QuadPlane support in APM:Plane 3.5.0

The upcoming 3.5.0 release of APM:Plane includes support for QuadPlane - a hybrid plane/multi-rotor that allows for high speed long distance flight with vertical takeoff and landing.

The above video shows a converted HobbyKing Firstar 2000 doing a fully autonomous mission, with VTOL takeoff, followed by automatic transition to fixed wing flight and then a VTOL landing. The planes builder, Jack Pittar from CanberraUAV, is shown with the plane below.

3689677459?profile=originalThe plane itself was fairly easy to build, with the simple additional of rectangular section aluminium arms on the Firstar wings and 4 quad motors.

One issue we found is that the battery we are using (a 3S 4Ah 65C) doesn't handle the 65A needed for vertical takeoff well, with the voltage dropping to 10V on takeoff. After takeoff completes and it transitions to fixed wing flight it quickly recovers. We will be changing the battery setup for future flights.

A second issue is that the wings tend to twist a bit in flight, especially when yaw is commanded. That greatly reduces yaw authority when hovering. We are still thinking about the best ways to prevent wing twist.

The new QuadPlane support is documented at and is included in the 3.5.0beta1 release (I will do a separate blog post on that release shortly).

In the near future we expect to add support for other hybrid frame types, including tilt-rotors and fixed wing aircraft with other types of multi-rotor frames attached.

This QuadPlane follows on from our earlier Senior Telemaster QuadPlane which used two Pixhawk flight controllers.

scaled_IMG_20150830_093548.jpgWe built the Firstar QuadPlane to test the new code where a single flight controller board running APM:Plane is used, which makes for much simpler operation. We plan on now building a much larger version, with a 50cc petrol motor for fixed wing flight.

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  • breakthrough, but it will be that it would be possible to control this VTOL quad tilt rotor
    here you have an initial prototype documentation with lots of information on the fuselage and concepts:

    It would be very interesting if quadplane 3.6.0 is controlled this QTR quad tit rotor.

  • My maiden now seems so bland without theme music. Congrats!
  • Thank you @tridge for your fantastic work on the QuadPlane code.  Here is a video of my maiden flight yesterday over Hobart, totally standard PIDS.

    10KG Take off weight with U7 motors.

  • Thanks iskess!
  • You will only see Q_ENABLE. Set that to 1, then refresh the Params and you will see all the other Q's.
  • Be shure you have the correct vers or try to install again, you have the 3.6 beta too

    perhaps this helps.

  • I'm putting together a Quadplane and have just about finished the airframe conversion, but now I can't find the parameters. I've installed Plan 3.5.3 on my Pixhawk, but can't see any of the Q_xxx parameters. The wiki says "QuadPlane support is in APM:Plane releases from 3.5.0 onwards. The normal instructions for installing the Plane firmware apply".

    Am I being stupid?

    Please help,


  • Thank's Jacques, I'm going to need larger tubes. What happens if I reversed motors and props are in part under the ailerons? (and use some kind of legs) It's affect flying? (to avoid larger tubes)

  • Here is an image to show the CG for the FX61. The quad frame needs to spaced correctly over the CG3702245808?profile=original

  • It's possible that this works? the copter cg it's backwards the plane but I think if I put battery transverse the fuselage in front and the camera as forward as I can, perhaps I can balance it? the few flying wings that I found as Justin one have forward motors much forward than the wings.

    Is there a relation between the wing large and copter wide that I have to consider?

    My idea is

    to assemble and fly the fwing

    install and tune perhaps a Pix2

    build the copter and tune with the fwing weight payload

    At the end connect everything, if possible with a detach quad system to easy transport.

    Is there good info how to design a Quadcopter? I found PX4 nice posts.

    3702245569?profile=originalTubes are all the same.

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