PX4 - Call for VTOL test pilots

Call for VTOL test pilots! The PX4 standard firmware (master branch, downloadable via QGroundControl) supports first VTOL vehicle (duo-rotor, tail sitter). This video demonstrates the transition from hover - fixed wing - hover. Contact: http://px4.io/vtol.

Additional vehicles are currently in testing, including a BirdsEyeView FireFly Y6 (tilt rotor) and a Quadshot (quad tail sitter). The main benefit during initial bring-up of VTOL support of the TBS Caipirinha is its small size and high operational safety, combined with the inherent ruggedness of a flying wing airframe.

As the PX4 flight stack (running with the PX4 middleware on Pixhawk) is unified platform without separate multicopter or plane codebases and using the same command & control (arming, logging, safety) state machines and mission management for all platforms, its perfectly suited for VTOL development. Adding VTOLs didn't mean to introduce a new vehicle category, rather, it mostly meant adding a new mixer, a VTOL transition controller and some minor tweaks.

Note these are initial results leveraging existing multicopter and fixed wing controllers spiced with a VTOL transition controller - the dev team is meanwhile experimenting with model predictive controllers. But even this initial baseline implementation works quite well and is ready for some flying.

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  • Great work PX4 team! This is pretty impressive. Much more the fact that you documented everything. Amazing contribution.

    @Lorenz, I'd also love to get a pointer to the literature that describes the dynamical model of this vehicle.

  • Developer

    @Pedro sure you can.

  • Wonder if I can add 2 motors and PX4 and turn my FX-61 into VTOL?

  • Yes, this will give you a nice neutral behaviour. But I think as long as your motors are more or less in line with the wing you will be fine.

  • Excellent. I have a buffalo fx79 sitting around and I have a couple of large motors so will give it a try this week. Is it important that the motor thrust is in line with the longitudinal COG?

  • Talk about great timing!  I'm looking for a next project for my physics students here at Furman University.  I started this morning looking to see what's going on with the bicopter technology that I had last looked at a few years ago.  The plan was to start something with either multiwiicopter or kkcopter controllers.  This looks much better.

    Count me in.

  • Developer

    Yes, the motors are fixed. Its a very lightweight and durable that way.

  • Very Very Nice! I take it that there is no articulation of the motors, the flaperons control the attitude in hover. Is this correct?

  • Developer

    It can almost certainly carry a small p&s. And the good thing with wings is: You can get them in all sizes and shapes, and a slightly larger one can definitely carry one easily.

  • what's the payload on the caipirinha?   enough to carry the autopilot and sony nex/canon p&s? would be fun for mapping

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