ArduPilot now supports TiltWing VTOL aircraft! First test flights done earlier today in Canberra

We did the first test flights of the Unique Models CL84 TiltWing VTOL with ArduPilot today. Support for tilt-wing aircraft is in the 3.7.1 stable release, with enhancements to support the tilt mechanism of the CL84 added for the upcoming 3.8.0 release.

This CL84 model operates as a tricopter in VTOL flight, and as a normal aileron/elevator plane in forward flight. The unusual thing from the point of view of ArduPilot is that the tilt mechanism uses a retract style servo, which means it can be commanded to be fully up or fully down, but you can't ask it to hold any angle in between. That makes for some interesting challenges in the VTOL transition code.

For the 3.8.0 release there is a new parameter Q_TILT_TYPE that controls whether the tilt mechanism for tiltrotors and tiltwings is a continuous servo or a binary (retract style) servo. In either case the Q_TILT_RATE parameter sets the rate at which the servo changes angle (in degrees/second).

This aircraft has been previously tested in hover by Greg Covey (see but has not previously been tested with automatic transitions.
Many thanks to Grant, Peter, James and Jack from CanberraUAV for their assistance with testing the CL84 today and the videos and photos!

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Comment by Tim Wallace on January 29, 2017 at 3:10pm

Looks awesome! Our FireFLY6 had been hit or miss after we added some modifications to it but this makes me think we might be able to resurrect it under Ardupilot. Great work, looking forward to seeing more!

Comment by Andrew Tridgell on January 29, 2017 at 4:26pm

Hi Tim,

The FireFly6 frame has been supported in ArduPilot for quite a while, but nobody has actually tried to fly it as far as I know. I built a simulator for it which flies fine, but don't have a real airframe. I did hope they might send me one, but no luck. If you want to try it then I'd be happy to help you configure it.

Please ask here:

Cheers, Tridge

Comment by Stanley Anak Suab on March 9, 2017 at 8:45pm

Intersting :-D


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