Four pilots, planes, and APM's

It's not everyday I get a text message asking if I want to fly with two test engineers from 3dRobotics. But who would pass up the opportunity? Joe and Craig wandered down to SEFSD today to tune some of the airframes they were working on. Plus they wanted to check out my X7. Here's some flying with Joe, Craig, and my friend Josh. This is THE most APM's we've had in the air at SEFSD at one time! 

Thanks for coming down guys! Can't wait to fly with you again! 

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  • Richard - I use the DIY Headtracker along with a Pan Tilt system I made for the X7. 

  • T3

    It looks like your FPV rig had the ability to move around, was there head tracking setup involved?  Really neat video, thank for the sharing.

  • Is that an air-to-air refueling probe sticking out there?  Glad to see the 3DR engineers are working on some more advanced features for APM!

  • John, I've spent a lot of time perfecting the auto landing at that field. The landing in the video was a chapter out of David Scott's "Mastering Landings" article on the AMA web page. My usual boring autonomous pattern out at the field is usually just 4 points. The landing pattern itself consists of 10 waypoints that dump both altitude and speed. Using the lessons in Dave Scott's article I started adding Do_Change_Speed's to my route. One is on the downwind leg, the other after the turn to final, then another when I'm about 30 meters from my last waypoint and the LAND command. 

    The X7 likes to cruise at about 15 m/s and if you don't add the Do_Change_Speed commands it'll come in hot. With the new landing pattern and speed commands I've been nailing auto landings perfectly every time. On days when there's a stiff cross wind I'll let the APM take over and land the plane. 

  • Moderator

    Was that really autonomous landing? Very, very nice if so!

  • Joe, Craig and Josh were flying 3rd person and I was the only one flying FPV. Once I saw one of them in front of me I'd visually lock on to them and follow them around. We'd communicate what part of the field we were at so we could catch up when needed. We had another spotter that could tell a person if they needed to swing a 360 to get caught back up.  At one point Josh and I were going to attempt an Autonomous formation but we need to work out some air speed issues first. 

    Probably the most fun I've had flying FPV in awhile. 

  • Nice flying guys! Did you require clear communication all round to avoid pile ups?

  • Thanks for making this post! We had a blast and we would love to come down to SEFSD more often!

  • PBreed - SEFSD lifted the ban on autonomous flights in June. Jim Bonnardel  and I were the major champions of that project. Plus there was help from Lawrence Tougas and many others. 

    The rules are you MUST follow AMA 560, keep the vehicle below 400', and within the posted field limits. The RTH location should be set far away from the flight line. 

    Feel free to come down and check out the location and fly with us. Feel free to let me know if you'd like to meet down there and fly.

  • I thought the SDEF rules specifically prohibited autonomous flights?  I'd fly there, but thought it was not allowed...

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