For the first time since Mike Fouche documented it on Goo Tube.

An autonomous copter has flown at a certain very high altitude in a certain country. The exact altitude & country is a secret to protect the innocent of course. It was also at midnight, like all our most extreme test flights.

Since the radio seems to work better if the antenna isn't blocked by anything including foam, moved the radio farther down the tail rotor to test higher visibility. Eventually want a spring loaded boom which swings the radio under the fuselage.

With that arrangement, the radio is real good for our cruising altitude of 400ft AGL. For fixed heading at higher altitudes, it's probably not much worse than 400ft but U have to be like a spaceship & keep it fixed so the antenna is always visible & perpendicular to U.

For pirouetting, it gets dicy & U have to fidget with the ground station to keep it alive.

Forget about manual control. If something malfunctions, U can disable autopilot, descend real fast, & hope the rate damping keeps it level long enough to get within visual range, but you're probably killing the engine & dropping it. Definitely need a large safe landing zone.

Not much flight time at altitude with the current landing program. Landing voltage with 100A batteries is 10.7 instead of 10.6 & most of your flight is spent descending. Can't take over manually for 2/3 of that descent so you're definitely focused on battery voltage. Need a 3rd velocity teir for landing.

Theoretically 1 of the points of light in this 204 frame stack is Major Marcy's satellite control network seen from the apartment. M.M. also works in this secret unknown country that allows high altitude flights.

Speaking of M.M., got some more dish shots.


Very risky shots. Crash behind the impenetrable barb wire fence & you'll have to approach someone in the Air Force to recover the vehicle. We all know what happened the last time we approached someone in the Air Force.

It's the Air Force Satellite Control Network, directly controlled by last week's dish farm. This dish farm is near the apartment. Who knew Rain Ramon & Sunnyvale were linked through space & time all these years by the Air Force.

Finally a montage of those flights.


2 good 2 B true. No consumer GPS module outputs the raw navigation data required. The modules he used R either no longer sold or in the $300 range. He must have thought every $100 uBlox4 & uBlox5 did it but they really don't.

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Comment by Mike on November 20, 2009 at 11:18pm
'altitude & country is a secret' - you have obvioulsy read the PicoPilot thread on RCGroups....

Nice work.

Some time ago I too tried everywhere to get the right modules for the open RTK system. One of the problems was that apparently they would not supply the LEA5T to the UK. I tried several places and they never even answer emails. Pity that the technology was available cheaply but is not now - very strange...
Comment by Garry Qualls on November 21, 2009 at 4:03am
It looks like the Novatel OEMStar is their new low cost receiver (Superstar II replacement), that will do RTK. The brochure says you can get code and carrier phase at 10 Hz. I'm not sure how much it costs, yet.
Comment by Mike on November 21, 2009 at 4:48am
Seems that it ships in November....baited breath in place! Thanks for the info Garry.
Comment by Dimitar Kolev on November 22, 2009 at 1:34pm
Mike, it seems LEA5T is available in ublox eshop for 145E as sample?
Comment by Mike on November 22, 2009 at 10:18pm
Dimitar, thanks for that. I actually stopped looking for the LEA5T because seemingly there is a bug in the firmware which affects its performance in RTK. The details are on the web page for the open source RTK.



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