Has anyone heard of a successful project using Pixhawk to control a glider? Is there software out there already that can interface with Pixhawk for things like thermals and glide ratio control? I've seen a couple posts here about controlling gliders with autopilot.

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  • All,

    I have been researching the various programs on DIY for auto-thermaling, including Sam's work, and others.  Really fascinating.  I just ordered a PixFalcon and associated peripherals for first go at it in one of my gliders.  I am coming from the Vector FC world, frustrated by lack of autonomous waypoint delivery, and a fairly quad-centric, non-glider-centric focus by ET.  I haven't seen any recent activity regarding Sam's code in a recent release of ArduPlane code.  (Sorry if I am butchering some of the terminology; just joined the DIY/APM/Pixhawk space a few days ago.)  Has anyone out there merged Sam's work into recent releases?  Ideally I would get the best of his work on thermal turning/centering, plus the latest fixes and functionality in ArduPlane main line of descent.  Former C programmer here, though not really looking to get into the custom coding business if I can help it. 

    TIA,

    Kelly

  • I have been using ArduPlane on an APM 2.5 successfully on a Radian glider. I have THR_MAX set to zero so the autopilot never uses throttle, but it is still available for climbing in MANUAL mode. Control of airspeed in FBWB is very useful and makes flying very carefree as you only need to control the roll angle and the autopilot does the rest. This can also help performance by keeping the airspeed at the maximum L/D or minimum sink value. I had some good thermalling flights at the weekend in this configuration.
    Unfortunately the stock ArduPlane code does not allow this as it is designed primarily for powered planes. For this reason it will take corrective measures when it detects the aircraft is not maintaining altitude (this involved setting the airspeed to the ASPD_FBW_MIN) so this feature need to be disabled as in my branch  here https://github.com/samuelctabor/ardupilot/tree/Soar_lib .
    I am also using airspeed control to find the drag polar of the glider which will be used for a total energy netto variometer and thermal centring algorithm (in the same branch). This has been tested in HIL simulation ( http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/ardusoar-cross-country-x-plane-... ) and I am working towards real-world testing over the summer.
    Cheers,
    Sam

    • Hi Sam

      I would like to know how is the developing of this branch, I discovered it last week, compiled and installed in a APM 2.6, I hope start flying it next weekend in a Kyosho Soarus Sport what is now flying with a Pixhawk using a standard Arduplane 3.2.2.

      Thanks

      Gino

    • Hi Sam,

      This is some useful information. I was definitely wondering about setting autopilot throttle to 0. Thanks for sharing your info and good luck with your glider testing!

      • I make compilation of sam tabor cool work for pixhawk, and i'm waiting the glider for building. In meantime, I'll make simulation on HIL x-plane 10. Keep in touch.

        max

        • Hey Max,

          Glad you are working with this code. Right now I'm just trying to understand where you need to make changes in the ArduPlane code at least to accommodate the lack of altitude correction and the variable airspeeds. I will be comparing Samuel's code to the regular ArduPlane code. Let me know how your testing goes!

          • I'm following a completely different and odd approach in
            https://github.com/borges2003xx/peregrine , too . :))

            borges2003xx/peregrine
            peregrine home. Contribute to borges2003xx/peregrine development by creating an account on GitHub.
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