My project FlightZoomer: realistic flight instruments, navigation systems and auto flight systems


I´d like to introduce my project of a smartphone based telemetry and navigation system called FlightZoomer.

Other than (almost?) any existing system FlightZoomer differentiates as follows:

  • There is one smartphone onboard the copter/plane (= the companion computer is the phone)
  • Another smartphone is used as glas-cockpit (groundstation)
  • Focus on realistic flight instruments, navigation systems and auto flight systems (modelled after the Boeing 787 cockpit). This means:
    --- Glas cockpit with PFD (Primary Flight Display) and ND (Navigation Display)
    --- Navigation database with fixes, radio beacons, airports, runways
    --- Radio navigation
    --- Instrument Landing System ILS
    --- Realistic Flight Management System for flight planning
  • Synthetic voice output for co-pilot simulation
  • Transmission 100% based on cellular networks
  • Supports (performance) flight test
  • The onboard smartphone is coupled to an APM based flight controller via MAVLink (over bluetooth)
  • Sensor data is fed to the groundstation primarily from the flight controller, though fallback modes to the phone's own sensors are also supported
  • Latency typically < 0.1s
  • No video or image stream (< this strongly reduces bandwidth and latency issues)
  • Communication between the airborne smartphone and the groundstation runs via a Relay Server
  • The Relay Server can run unattended as Windows desktop application at home
  • The solution is 100% software, all hardware comes off-the-shelf
  • The phone apps run on Windows phone

Project history

The project started two years ago and for the longest time focused on a standalone system that only relied on the phone´s sensors. This was the initial idea and I was able to make it fly though serious constraints remained (non consistent accuracy overall, unusable compass, strange attitude sometimes, GPS overall marginally).

Therefore I decided to mate the phone with the flight controller. So currently a prototype with an AUAV X2 is in flight test, and the results are amazing (compared to the standalone operation). That way I came in touch with the ardupilot community so consequently I also joined diydrones. So here in  that I can introduce FlightZoomer to you. I am also curious what would you think about FlightZoomer...

Next steps

While version 1.0 was the standalone system which was never released, I plan to release version 1.5 (with the MAVLink interface over bluetooth) in the coming months.

There are also a lot of ideas for further releases to improve the underlying premise (recreate the experience of dealing with "real" aircraft systems):

  • More voice features (e.g. extend the role of the virtual co-pilot, test flight director, maybe even ATC)
  • Recreate the autoflight modes of the 787 100%
  • Extend the features of the Flight Managment System
  • Maybe add additional cockpit hardware to the groundstation (modeled after a real cockpit)
  • 3D terrain

More information


(The flightzoomer website currently still covers version 1.0)

Personal background

I was educated as electronics engineer, studied Electrical Engineering and worked in professional software development ever since.

Some images

The onboard app:

The groundstation:

The Flight Managment System (real 787 vs. FlightZoomer):

Views: 2034

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on August 16, 2015 at 6:58am

Super impressive! I just wish it ran on Android or iOS. I'm sure you hear that a lot ;-)

Comment by Jerry Giant on August 16, 2015 at 10:28am

I am so impressed with the job you have done. please kindly make it 'general available'.

Comment by avionics on August 16, 2015 at 5:22pm

absolute beauty

Comment by Ravi on August 16, 2015 at 10:01pm

see what open source can do. so much of talent being shared.

Comment by technicus acityone on August 17, 2015 at 8:01am
Comment by Martin Rüedi on August 17, 2015 at 12:38pm

Thanks guys for the kind feedback!

- of course I know about the market penetration of Windows phone. It is just that due to my programming background the .NET stack brings me the furthest with the least effort (= more features per given amount of effort)...

- Maybe Xaramin will allow me sooner or later porting the apps easily to the main mobile OS's.

- I would anyway not suggest to use your everyday phone for FlightZoomer purposes (at least not for the sensor device). There are many many cheap (less than 50€) second hand Windows phone devices available on e.g. Ebay.

Comment by lancer161 on August 17, 2015 at 6:46pm

Great job! At last I see great apps that runs on Windows Phone. Now I can put my Windows phone to good use.


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