I had an excellent test flight with the new Auto Flap feature this morning.



This picture is the end of a fully autonomous flight.  Sorry, I should have had video running....  It is impressive that the Skywalker is sitting within about a meter of the center of the runway.  However, what is really cool about this landing is that there was a 10-15 mph (5-7 m/s) tailwind.  The decent rate of the Skywalker is pretty slow without flaps, making precision landing difficult.  With a tailwind the glide angle would be very flat and in this case the landing would have probably gone very long, landing perhaps 100 meters past this point.  However, with the automatic flap deployment ArduPlane did a very good job of getting the plane down and stopped close to the programmed landing point. 


To help everyone interested use this feature I have added a wiki page about it.  You can find that here:



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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on October 6, 2011 at 1:49pm

Wow! I think we're ready to enter the carrier landing competition ;-)

Comment by Mark Colwell on October 6, 2011 at 2:14pm

Nice work Doug !

1 meter resolution is great...


Comment by Richard Unwin on October 6, 2011 at 4:46pm

Man you are one lucky dude to have that runway and field to do your testing in. tick one for video next time.

Comment by Tom in NOVA on October 6, 2011 at 4:58pm

Doug, thanks for this post and for your work!  Very impressive! 

Comment by Doug Weibel on October 6, 2011 at 6:42pm

Hey Richard,


Yes, very lucky.  That field is the Boulder Aeromodelers Society field; one of the local RC clubs.  They are an AMA club, but very diverse with people interested in planes, heli's and gliders.  They don't seem at all concerned with my UAV activities :)

Comment by DaveyWaveyBunsenBurner on October 6, 2011 at 10:28pm
Nice work Doug!

How are we with fixed wing code and 1280 support? Still managing to squeeze the code in OK? I seem to remember APM was less of an issue than ACM?
Comment by Rana on October 7, 2011 at 12:05am

Great work Doug ! 

Comment by Ahmed Rehan on October 7, 2011 at 5:00am

Doug what about the torque when you hand launched did it went wing leveled or rolled ? can u please post the video of takeoff and landing.

You did a great job.


Comment by Doug Weibel on October 7, 2011 at 7:24am

Ahmed - Hand launch is no problem.  APM will stabilize in roll just as well as a human pilot....


Davey - I have not checked lately.  We are near the limit, but I believe the trunk still compiles for the 1280.  If not, you can always compile for a specific gps (vs gps auto detect), or with the cli disabled, and it will easily fit.

Comment by Amilcar Lucas on October 8, 2011 at 1:14am

Davey the code fits fine in the 1280, you just need to disable cli.


Doug, did you take a look at my patch a3f75347295a in the APM_Camera branch ?

I think it fixes some cases where the flaps are configured as channel 8.



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