Emergency Auto Landing - APM saves sUAV

Mayday! Mayday! I tested the FPV system on the Raptor140B, with nearly disastrous results. Luckily, the APM was onboard to save the day!

I added the 400mw 1.3Ghz FPV transmitter to the 140B, and took it for a test flight. Right after take off I had significant control issues, and barely recovered the airplane. Thinking it may have been the flight controller, and wanting to determine the cause while the same circumstances were available, I double checked all connections and systems, and flew the aircraft again.

Again, it had significant control issues, even in manual modes. Luckily, the APM flight controller was able to safely loiter the airplane overhead while I determined that indeed the Turnigy 9x transmitter was no longer able to safely control the airplane.

This required me to create a mission mid flight, update the mission, update flight parameters, and attempt an autolanding, the first time I've tried this feature.

Watch the find out the results!


Safety Statement: To maintain safety, I prepared by doing many thing things including:
-obtaining personal permission from a vast majority of property owners (I couldn't reach all of them)
-maintained a continues watch for full scale aircraft, and;
-maintained direct control of the aircraft for the majority of the flight
-this airplane and system has OVER 1,000 MILES of perfect performance, with 90% of it autonomous with this exact set up. It has been tried and proven many, many times, including over 200km of cross country flights
-the autopilot was programmed to continue to fly after a signal loss, which has been tested and proven to perform many, many times
-the flight was over a very open and low populated area, with 99%+ of the area being open fields or trees
-the altitude read over 120m, but elevation increased during flight as I took off out of a low valley. True AGL for the flight is 100-120m. 
-avoided all airports and populated areas.
-I've flown at this location 3-5 times a week for the last year. I know it very, very well.
-I conducted test flights with the new set up that I did not show during the video to confirm stable performance

Raptor 140b+ Stats:
Weight: 2280g
Max Flight Time: 70min
Max Range: 97km
Stall Speed: 35kph
Cruise Speed: 90kph
Max Speed: 135kph
Radio Range: 1.5km
Energy Carried: 167wh (15,000mAh at 11.1v)
Drive Power: 850w
Total Flight Time on Craft: 7.0 hours
Total Flight Distance on Craft: 498km

The equipment used---
Raptor 140 airplane: http://store.mygeekshow.com/product-p/raptor-140-kit.htm

Radio Tx: ParkeFlyer Turnigy 9x Tx: http://parkeflyer.com/
Telemtry: 915mhz 100mW 3DR http://store.3drobotics.com/products/3dr-radio-telemetry-kit-915-mhz
Laptop: Compaq Presario CG57
GPS Dongle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000PKX2KA/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o02_s00_i00

Flight Controller: APM2.6 https://store.3drobotics.com/products/apm-2-6-kit-1
Reciever: 6ch FlySky http://www.hobbypartz.com/79p-r6b-receiver.html
Telemtry: 915mhz 100mW 3DR http://store.3drobotics.com/products/3dr-radio-telemetry-kit-915-mhz
Battery: (3) 5.0Ah 20C Lipo: http://store.mygeekshow.com/product-p/5ah-3s-battery.htm
ESC: 60A Brushless http://store.mygeekshow.com/product-p/60a-esc.htm
Motor: 3542 1450kv brushless http://store.mygeekshow.com/product-p/1450kv-3542-motor.htm
Prop: 10x7 Carbon Fiber Folding http://www.hobby-lobby.com/10x7_carbon_fiber_cam_blade_798_prd1.htm
Servos: 11g digital http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=42620
Onboard camera: http://www.ebay.com/itm/16-V2-Lens-D-808-Key-Chain-Video-Camera-/380627482427?#ht_5755wt_1149

Learn More:
Raptor Details: http://www.mygeekshow.com/theairplanes/Raptor140.html
USA Trip Details: http://www.mygeekshow.com/usatrip/

Follow the Show:
Website: http://www.mygeekshow.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MyGeekShow
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mygeekshow
Skype: MyGeekShow
UStream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mygeekshow

Filmed, Edited, Produced and Published by Trent in Arkansas, USA

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  • A RCHP vtx antenna on the plane at 5.8 with a 7-12 turn helical on the ground will give him miles and miles of range and the ability to penetrate trees within moderate range.  You can get an easy 7 miles of great video that way.  A booster up to 1w on the rc tx will put him out to the equivalent range for rc control.  Cheap easy solutions that do not involve much money, or 433/900 frequencies.  A good patch antenna for the telemetry on the rx end and he should have no issues flying out a couple of miles from the ground station.

  • 433/900 for control, 2.4 for video, IMO.

    Only snag is, what does he then use for telemetry? I'm assuming you're going big antennas for telemetry for your USA trip? 
    I ask because one traffic jam on the road, and he's out of range in minutes otherwise.

  • T3

    @mP1  Regarding the penetration of objects, I agree. However at relatively close range that's not a problem, and at a far range its just a bad idea (heeding LOS recommendations and all) Its obviously totally possible to have a video frequency lower than your control frequency, its just causes some issues, like needing a low pass filter. Which BTW does not always work. 

    Considering Trent's ultimate mission, I feel UHF control for the reliability is the most important aspect. The onboard video really isn't important. 

  • This was one of the best vidoes i've ever watched. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Thank you everyone for your comments!! I read and consider each one. Work, family, finishing the 140C, and getting the EZUHF installed are demanding 110% of my time, so I'm not able to respond to each one of you individually like I usually do, but I wanted to thank you for taking time to watch, support the show, and provide valuable feedback. Thank you!!!


  • I also had this incident last year, but i already had a ready made and tested landing procedure saved as a .TXT file. So i just uploaded this file to my Skywalker X8 and activated AUTO mode from my Mission Planner. Saved my day/plane :-)

  • MR60

    @Trent, my god you teach me how to scream ;)

    You are really my prefered geek lol.

    Now a serious question: can you explain how you used MP to take control, erasing eventual pre programmed commands, sending which new commands, sending the auto command,etc.. A tutorial would be nice if you'd have time. Thx

  • Have had 2 x failures with Flysky radio gear. Neither had FPV gear.  Both virtually the same as Trent's. Don't trust Flysky with anything more than a small parkflyer. Went to Frsky and is leaps and bounds better. 

  • @Ted

    The problem is 5.8 isnt very good even with nice antennas if you want to fly low and behind trees. Just a few trees and your video is gone.

  • Trent, as always you have both informed and entertained, earning your latest report a place on this page of similar posts. 

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