Aerodynamic FPV Bixler (v1.1) with APM 2.5

Hi there

Just a quick post of my Bixler v1.1 build and some mods I`ve done in the last weeks! The main goal was to fit in an APM 2.5 and a MinimOSD / Telemetry as well as the GPS, the FPV gear and all the standart RC gear "inside" the plane in an attempt to make this plane more aerodynamic. I didn`t see this setup so far, so I thought somebody might find it useful / has any suggestions.

The camera, the 5.8gHz TX and the MinimOSD are protected under the cockpit casing, which I have sprayed from the inside and attached with black tape on the canopy. The openings of the camera and the TX outlet allow enough air to pass trough, but make the hole cockpit area much more aerodynamical! (The TX could be mounted further down, but then there is no access to the channel switches anymore...).

The cockpit is secured using a 5x9x 60mm pice of wood glued on the cockpit and a rubber band around the fuselage.

Some pics:

The APM is mounted upside down between the two foam horns under the cockpit. I used some more rubber bands and some double sided tape.* See this post for additional informations:

The Servo cables and the Power wire is coming from the back of the plane along the battery all the way to the nose (30cm extension wires) and around the front of the plane. Almost everything is attached to this bunch of wires, the RC RX, the power filter etc. This way the cables stay where they belong, and the cockpit can be removed (to change the battery without worrying about the APM to much) and all the wires and attachments could still be easily taken out for repair/inspection/modification etc.

For the GPS (as soon as it arrives) I will cut a space just 5-8cm from the nose in the styro, insert the GPS and cover the section with tape.

Last but not least, the Radio module is stuffed way back besides the servos and behind the battery.

* I use "Plastik 70" on almost every board I own, for isolation and general protection. COVER THE BARO BEFORE SPRAYING!

Views: 3375

Comment by Pieter on January 4, 2014 at 12:08am

nice build!
For the location of the GPS: I would concider putting it somewhere else.
I had a setup very similar and I couldn't get a stable GPS lock (hdop <2).
It turned out that my FPV cam emitted a lot of noise on the GPS frequencies.

Comment by Jonathan Parrott on January 4, 2014 at 1:10am
Excellent work. I've tried to fit all that gear into my own Bixler only to find it wouldn't fly anymore due to the weight. Are you experiencing any issues like that?
Comment by sixtimesseven on January 4, 2014 at 1:14am

Thank you :-)


I was wondering why nobody has mounted the GPS at front ... Have you any idea why the reception is so bad? In your setup, where were your antennas positioned / were there some other interference's? And with which GPS have you worked? Because the free sky view should be given at front as it is on the rear "tube", shouldn't it?


I have seen your blog as well and I think it"s a good Idea to add proven "standart built" tutorials in the wiki.Of course you can incorporate the idea (although I don"t know how mounted the APM upside-down first, because the tools in the Mission Planner seem to be there for a long time). 

Comment by sixtimesseven on January 4, 2014 at 1:25am


Thank you very much as well! Concerning the weight, I use the D2826-10 with an APC 5x4.5 for additional thrust, which is really needed. It gets somewhat heavy (I will put my plane on a scale for you).

Then, I have reinforced the tail, the rudder and the elvron (3mm cfk rods) as well as I have put on some reinforced gfk tape on the wingtips. Like this, I hadn't had much trouble besides the climb rate.

Comment by sixtimesseven on January 4, 2014 at 1:29am

Comment by Pieter on January 4, 2014 at 1:34am

I did some testing and I figured it out that only my flight cam was giving interference. my 2.4ghz video and 433 mhz LRS does not affect reception. I use ublox gps receiver.

If you put your GPS on a wingtip or on the rear fin you will get good reception.

Comment by sixtimesseven on January 4, 2014 at 1:39am

The camera! Ok, I will find another spot for it. Thanks, saved me the time testing it myself!

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 4, 2014 at 1:40am

I'm with Pieter you are going to get all sorts of GPS weirdness there if not careful. I will say this of all these Bixler builds remember really the only thing to add is lightness to an airframe. The stall speed of the aircraft moves up quite dramatically with the addition of weight. 

Comment by sixtimesseven on January 4, 2014 at 8:11am

You have a message!

Comment by sixtimesseven on January 4, 2014 at 8:46am

Hi Gary, now I see what you meant with the GPS, that was seperated from the weight. 

Take off weight with GPS / rods and 2500mA 3S will be about 950gr. I have flown the plane a couple times yesterday and today and yes, it flies faster. But I found It more stable with the stiffened frame aw.

The carbon rod mod just ads about 100-150gr, the rest comes from the fpv / apm gear. So I would say it depends on your preferences... I'm used to multicopters and 800mm flying wing combat frames which are stalling in almost every kind of situation, so "bixler light" felt a bit boring actually :-)

But I agree, if you are a beginner / want a very slow, easy and stable plane use a bixler (and add fpv & apm later).


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