ArduPlane v2: Full autonomous flight HIL simulation of a Nimbus 4m electro-glider drone

Here a video of the test of a Nimbus 4 meters wingspan electro-glider piloted by the firmware ArduPlane 2.28xp1 (updated version with a JLN mod). Test done in HIL mode with the AeroSIM-RC v3.83 simulator connected through the AP Mission planner v1.1.30 on an ArduPilot Mega board v1.

Test Mission profile:

  1. Full AUTO TakeOff,
  2. Exec of the flight plan (8 Waypoints),
  3. Full AUTO Landing.

The original ArduPlane v2.28 firmware has been updated (xp1) with some improvements:

  • Tuning of the final slope for a smooth touchdown, tested with the Nimbus 4 on AeroSIM-RC 3.83 in HIL mode,
  • Auto calculation of the wp_radius Vs the ground_speed and the max turn angle in AUTO mode so as to get the best turning point at the Wp,
  • add the CLOSED_LOOP_NAV ENABLED switch to allow redoing the flight plan after the end of the exec,
  • add HIL mode test in GCS_Mavlink.pde for AeroSIM RC v3.83 (and also Xplane v9), the APMHill plugin tested with the Nimbus 4m electro-glider model,
  • the CLI switch can be disabled, this allows to use only a APM CPU board without a full IMU shield for HIL test.


This is a part of the project Thermopilot (a Thermal Hunter drone): The purpose is to build a full autonomous Thermal Hunter Glider which is able to fly for a long duration in an area defined by a radius, a ceiling and a minimal altitude. The glider uses thermal soaring and dynamic soaring methods commonly used by full scale gliders during cross country soaring competitions. The ThermoPilot has been tested successfuly in flight during the summer and spring 2011 on a Cularis and a ASW24 3.50m electro-glider (below). Lot of flights have been done in high mountains (slope/ridge soaring) and above the fields (thermal soaring).

The Thermopilot project will continue intensively during the spring 2012... Stay tuned...

Regards, Jean-Louis

More infos at:

Views: 12844

Comment by spagoziak on February 9, 2012 at 11:11pm

This is ... amazing. I'm eager to introduce TP to my skywalker :)

Comment by Jean-Louis Naudin on February 10, 2012 at 1:19am

Here a good example of thermal hunting along the track with the ThermoPilot v5.2, you may notice the change of the direction of the turn and also the change of the turn rate during the spiral in the thermal upwards...

Regards, Jean-Louis

Comment by Marco Robustini on February 10, 2012 at 1:35am

Wow! JL I hope that your test end soon, I can not wait to try it on my ASW28!

Comment by Jean-Louis Naudin on February 10, 2012 at 1:58am

Below the path recorded during a cross country soaring mission and the gained altitude with the ThermoPilot v5.2. In this exemple, I have used a glider, so no external power source (motor) is used to sustain the altitude, only the thermal upwards along the path are used.


Regards, Jean-Louis


Comment by moshe drori on April 10, 2012 at 9:16pm


It's really  a great job !!!

Following to APM2 pltform - Automatic Landing capability

I tried to find a link to the ArduPlane  2.28xp1 source code files also  for previous version for but i doesn't find it...

I want to understand from it  the basic Automatic Landing APM2 algorithm - I'll appreciated if you can give me more details  about it .

 I hope that soon you  will notify us about his real  Autonomous Flight include landing

Thank you & much sucsess



Comment by Jean-Louis Naudin on April 10, 2012 at 10:06pm

Hello Moshe,

You will find the full source of the ArduPlane v2.28xp2 with the full auto-landing and auto_wp radius addons that I have successfully tested with AeroSIM-RC and the Nimbus 4 glider HERE

Regards, Jean-Louis

Comment by moshe drori on April 10, 2012 at 10:30pm

Hi Jean-Louis

Thanks for your response, I'm new on this forum

I got  this source code - for example

but I doesn't find on it the  any auto-landing  algorithm.
I'll appreciated if you can  connect me to the someone of the developers
maybe most of the auto-landing down on the ground station ?
Please your response
Shalom & Regards

Comment by Jean-Louis Naudin on April 10, 2012 at 11:12pm

Hello Moshe,

You will find my auto-landing code embedded in the files:



If you are new in this field, I suggest you strongly to visit the Wiki dedicated to the ArduMega Pilot at:

Regards, Jean-Louis

Comment by moshe drori on April 10, 2012 at 11:36pm

Hi Jean-Louis

Thanks. but where I can dind the following files u mention 



It's C, C++ soorce code ? please send me a link

On There isn't information regarding to my request ...


Comment by Jean-Louis Naudin on April 11, 2012 at 3:11am

Hello Moshe,

I think that you need to really understood how the Arduino IDE works before any atempt to change the ArduMega source code... So, I recommend to visit the main Arduino tutorial page at:

Regards, Jean-louis


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