5km Autonomous Flight


After confirming the failsafe function and getting our FPV system set up, we wanted to push auto navigation beyond the confines of our field.  We set up a mission involving 3 loops, a small confirmation loop followed by 2 larger paths formed by a total of 12 waypoints. Even though FPV was at its limits, we were confident the APM would bring the Shrike home and it did! 
Next week we will be testing auto navigation further in some more volatile weather to see how it handles unexpected gusts and cross winds.  See you then!
-Trent & Nick
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  • Great video, guys! I really enjoy your approach to testing and your obvious love of the "sport". Keep up the great work!
  • Hi Trent.  Thanks for all those responses.  You're a true gentleman.  My apologies for any incivilites in my post.  It was certainly unintentional.  Ironically, I was actually excited that my impressions might be incorrect regarding how and where we can fly and was hoping for confirmation of that.  In any case, keep up the good work, keep the posts coming, and good luck with the goal.  Think "sponsors!"  :)

  • Sorry guys did'nt notice Rana already covered this :)

  • Trent, excellent first APM flight.

    You might need to alter the orientation of the Tx antenna on the 'Shrike' to achieve best reception  as I would suspect both Tx & Rx antenna's are 'vertically polarised' at least thats the norm! I noticed anyhow the airborn antenna is laying horizontal and the ground, Rx antenna is vertical. Unless you know different, thats not the best way for efficient Video reception. As you probably know a uni-directional antenna transmits a doughnut shapped spectrum I woud suspect the one one the 'Shrike' is radiating to the ground and to atmosphere. IMHO consider turning the Tx antenna 90 degrees!

    Great flight Lyn.

  • Moderator

    Trent for your USA flight you will have to fly all of your flight within line of sight unless there is a major change of heart at the FAA or you might try and obtain a special permission. I would not discount that option as you will clearly be able to show that you have prepared for the flight. The other thing to do would be get the flight done quick before anything solid is enforced or enforceable. The biggest snag for FPV types is the upcoming World Radio Council rulings on frequencies deemed legal for UA use they will be a worldwide standard. The FCC are much better at enforcement than the FAA, especially when aeronautical mobile is involved as the possibility for disruption across a wide area is there. The proposed freqs are outside of the Ham bands most above 5 Ghz. I expect somebody here knows more about it though.

  • @Danny - Telemetry is on its way! We can't wait to start using it... 

    @Scott - That is an awesome video! Thank you for sharing! That does help visualize what is happening...

    @Brian - Thank you for the encouragement! It is so much fun...

    @Mike - Sounds like you had an awesome mission! We're getting closer to a cross country flight.

    @Carl - You're exactly right. We were trusting the APM2 with our "child". Glad to see it went well.

    @Martin - Thank you! It’s getting really fun using all this technology. We finally got our recorder set up, next episode and future episodes will have onboard video.

    @UnmannedTech - Thank you! We're actually exporting it right now...

    @Paul - This is a touchy subject as you know. We are doing our best to stay in control of the airplane at all times and working hard to create safety protocols to prevent damage. For our USA trip however, it is inevitable; we will be flying a majority of it without line of sight. What we do now is build confidence and strength with FPV, telem, failsafes and other measures to create an environment of reliable redundancy.

    @Manu - We are too! Just got the CP antennas yesterday from a fellow YouTuber... can't wait to test them out.

    @Mike - Thank you for the clarification. We're doing everything we can to make this safe for all. We can be better, and we spend a lot of time thinking and planning out what we can to do be safe and responsible.

    @Imko - Good point. We'll have to test that to make sure. I believe on signal loss it RTL's in all modes (under default).

    @Rana - Good tip. We'll keep it vertical during flight. Right now it kicks it back to horizontal when it lands due to its placement, and we reposition it each flight.


    Thank you guys for your help!

  • Nice attempt ! though Scott has already noticed and suggested, I would just add that keep the video Tx antenna vertical at the plane side. What I have suggested is all based on my experience and observation. 

  • great video, just keep in mind you are talking about not losing radio signal because it did not RTL as far as i know there is a setting witch determents when in AUTO and signal loss what do you want me to do keep on flying the mission or RTL.

    Seems to me it's wise to check to be sure!!

  • Moderator
    flew* using both FPV and spotter
  • Moderator
    Paul - its not our job here in the community to enforce the rules of part 97, but if it were, I'd expect someone to actually watch the video before raising fine legal points (which isn't very productive to begin with)

    Perhaps you missed the fact that they ran a course where the plane was within about 1km at all times, try used both FPV and a spotter, the plane was within radio control at all times, and they had previously tested (on camera, no less) that their system reliably performs RTL if it loses range to the transmitter.

    Except in very clear cases, I believe the most civil approach is to assume your fellow members are following the laws and regulations. Keeping range with an FPV transmitter is not in part 97, and given the full context of the flight, even if it were this communities responsibility to question the finer details of the FAA's view on this flight, I don't see where the questions you raised have any merit.
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