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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  • @Mauro Rodirguez You can join the PX4 gitter channel https://gitter.im/PX4/VTOL This serves as the main discussion platform for the VTOL project.

    PX4/VTOL - Gitter
  • Any news about this project???

  • Thanks Roman,

    That's great to hear. Pitot tubes are a pain in the ass, and I've found it necessary to recalibrate the airspeed sensor too often.

    I'll shoot for the front of the CG range for initial test flights then. I assume you didn't have any pitch oscillations in manual mode forward flight. Or is "manual" still under autopilot control?

    73, Mark

  • Hi Mark, I guess I am a bit nose-heavy just to make sure it is self-stabilizing in fixed wing flight. But I still have it inside the recommended range. After today's flight test I believe that it can be flown without an airspeed sensor. I introduced a method with calculates induced prop airspeed via momentary current and voltage. I think this might be enough in order to scale the gains such that you don't have oscillations (without measuring airspeed). If you do not scale gains with airspeed you have really scary pitch oscillations. I will let you know tomorrow which parameters you have to change after I have completed the wiki. But it really is no big deal.



  • Also, can the Caipirinha VTOL fly without an airspeed sensor, and if so, which parameters need to be altered?

  • @Roman Just to clarify CG location: do you have it in the recommended range or are you a bit nose-heavy?

  • If you think it PX4 could work for tilt-rotor or tilt-duct systems as well, I'd like to test it. (Hardware is ready for testing -only need right software)

  • Hi Bill Piedra. Could you contact me please at monauro at gmail dot com? I am working on a similar solution as yours in my Talon UAV ;) Regards!

  • 100KM

    twin motors would look nice on a techwing, I'll sign up.

  • Moderator

    How do I apply?  I have been working on this VTOL for almost a year.    I have flown this as a 5 motor (quad + pusher ) and am now trying to get it to fly as an OCTO + 1.   


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