The 'Ugly Man' meets APM/AC2


The 'Ugly Man' is my mongrel, 660mm, 1.5kg, APV/FPV Quad, so named because a good friend gazed upon it and said 'damn, that thing is ugly'.  This triggered an appropriate old song in my easily programmed mind (Ugly Man), and the die was cast. But, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, right?

The 'Ugly Man' is built-up using a BQ-1 frame kit from AGL Hobbies, TRex 450 CF tail booms, extra landing gear legs from a  Hoverthings VC-450 frame kit, and an X-Aircraft, single-axis camera mount.   The 'Ugly Man' uses RCTimer 2830/13 850kv motors, RCTimer 20amp ESCs, 10x4.5 props & 3S3300mah TP Prolite batteries. It began life controlled by a Paris 3.0 MultiWiiCopter board, stably hauling a ContourGPS HD camera aloft, but longing for more...  Most multicopter flight controller manufacturers seemed to be promising additions like GPS & Baro 'RSN' (real soon now!) for functions like alt-hold or position hold. Full-blown autopilot capabilities, yeah, right!  Oh well, one can always hope.


Then one day I found myself here.


You mean to tell me I can get a fully equipped (with mag & sonar) autopilot for $350!?!?  And it's supported by a constantly percolating community that provides frequent updates to both AC2 code and the equally-incredible APM Planner!?!?

I must be slipping. How could they keep this from me??


And, how can you truly experience Planner without both a 900MHz XBee Pro and a 5.8GHz FPV camera with transmitter flying along with the APM? I sure can't...  Debit card never stood a chance!


Just loaded 2.0.37 AC2 code, calibrated & configured the quad, and hovered a full pack (~11 min.) in Stabilize mode. Nice neutral yaw on takeoff, with no bad tendencies.  Pitch & Roll initially a little too sensitive for my thumbs. Set it down and dialed the rate in the transmitter for Pitch & Roll down to about 70% and added 30% Expo to both axes. Ah, that's very nice! Default PIDs seem to be a really good starting point for the 'Ugly Man'. No wobbles, nice & stable.


Can't wait to begin working with the more advanced modes. I've set the Walkera 2801Pro TX up for six flight modes by mixing the 3-position flight mode sw with the gear switch.


Figured I'd snap a couple of pictures before I caused the 'Ugly Man' to pull an 'Amelia Earhart' or somehow exit the flight envelope in some worse fashion.


Looking forward to sharing my experiences with the DIYDrones community.











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  • niiiiiice Kevin

    Would you mind sharing what major components you used ? I'm building my quad now and so looking for what gear to use.

    I have already got:

    ardupilot mega

    gps module

    XL MaxSonar EZ 



    xbee 900Mhz

    turnigy 9x (tx&rx)

    contour HD camera for recording

    I have yet to get (mind sharing what you used ?)


    FPV camera and transmitter

    Head tracking

    FPV goggles.



    As you Kevin Im engrossed in the project. Props are the big hold up because I can't find anyone in Australia that sells pusher props. I had it flying the other day (about 2 inches off the desk) but until i get some new props with decent keepers I dont dare try it. 


    Anyway I will look forward to your continued posts and news


  • I thought it was one of those ironic names, like when the bouncer at the bar is named Tiny.

  • Thanks, guys!

    I'll try to provide videos from both cameras during the coming week's 'flight tests'.


    The name, is in large part, just serendipitous timing - a phrase, a song, and it stuck.

    My eye has always beheld the beauty of it.  I like Bernard's description - technical art

  • This looks more like a production copter. If I build one it wont even reach description of ugly :) . I like your idea on the landing gear. Thanks for sharing.


    Hope to see video too

  • Video! We want a video! :)
  • beautiful dude. it really is. mine was too far uglier. I hope I can build a new one as pretty as yours.. very neat too
  • I think it looks like a sculpture of some kind.

    This is technical art.  I almost can feel the performances.

    Seriously, very nice work and the look of this thing is .... stylish in a sens.

    No uglyness here.

  • Very neat work! That means the Ugly Man is a beauty.
  • Looks like a very nice build!
  • Doesn't look all that ugly to me honestly.
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