FlightZoomer 2.0 is released!

Until now I have presented only videos with the beta version of FlightZoomer release 2. But now the final version is completed and published. The apps are available for free so there is nothing that could stop you from flying your drone according to IFR rules (except the regulatory requirements, which should strictly be followed)!


In the video above, I go through the highlights of FlightZoomer version 2.0, so you not only see the system "working" but also get an impression of the look&feel as well as the capabilities of the new autopilot.


The covered topics in this video are:

  • The autopilot simulation mode. It allows to demonstrate and train the autopilot features with just the groundstation app as a stand-alone unit. All the other components are simulated
  • The autopilot itself
  • The Flight Management System
  • How a flight plan is created on the fly in a couple of seconds
  • How an ILS radio receiver is tuned
  • The camera control panel on the groundstation looks
  • And - last but not least - a demonstration of an ATC-guided (air traffic control) approach to the tuned ILS


Some screenshots from the video:





For those who hear about this project the first time, here are some bullet points:

  • Smartphone based systems, that aim to recreate the avionics of a real aircraft for UAV usage
  • One smartphone is attached to the UAV and runs the FlightZoomer Sensorics app
  • A second smartphone (or tablet in the near future) runs the FlightZoomer Groundstation app
  • Both are connected via cellular EDGE, 3G or 4G networks.
  • The communication links runs via a relay server, which can run at home and hosts the navigation database plus adds logging capabilities
  • There are extensive downlink (telemetry) capabilities and uplink control capabilities
  • The onboard smartphone is mated with an APM based flight controller via Bluetooth
  • Currently supported is Arducopter 3.3 or higher.
  • Supporting Arduplane is on the to-do list
  • For about 200$ you can get everything mentioned working (assumed, you need to buy two Windows Phones for the groundstation and the sensor device)


Much more details you can find on my homepage flightzoomer.com.

The full documentation for version 1.5 is still valid for the basic functionality:

Version 1.5 full documentation

For the version 2.0 the additional features are described in this 50 page addendum:

Version 2.0 addendum

So, that's enough for this time, hope you enjoyed the video and this post!

The music in the video is composed by myself.

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  • Currently just one of the two camera operation modes (either video or serie shutter) can be switched on or off. Wrapping the whole Sony camera api or the phone camera capabilities to the groundstation is something for a future release...

  • do u have a demo video in which you are controlling the camera of the sensor phone using the flight zoomer2.

  • Thanks for the kind words!

    @Ravi: yes, it does support mavlink. The airborne smartphone (=sensor device) talks with the flight controller using mavlink

    @Chris: thats true. Even in the past suitable handsets were dirt cheap. My first onboard device was a 2nd hand Samsung Omnia 7 for 40€ and my current one is a 2nd hand (with broken glas) HTC X8 which has set me back also less than 50€.

    The requirements for the sensor device are low. Prior version 1.5, FlightZoomer relied on the phone's sensors, which proved inadequate. As the sensor data feed is now coming from the flight controller via mavlink, any entry level model WP8 device can be used if it only has Bluetooth. Battery weak? No problem... Display damaged? no problem... Optional are a good camera and preferable is a low weight. This combination tends to be offered for the lowest prices. E.g. this current offering would be perfect for less than 30€ + 5€ shipping cost.

    @Ravi2: currently these are windows phone apps, so in order to let it run on a windows 8 or windows 10 notebook I need to migrate the apps as so called Windows Universal apps (which I will be my next topic).

    B.t.w. I today completed the best "real" flight ever with my quadcopter. FlightZoomer worked like a charm exactly as advertized and described in the video (you have to know, that the simulation mode works so well, that 90%...95% of the testing and development happened in house with the app emulators and only from time to time, I did full end-to-end testflights). I maybe will upload a separate video from the flight today.

  • since it is widows phone that means even a windows laptop can be used.

  • 3D Robotics

    And the good news is that Windows phones are soon going to become very cheap and disposable, since Microsoft is exiting that business. Can you recommend one for the air side of the pair?

  • I assume it supports mavlink.

  • amazing! how realistic. you feel so close to flying a real predator with this GCS. so much hard work and this gentlemen says it's free to download. god bless you!

  • All I can say is... Wow!
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