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 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!!!!!!! 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?




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  • Admin
    good Luck and have a safe return journey too. We need to see the video ASAP :)))
  • luck!!!
  • Thanks Dustin, kind words indeed.

    Were off to film a pre-bronze age henge at the weekend, if all goes well i will post the vid.

    were looking at a 10 WP flight over an hour with 45 mins on target. Hopefully with geopositioned cam directioning.

    so will be filming mid day and low light see if we can catch the archeological markings....wish us luck!

  • very nice, i was working on a rover a couple months ago but i haven't worked on it in a while. there is just no local interest around where i live and it kind of bums me out lol. i am trying to get the guys i fly with interested cause i think it would be a very cool project for the group. But very nice work Doc, you make all the amateur UAV enthusiast proud
  • No worries Jason, it was great to post a result not a problem :~)

    Anyway, there is a huge amount of your work inside this code as well! so its a testament to you as well directly or indirectly!

  • Developer
    Hey, this made my morning. Thanks for sharing!
  • Thanks Morli, NS..

    NS, i only have a small amount as the cam crapped out...but will try to upload..


    I must apologise....When i mentioned the cam board etc...i forgot to mention that Morli is working with us on the gimbal side (my bad!!!)

    so apologies for that.....

  • Congrats Doc !
    Please pust some video.
  • Admin
    Congrats Mike and team. I just noticed this blog. Keep it high and flying.
  • Oh while i think of it...

    Somthing that might interest the developers...was the terrain following...SP2 (Gary) watched the UAV follow at constant height until it made the Valley leg, even though i set the heights up more so to clear teh massive poplars at the top of the valley, he interestingly commented that once it turned and crossed the valley he watched the top of the wings on the way down and bottom of the wings on the way up.....

    so the alt hold is pretty amazing...we did predict this, but didnt expect to see it,.....

    To be fair the look on Gary`s face when he met us at the landing point was something to believe, grinning from ear to ear.......was a great moment for all of us!

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