Dear all,

Any idea how the Pixhawk mounted on a flying wing will behave when flying a mission at very high latitudes (~ 80°). Due to the proximity of the North pole, magnetic compasses are usually no longer reliable. Since the Pixhawk also includes informations from GPS and giro, it should be able to achieve a mission on the base of other reliable data. However, this suggests setting certain parameters? Any shared experience would be most appreciated.


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  • Hi Guillaume,

    I realize this post is now from last year, however I was wondering if since then you've learned any more about how the Pixhawk will operate at very high latitudes. This summer I'll be in the field in the Canadian High Arctic (at approximately 82.4° latitude), and I am very curious as to how the Pixhawk would perform mounted on either a fixed-wing or 3DR Iris+ platform.



    • hi adam,

      I can give some feedbacks from my last year experience at a latitude of about 79°. First of all, I confirm that the 3dr compass was completely unreliable, i.e. it used to drift all the time. However, after setting COMPASS_PRIMARY to 1 (this forces to use the internal compass instead of the external one), we found that the compass data were mostly (but still not always) correct, so we kept going with this configuration. For our fixed-wing, compass issue was not critical since the compass heading gets always corrected with the GPS as long as the UAV has enough speed (as this is the case for a fixed-wing). Still be careful for an auto-take off since the plane might not follow a straight line but make a turn until the heading gets corrected with GPS. By contrast, we had much more issues with our IRIS+ quad at any time it was hovering without any horizontal velocity (so no chance to correct the heading by GPS). The only thing I can advise is to prevent stationary stages in the flight planning and to always give some horizontal velocity. Also it is certainly good to relax a bit the tolerance to reach a WP to anticipate less-accurate flights. Any better idea to fly safely a quad without compass is welcome!



      • Hi Guillaume,

        My thanks to you and Andre K. for sharing your experiences with me. It's promising to hear that to a certain extent it is feasible to fly the Pixhawk at such high latitudes. It's likely we'll just be bringing our 3DR Iris+ to the field this year to conduct small scale surveys, and I'll be sure to keep your suggestions in mind. We'll also have an FPV system installed on the platform, so if needed we can always navigate directly by sight.



    • works fine on Svalbard.

      Arduplane can be flown with magnetometers disabled, that would eliminate any problem with the latitude.

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