any aileron or rudder input then it flies just like FBWB. So it holds altitude until you use the elevator to change the target altitude (at the FBWB_CLIMB_RATE rate) and it adjusts airspeed based on throttle
  • when you let go of the aileron and rudder sticks for more than 0.5 seconds it sets an internal waypoint at your current location, and projects a target waypoint one kilometre ahead
  • as it flies along it heads for the target waypoint, and constantly updates that target to always be one kilometre ahead, leaving the previous waypoint as the position that you centred the aileron and rudder sticks
  • as long as you don't touch the aileron or rudder, it will run the same navigation it uses for waypoints, including crabbing, cross-track etc, so it will very accurately hold that ground course even in the face of changing wind conditions

One of the nicer aspects of it is how it handles rudder. If you give it some rudder then the roll controller will keep the wings level, but the plane will yaw with the rudder. So you get a "wings level" turn, allowing you to rotate your flight to point at whatever geographic feature you want to head towards. Then when you let go of the rudder it will head straight for that point.

Please give it a try and give some feedback. It is available now in mission planner as a 'beta' firmware.

I'd recommend you fly it with the need TECS speed/height controller, by setting ALT_CTRL_ALG=2. Also make sure you tune your plane correctly, following the tuning guides for attitude, navigation and speed/height on plane.ardupilot.com

Cheers, Tridge

Tridge this is amazing! Thank you. I will try it asap.

Thus far I have not tried any beta firmware but this is interesting enough to push me into trying it. Thanks Tridge!

I did some test flights in CRUISE yesterday at my local field in my AddictionX. It was only over short distances, but worked very nicely.

Cheers, Tridge

Brilliant! I can't wait to test it, unfortunately work and wind intervenes until Thursday!

I try it in high wind yestoday ,it worked well ,except a little bit alttitude lose. Did i touch E stick careless?

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