Ok, so I took the SSS APM 2.5 up again this weekend once on Saturday and once today (Sunday) and the flights taught me important lessons in why we should read the documentation that is available for our equipment.
The Saturday flight was just stupid. It was windy and my pilot (I just man the computer and let a professional RC buddy do the take offs, lame, I know, but I'll learn later) put her down after a few loops and didn't want to take her up again. At several points you could cut the throttle and SSS would just hang in the air like a vulture and every time she banked I held my breadth as the wind caught the 2.4 meter wing and hurled her across the field. When he landed her we almost decided to catch it because the wind just held her steady and still a few feet above the ground. Gentle wind the manual says. Gentle.
You can see here how the surfer almost remains still as the red GPS readings clump together as she heads west (right of image) near the path).
Ok this was a biggie mistake. Nice weather, warm, perfect day for testing out a mission using the autopilot. I plotted out a mission like this using mission planner, my pilot launched her, took her out to the middle of the field and I hit "auto". I expected brilliance.
The Plan (note in the real plan I moved "home" to the middle of the field).
So it's in the middle of the field and I inform my pilot that I'm going "auto" he says good luck. I engage. The SSS promptly turns away from the assigned grid area and heads straight back toward us. Like sailors watching the torpedo they launched coming back at them I start freaking out as it heads over us and the highway behind us (a decreed no-fly zone for us). I return it to manual and check my mission. I get her over the field and again inform my pilot that I'm taking control. Again she turns and begins to charge us down. Again, I switch to manual and cry silent, dry, tears as my pilot brings her in to land.
What happened? I had a "compass error" earlier so I thought it might be a north south issue (no, not the civil war) and that it was heading "north" instead of "south" to the first waypoint (yes, that makes no sense considering it was displaying direction fine during manual mode). I packed my gear and came home.
Well, I can't be 100% until I get it back up in the air but it might have something to do with the fact that I didn't "write" waypoints in Mission planner. I'm fairly certain that when I hit auto the APM detected no mission and just went into RTL mode. Which, given the default "home" position" would put her in a circle over me and, in part, the highway behind.
Moral of the story: Skipping steps is bad. Don't do it.
Safe flying folks.
Bonus map of my failed "Auto" attempts. Green and Pink are Auto tracks.