Wish to extend a massive congratulations to DIY Drones - Cross Country Trust Flight - Using Pure Telemetry

Firstly I wish to convey my highest appreciation to all the developers and members of this community.

For those who do not know us, i wish to make a small explanation as why i am posting this.

Im my/our line of work, i/we have worked (and still do when required) on high end Mil spec UAV/UAS, and we wanted to do a mission not dissimilar, to what is required in real world situations.

This is the explanation of our comparisons, capability of the DIY Drones AP/IMU (for the amature market)

In the past we have been asked to over land flights, without the return trip for reconnaissance/info drop, info sec.

Given that due to a multitude of rules and regulations, for the DIY`er we had to plan this very carefully and get permissions to cross places and property, not belonging to us, and thankfullly the people involved, were very interested in this project and wanted to see success (another thank you to those who helped, by making this easier). We also did not want to risk the UAV community byt doing somthing very stupid that could end in tears for all, the loss of the aircraft, being the lowest priority.

So, with carefull planning we came up with a route where we take off from a field on our companies grounds, and the idea was to fly to a close friends/associates field, where the aircraft was to lioter until told to land.

With this in mind, we planned to take off, get to altitude, switch WP1, which was over our field, once WP1 hit, off it goes.

We had spotters with a back up system to command the aircraft if it went south, given that we were flying between two places over a valley, this was to our advantge as spotter 2 was at the half way point and at the highest point on the other side of the valley could see the take off point with binoculars.

Spotter 1 could see the aircraft with another back up system at 1/3rd distance, take off point in view at our side of the vally.


So take off was performed, Auto hit, telemetry comming down to the car with GCS in nice and strong.

as soon as WP1 hit....off she went....wobbled a little at WP2 as cross winds were quite strong....(at this point i was running for the car (i wasnt driving just incase anyone wants to jump on me!!) as it was on its mission and doing well).

In radio contact with spotter 1 all was good, and telemetry was confirming this. As we exited the field it was was already clossing towards WP3, so i told my driver (asked nicely, as it was my wife :~)) to get to spotter 1 position, but as the aircraft was moving quickly and was already passing spotter 1 to keep going to spotter 2, all telemetry was confirming the feed back from spotter 2 now as it was about to pass him.....we then decieded to go striaght to landing point...

for me telemetrt dropped out 2 times for about 3 secs when we passed throught the woodland head, spotter 2 was confirming that it was dead on target. when we got to the landing points...the telemetry was telling me that the aircraft was liotering over head.....AND IT WAS!!!!!!!

So...in conclusion.....we did a 3 mile flight with no visual interaction from the primary pilot, in full view of spotter 1 and 2 just incase anything went wrong...

I NEVER saw the aircraft from WP1 to Lioter at WP7, but telemetry confirmed the flight.

In conclusion, to do this kind of flight we (in the past have relied on high end Autopilots with huge $/£ value attached) and NOT had this kind of success the first time attempted.

I would like to also point out that this the result of about a years work, from our end, and much much more combined from the community.

Specs for those interested:

AP - Ardupilot 2.6 with shield removed for this flilght.

IMU - IMV V2 with 1.7 code.

Telemetry link - Xbee pros x 3, 1 AP side, 1 GCS/laptop side, 1 ground station with spotter 2

Mil spec serial link for flight controls and AP switching (40km range)...(stolen out of a high end UAS for insurance reasons)

Flycam1 nailed to side (but crapped out 2 mins in - Grrrrrrrrrr!)

Twin-star with 2 x 2300kv motors with 5ah 3s cells (complete over kill, only used 2ah for flight)

back up 1800 3s pack for APtelem.

AUW 2.8kg

Other parts added to system, 4 sets of bicycle clips for trousers as fitted to all pilots and spotters, this was 10 minutes of abject fear for all of us.

Another thank you to all who took the time out of thier saturday to prep, re-prep, test, spot, and drive for me.

Closing thoughts....

The flight was flawless, never missed a beat,flight was direct and precise. There was no reason for fear or worry.

We had done our prep (many, many times before flight), the developers, designers adn contributors had done a magnificent job!

And in a no small was i feel very smug, that after hundreds of hours of personal work on tuning, testing, tuning, changing, tuning, testing.......its nice to NOT be wrong for once! :~)

A Sincere thanks to everyone from all of us.

Thoughts anyone?




Views: 465

Comment by Gregg "Cabe" Bond on June 27, 2010 at 6:33am
I assume you are giving the serial link back :)

Looks like you all did an awesome job, based on the numbers what's your effective range/flight time for the plucky little drone?

I'll have to remember the bike clips when I finally get my bird up in the wild blue.
Comment by AVS on June 27, 2010 at 7:01am
That's pro stuff, well done, great effort.

What was/is the high end UAS?

Comment by Jani Hirvinen on June 27, 2010 at 7:25am
Congrats indeed, it is aways nice to read good success stories :)

And more will come.... I count on that.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 27, 2010 at 7:40am
That's AWESOME. I'm getting all weepy ;-) So proud of you and your team. And delighted that you were using ArduPilot and ArduIMU with the latest code. I know how hard you've worked to integrate the system (and how much you've helped us us develop it), so this is a great proof of capability for the platform, too!
Comment by AKRCGUY on June 27, 2010 at 8:07am
Congrats! Can someone explain the bicycle clips as trousers deal though?...
Comment by Pete on June 27, 2010 at 8:20am

Adrenalin is brown and the bicycle clips on the trousers stop you shoes getting mucky.

Comment by AKRCGUY on June 27, 2010 at 8:32am
Thanks Pete for that visual.
Comment by automatik on June 27, 2010 at 8:38am
Congratulations - truly awesome !
Comment by CrashingDutchman on June 27, 2010 at 8:38am
Congratulations to the team Mike!
Comment by Dr Mike Black on June 27, 2010 at 8:40am

Gregg, yes sir, it was only appropriated for the duration of this test :~)

Range..well given the recharge values, i think with 15% reserve power left we could have flown to somewhere between Cromer and Trimingham, given the course we were on, and the cells onboard (much further and it would have got very wet! 'North Sea')

As conjecture, with the speed it was flying at, it would have neem there in less than 17 mins!
(scarey thought if it had not had its mojo!)

Tim, cant really talk about that, but AP systems we have used are Procerus, Micropilot, Unave to name a few and of course the 'Other ones'....but...i owe you an apology, that which i promised to send last week, was sat on the packing bench all week and i only noticed on friday, when i pully my finger out...and actually posted it!..my apologies again for that.

Chris, this was only possible with the forsight of you guys.....and as much as it sounds like a mission has been completed....this is only the first stage of a very long road, which will get more and more interesting as we progress...

Pete, nice explanation....was wondering how to do that!...lol....

By the way guys, Pete is the newest member of our team, but an eminently valued member none the less (hes also new here!, so make him feel welcome!...lol)

So whats next then?....next mission?



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