Ardupilot successfully guides plane from 30.780m

November 20, 2013 11:24 | By | Add a Comment

Making an autopilot for an RC plane is hard, which is why ArduPilot has taken a long time to become what it is now. Larry Grater now demonstrated the successful use of ArduPilot to automatically guide an RC plane dropped from 30.780 meters, or 101.000 feet. Larry didn’t just upload a flight plan via APM, there were quite a few obtacles to tackle for ArduPilot to be able to pilot the plane at such altitudes.

According to Larry, “two major and several minor issues with software have been run to ground. Roll autopilot capture was delayed due to a coordinate system issue with pitch and roll rate feedbacks. Navigation bearing hunts around the waypoint bearing due to lack of pressure-altitude correction in wind estimate and bearing correction code.”

Um.. alright. One thing to note: Most GPS modules don’t work above 18km altitude, due to the military being afraid that you might build your own ICBM or something. We don’t know if Larry circumvented this issue by having the plane take a steep dive down to 16km altitude or if he had a GPS module that is not altitude-restricted, but in any case, the plane successfully reached each of the programmed waypoints before loitering down to the ground.

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