Winner of Sparkfun AVC now selling homebrew autopilot

Antonio Liska, who has won the Sparkfun AVC for two years with a homebuilt autopilot, is now selling a commercial version of that hardware.  It's called the "Goose" and it's just airplane-only at the moment and closed source, but it has impressive features:


  • Optional Built-in electronic speed control (ESC)
  • Supports Spektrum, Hitec Optima receiver or a GCS joystick for RC backup
  • Current Sensor
  • 6 PWMs
  • 6 Serial Ports
  • 3 Spare 10bit ADCs
  • Removable SD card for data logging
  • Non-removable 4kbit flash memory
  • Standard .1inch servo headers
  • Standard Deans power connector
  • Complete voltage regulation for servos and accessories 5v/3.3v/3v


  • Multiple flight modes selectable via GCS:
    • Standard RC
    • Fly-By-Wire
      • R/C sticks control roll pitch and airspeed
    • Takeoff (Runway or hand)
    • Flight plan
      • Orbits and way-points
    • Land
      • Land in the selected location
    • Return-to-launch
    • Taxi
      • Follow a ground path and optionally enter takeoff mode
  • Configurable triggers for servo and digital IO
  • Error monitoring – messages displayed on GCS
    • Motor malfunction
    • File system checking
    • GPS serial connection
    • Voltage checking
  • Multiple Failsafes
    • Low voltage
    • Loss of communications
    • Mission boundary crossing
    • Loss of GPS
    • Watchdog output pulse
    • Parachute deployment
  • Hardware in the loop simulator with FlightGear
  • Manual tuning of PID loops in flight
  • Flare sensor
    • MaxSonar
    • Sharp IR SHARP2Y0D02
    • Pressure Altitude
  • Lifetime flight statistics are logged for various min/max conditions
  • Fast Fourier Transform for vibration analysis during integration or preflight
  • Fat file system for compatibility with PC


  • 3 ST Micro Gyros
  • 3 ST Micro Accelerometers
  • 2 Freescale Pressure sensors (MPX5004 and MPXH6115)
  • 1 Temperature
  • Ublox GPS is Externally connected
The price is $1,899 for the Pro version and $899 for the Lite version with some of the features above removed. A full PDF of differences between the two is here.

Views: 1294

Comment by Ethan Ferrell on June 13, 2011 at 9:31pm
That's some very impressive work for homebrew! Seems like a hefty price though doesn't it?
Comment by bGatti on June 13, 2011 at 9:32pm
Congratulations Antonio - nice to chat with the team there at the Dark Horse.
Comment by Russell B. Sutton on June 13, 2011 at 9:36pm

$1900.... Really?  Good Luck with selling out of those.  I'll stick with the APM.  :o)

Comment by Ethan Ferrell on June 13, 2011 at 9:44pm
When I think about it more, I see $1900 being a fair price for a "professional" Autopilot system. I don't think he'll be able to sell much as a "homebrew" product. Although, a company could buy the rights to it and put more money into for refinement--then sell it a a professional product.

I still want to reinforce that it really is impressive work for a single-man project. Would be nice to see a new APM with some features such as hardware fail safes. I'm still new to APM so if it has some hardware fail safes please correct me.
Comment by Kirill on June 13, 2011 at 10:07pm
Firstly, I thought that this autopilot could be a competitor of APM. However, with this high price few people will want to purchase it. Nevertheless, it's very good homebuilt project.
Comment by Dano on June 13, 2011 at 11:46pm
Nice work but one size does not fit all... airframes that is
Comment by Coptaire on June 14, 2011 at 12:49am

Quite a big chip on the pic. Which MCU is used ?


Found the answer:

"The Goose is powered by an RCM4120 running at 58mhz with 512KB of ram and 512KB of flash memory"

Probably developped in C.

Comment by Chuck on June 14, 2011 at 1:33am

When will HappyKillmore have it integrated into his GCS?


Isn't that the gold standard for autopilots.



Comment by Gary Mortimer on June 14, 2011 at 2:49am
Good for him, he was a worthy winner of the competition and gave it a jolly good go at the OBC.
Comment by sevenboarder on June 14, 2011 at 5:04am

I may have a little bias, but I've had the great pleasure of helping Antonio test out this autopilot and I have to say in my personal and professional opinion, its far from a homebrew.  I've flown many different systems including the Cloudcap and Micropilot and would say it is very comparable to the Micropilot.  I've got well over 100miles on mine and it's been smooth sailing from day one.  Antonio is an engineer and the system is appropriately engineered extremely well. The price may seem a little steep, but if you think about it... it's more than a fair trade for a very reliable system that has proven its worth in many competitions.  In reality you're going to have to give up a little cash if you want to do some serious flying with a serious autopilot.  


I can help answer any questions if anyone has them, otherwise visit to get more info and to live chat with Antonio if he's around.


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