After my last UAV project went up in flames (literally!) I’ve shifted gears and designed a dedicated autopilot (AP) test vehicle. She is a tailless plane with removable wings for transportation and has plenty of room in the fuselage with easy access.

For the autopilot, I’m using Bill’s UAV DevBoard with a modified AileronAssist code for handling the elevons. This modification is a work in progress by Ben Levitt and he is including a lot of great features. You can check out the latest versions of the code here. The tailless had her first autonomous flights this weekend and I’ll be posting all of the flight logs on this blog. So far, I’m really pleased with the AP’s performance. Not only does the DevBoard and software perform well, but Bill also provides a wealth of information on the theory of his methods as well as the “how to” to get the hardware and software installed and running. I know this is beginning to sound like a commercial for Bill’s stuff but if you do a search on this website, you’ll find nothing but praise for Bill and his accomplishments. And to top it all off, he’s always willing to immediately chime in and help whoever asks for assistance.

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Comment by Bryan Cuervo on October 4, 2009 at 4:25pm
The icing on the cake is Ben Levitt’s modification that allows the use of various airframes and additional inputs/outputs. This is a work in progress and I’m the first one to fly elevons with it so there have been a few kinks to work out. The following configuration matrix shows the process of getting the control surface functions and directions sorted out.

Comment by Bryan Cuervo on October 4, 2009 at 4:31pm
Here are the results of the weekend's flights. In stabilized mode, my marginally stable tailless plane flies like a high wing, polyhedral trainer!

Comment by OlivierD. on October 4, 2009 at 4:57pm
Bryan, from what I understood, you are using a modified PICKit2 to program the UAVDev Board, does it work well? If so, it's great news, no need to buy the bulky MPLabs board!
Congrats on you success with the UAVDevboard. Looking forward to your progress details.

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on October 5, 2009 at 4:34am
Nice work Bryan. Looks very good from a very functional UAV perspective!

Comment by Bryan Cuervo on October 5, 2009 at 4:56am
I had originally modified the PICKit2 to connect to the DevBoard. Later, I found a better method that is shown here.
The stock PICKit2 works just fine and is half the cost and half the size of the ICD2 offered by SparkFun.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on October 5, 2009 at 5:57am
The airframe looks great Bryan
Comment by Rana on October 5, 2009 at 6:39am
Hi Bryan !

Astonishing great to see your blog on your UAV Dev Board and the detachable wing Delta Plane !
Do you have some videos ?

Keep it up !

Thanks & Best Regards


Comment by William Premerlani on October 5, 2009 at 9:15am

Congratulations, that is quite an achievement, a real milestone!

I am very impressed with your airframe, and with the work that you and Ben Levitt did to adapt the AileronAssist firmware to elevons, and with your patience while you worked out the initial kinks.

I will be very interested to continue to watch your progress. Thank you for what you've done.

Best regards,
Bill Premerlani
Comment by Bryan Cuervo on October 5, 2009 at 9:20am
Thanks guys.
When I get a chance, I'd like to get some video showing how well the stabilizing mode works, the gentle stall characteristics of the plane, and some on-board video to help with tuning the gains. This is impressive and, as you know, Billu is the man!!
Comment by OlivierD. on October 5, 2009 at 9:46am
Bryan : Thanks for the clarification with the PICKit 2 programmer. That's amazing news.
And yes, Billu Bhaiya is the Grand Master of open source IMU solutions.
Billu Bhaiya : We should add the PICKit 2 to the list of programmers that work with the UAVDev board!


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