UPDATE: If you are reading this, be sure to review the subsequent blog post.

Hello there esteemed DIYD members.


I've been very quiet lately. But I have not been idle. 


Based on the topic title, you might think this belongs in "Simulation," but my target audience is here, in the APM/ArduPlane forum. I'm looking for folks who fly real life planes, so this post is a little misleading.


I wasn't satisfied with using a full scale plane, or even using the RC model shipped with X-plane to predict, simulate, and train for my missions. So I set out to create a reproduction of one of my Bixler-based ArduPlanes in X-Plane 9.70. As you may be aware, there are certain challenges and limitations to doing this, but I made a reasonable degree of headway in overcoming them. 


After nearly 80 hours of experimentation, three generations of planes, and uncounted revisions, I have it working realistic (enough) for an alpha release. My intent, in a future release, is to adapt this model to increasingly perform with the same PID settings as the real thing; in this version, I focused more on getting the dimensions, wings, forces, and power of the plane to match the original as much as possible. 


iMovie is a dangerous thing; I only intended to patch together a few clips quickly, and instead found the Movie trailer templates. One can create and share something so quickly that your better judgement can be circumvented ... this is a little bit of over-the-top fun, so I hope you will not take the "theme" too seriously.


Here is a slightly longer, but older clip, from a second generation of the plane:

My intent is to release the model for general use, but it is not yet ready for that. It has not yet achieved enough of the goals I have for it. So to begin with, I had in mind perhaps a progressive release, starting with providing the model to anyone who is interested - and is willing to help by providing some data on your own (real) Bixler/EasyStar flights, or to anyone who wants to help tune it up better. This could be followed by a push to rework the model to more closely simulate real life, then making it available to the entire community.


I would be happy to send you a copy of the plane, as it exists today, along with some recommended X-plane settings, and the current PID/config settings, but I would like to "exchange" it for a few of your own files.... I am looking for your data from a Bixler/EasyStar ArduPlane 2.2x flight:

  • a Mission Planner flight log
  • a mission file used during the flight
  • settings files (PIDs) for the Bixler and/or EasyStar ArduPlane flights
  • a brief description of the winds and your observations of the flight

I appreciate any help you might be willing to offer, including feedback on simulated flight performance, how it differs (when flying in manual, in stabilize, or in auto) from your real-life Bixler/EasyStar, any PID tuning you might do so that we might work towards a general release. 





PS. A few notes on the specs - Well, I say "reproduction," but it is actually a 1.7 scale (3x in terms of mass) version, which uses a virtual (and painstakingly) replicated APC 10x7E prop in place of the most-often recommended APC 6x4E to achieve proportional lift/thrust ratios. Reynolds numbers are scale-true (but might be reduced to more closely match the 1:1 scale version.) The wings are a very reasonable approximation, for my first X-plane model, considering everything was done within Plane-Maker, and I did not do much customization of the actual airfoil yet.

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Can these files be transferred to 3DS Max for editing?  I'm interested in this project as well.

It is my impression that 3DS Max is one of the many editors you can convert/export into. 

I have a lot of accessories I've made in 3DS but have not gotten around to making a model of the EZ yet.  I would love to add this to my collection and help anyone who needs some tweaking.

Hi Mike,

Did you ever complete this effort?  I'm building a blender model of the Bixler and am looking for shape data.  I've cut a kit fuselage into sections and am building from the cross sections.  Is your still model available?  I'd like to cross check against your data if possible and would be happy to share my resulting model with you.  If you are willing, please send to fritz.schulz@verizon.net.  Also, do you know the airfoil used for the Bixler wing?  Is it a standard airfoil or custom?

Any assistance is appreciated.

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