Category Archives: Flying Things

My experimental VTOL plane

Here is a video of a Vertical TakeOff and Landing airplane I built using the ArduPilot software. This is a fast prototype build using cheap materials to test the concept and learn as much as possible about ArduPilot quadplanes and this kind of aircraft in general. I intend to build a better and more capable VTOL plane in the future with what I learn from this.

This plane was built in around 3 veeks from start to finnish. Using mostly depron foam and som wooden parts. The tail-booms and wign spars are made out of wood. I used a Mateksys H743-WING V3 flight controller running ArduPlane. To this a have connectad a Mateksys AP_Periph CAN node with a M10Q GPS with compass and an ASPD-4525 digital airspeed sensor. Using a CAN-node for this was not necessary here, but I wanted to try it to learn about it. The lift motors are of “cine-lifter size”, spinning 8-inch 3-blade propellers, and driven by a 4in1 BLheli32 ESC. The propulsion motor is a slightly to powerful Emax I had laying around. I also used old servos I hade laying around, and a split elevator control surface for redundancy.

I noticed on the first test hover that I had very bad yaw control. It was almost impossible to point the nose of the plane in the direction I wanted. After this, I tried to angle the motors and this worked great. It is still not as agile as a normal quadcopter, but controllable enough. Quadplanes often have sluggish yaw control because of there large moment of inertia compared to normal quadcopters.

Maiden flight of my new ArduPlane

I built a new ArduPlane aircraft. It is a balsa airframe I designed and built for more experimentation with autonomous flight. I have taken everything a learned while building and flying my previous autonomous plane, the “ArduPlane 2020”, and tried to improve it. See more about the previous plane here on this page.

This new plane is slightly larger and more efficient than the previous one. This one glides better and is also more controllable. The control surfaces are larger and can move more. It also has dual elevators with individual servos for redundancy. This plane can also carry small payloads or bigger batteries for longer flight time.

First testflights of my DIY solar plane

This is a new project I have been working on for the last couple of mounts. A solar power autonomous plane. My goal with this project is to make a plane that is capable of sustaining powered flight using solar power.

My main sources of inspiration are the solar planes that Daniel Riley from RCTESTFLIGHT made: and also this project by Magnus Lindström:

My plane is scratch-built for the purpose of being a solar plane. Completely my own design. It has a large wing area for mounting solar cells and is relatively lightweight. The wing is built with depron and a wooden wing spar. It has a flat bottom wing profile that is similar to the classic Clark Y. The fuselage is built using balsa wood, and a fiberglass fishing pole as the tail boom. The wingspan is 2.5 meters. Total flying weight without solar sells is exactly 2 Kg, with gives a wing loading of about 24 grams per square decimeter.

The plane is using a 750 KV drone motor spinning a 13 inch propeller. This is powered by a 4-cell Li-Ion battery made of Samsung 50E 21700 cells. I am using a Mateksys 765 wing flight controller running the ArduPlane software. The plane is capable of flying GPS waypoint missions fully autonomously. There is also an airspeed sensor with a pitot tube mounted in the wing for improved speed control, and therefore improved efficiency.

I have not yet installed the solar cells on the wing. I wanted to do some flight testing first, since the solar cells are fragile and expensive. The plane is very efficient. In calm wind conditions the plane consumed 1730 mAh while cruising at 10 m/s at a constant altitude for 45 minutes. This results in an average consumption of about 2.3 Amps or about 35 Watts. Power consumption is slightly higher in windy conditions. The added weight of the solar cells on the wing will also increase power consumption slightly.

I will be using 36 Sunpower Flexible 5×5 E60 cells on the wings. The theoretical maximum power output is about 130 W, but the actual power output will be less than that. I will also be using a Genasun GV-5 charge controller that has a maximum power output of 75 W.

Cruising autonomously into the sunset at 10m/s and 50 meter altitude
A laptop running Missionplanner is used as the groundstation
DIY dipole antenna for the 433 MHz telemetry link to the ground station. Good antennas are necessary to achieve a reasonable range with only 25 mW power, which is the maximum allowed here in Sweden.

Happy New Year!

Here is a compilation of some of my videos/projects from the past year. Plans for 2022 are to continue to make projects I find interesting. Everything from electronics to RC stuff. I will probably start the year by working on and finishing the new balancing robot.

I want to experiment more with ArduPilot also, making a multicopter platform for some experiments, and also ground rovers or maybe a boat.

Maybe I will also experiment with some new content on my YouTube channel. New video formats/video ideas etc.

Maybe I will also post some game-development-related stuff in the coming year. It was a few years since last I posted such things. But a have actually made some stuff that I have not shared. Including a DIY Unity-based RC plane simulator.

Bush Beast 4 – My new RC Bush Plane

An iteration of my previous design, the Bush Beast 3. This plane has larger control surfaces and larger flaps than previous models. I also made a new landing gear design based on Mike Patey’s Scrappy plane. Of course, I still have all the features of my previous version, including reverse thrust, a DIY light system, and also a DIY gyro stabilization system to make it fly stable in high wind conditions.

More info here: The Bush Beast 4 page

Bush Beast 4

DIY FrSky telemetry multi-sensor

I made my own “multi-sensor” for the FrSky radio system. An Arduino Nano reads a few different sensors and sends all the data to the Smart-Port connector on the RC receiver. This way I can get information such as battery voltage, speed, altitude, GPS position, and temperatures on my RC Radio when I fly my RC planes. This is perfect for planes that don’t have a flight controller onboard.

My design and hardware is based on the FrSky library from Pawelsky:

I actually started experimenting with making my own telemetry sensors a few years ago. Therefore my code is actually quite old. Back then, this was the only library available. I still think it works well, but today there are also other alternatives available.

At first, I just soldered a GPS and a servo connector to an Arduino NANO. But later I made a few PCBs to make them easier to assemble. My first versions had voltage monitoring of the individual cells in the flight battery, but I found that it was annoying having to plug in the balance connector of the battery in the plane.

This is my third iteration of the board. It has a single input for LiPo battery voltage monitoring with a voltage divider and filter capacitor, a BMP280 barometer for altitude and variometer measurements, a connection for a Beitian BN-220 GPS or any other NEMA capable GPS for speed and position data, and two Dallas DS18B20 temperature sensors, one onboard and one attached with cables.

Update 2022-01-07: I fixed an error in the PCB design and made a few small adjustments in the code. The links are now the updated versions.

Link to my schematic and PCB:

Download link for my code, schematic and PCB gerber-files:
Axels FrSky tememetry sensor

More autonomous landings with my ArduPlane project

I have been doing some more flying the last months, finetuning and trying to improve the autonomous flying capabilities of my ArduPlane-plane.

Here I have made a page about this plane with more info in images: 2020 ArduPlane project

In this video I have installed an airspeed sensor (pitot tube) and a downwards facing LiDAR rangefinder. Thiss allowed the plane to land more predictably.

In this video, I think I have gotten the landings to work pretty well. Here I am flying a butifull evening with no wind. I will continue to experiment to test in other conditions with more wind in the funire.