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PHANTOM UAV - Introduction



This is the story of the installation, set up and testing of an autopilot in a radio controlled plane.


The plane is a Phantom FX-61 flying wing with a wingspan of 1.55m. The transmitter is a Spektrum DX7. The autopilot computer board is a HKPilot Mega V2.5 flight controller. The PC support software is Mission Planner.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone at http://diydrones.com/ and the ardupilot manual at http://plane.ardupilot.com/.


All civil aviation in Australia is administered by CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) and the MAAA is recognosed by CASA as a model aircraft authority. Refer to the MAAA website for information about regulations controlling used of all types of model aircraft including UAVs. The ‘Manuals of Procedure’ section under the heading ‘Documents’ are important to be familiar with, especially ‘MOP067 – Self Guided Model Aircraft’.

The website of the MAAA is here www.maaa.asn.au/.





Spektrum DX7



Phantom FX-61 Flying Wing.



Orange Rx

Orange DSM2

7 channel receiver.

Orange Satellite

Orange DSM2 satellite receiver.

Mission Planner

Mission Planner software on the PC



HKPilot Mega V2.5 Flight Controller

with ArduPlane software and additional hardware.

What Can This Autopilot Do?

Equipped with this autopilot, this plane will have the following features.


  • Stabilised flight under manual control. The plane corrects itself when buffeted by turbulence.
  • Fly in a training mode which prevents learner pilots from rolling or pitching too steeply. Also, the plane’s height can be limited to prevent crashing into the ground or flying too high. If the plane does fly too high or low, it will fly itself back inside the altitude limits.
  • If the plane flies out of range of the transmitter, it will fly itself back and fly in a circle above the take off point until the pilot resumes control.
  • If the plane flies outside of a programmable perimeter, it will fly itself back and circle above a preset rally point until the pilot resumes control.
  • Transmit telemetry during the flight to a personal computer for display flight data including position, altitude, speed and battery charge.
  • Fly programmed flight paths completely automatically by itself including take off and landing while its position and other flight data are monitored at a base station. Flight paths are created on a personal computer and transferred to the plane before flight.
  • Fly to positions as required when they are selected on a map on a personal computer screen. It executes ‘Fly here now’ commands.
  • Control a camera gimbal to hold a video camera constantly level independently of the attitude of the plane.
  • Record flight data (like a ‘black box’ flight recorder) that can be displayed graphically for analysis of aircraft performance after the flight.
  • The autopilot can be turned on and off as required from the transmitter. The various modes are also selected from the transmitter. When the autopilot is off, the plane is under normal manual control.


The project begins with setting up manual control of the plane here.


Alternatively, look for any section in the contents below.



This is a complete list of the sections of this document.



    What Can This Autopilot Do?

Manual Flying

    Plane Modification – Elevons

    Plane Modification – Propeller

    Plane Modification – Fuselage Sculpture

    Plane Modification – Battery




    Plane Modification - Undercarriage

Autopilot Set Up

    Flight Controller Board Installation

        Wiring Diagram

    Transmitter Mode Control Set Up

    Mission Planner Software Set Up

        Download and Install Mission Planner Software on PC

        Connect Mission Planner to the APM Board

        Install Arduplane Software in the APM Board

        Flight Modes

        Compass Set Up

        Transmitter Calibration

        Levelling Calibration

        PID Parameter Set Up

        Optional Hardware – Power Module

        Optional Hardware – 3DR Telemtry Module

        Optional Hardware – Airspeed Sensor

        Optional Hardware – Stabilised Camera Gimbal

        Optional Hardware - Steering Control

    Failsafe Set Up

        Transmitter Signal Loss – Throttle Failsafe

        Loss of Telemetry (GCS)

        Loss of GPS

    Take Off Set Up

        Throwing To Launch

        Take Off On Undercarriage

        Climb Rate

    Throttle Control Parameters

    Attitude Control Parameters

    TECS Parameters

    Ready To Fly

DX7 Transmitter Configuration

    Channel Allocation

    Controls Summary

    DX7 System Set Up

    Dx7 Parameter Set Up

Autopilot Flight Preparation

    Set Planner Parameters

    Flight Plan Page Features

        Prefetch Maps

        Display the Waypoint List

        Home Point

        Flight Plan Page Information

        Topological Data

    Create a Flight Plan

        Waypoint Command

        Other Command types

        Editing a Plan

        Elevation Graph

        Flight Plan – Transfer to & from APM

        Flight Plan – Save & Load

    Geofence  - Set Up

        Set Return Location

        Set Boundary Points

        Save & Load

        Enable & Disable

        Action On Geofence Breach

Autopilot Flight Checklist

    Equipment List

    Flight Preparation

    Power Up

    Take Off





Autopilot Flight Review

    Dataflash Log – Download

        ‘Flight Data’ Page Log Download

        ‘Terminal’ Page Log Download

    Dataflash Log - Review

    Dataflash Log – Display in Google Maps

    Telemetry Logs

    Telemetry Log – Replay

    Telemetry Log – Browser

    Telemetry Log – File Structure

    Telemetry Log – Graphical Display

Flight Records

    Flight 001 Mode Tests : Manual, Stabilise & Training Modes

    Flight 002 Complete Autopilot Controlled Flight
    Flight 003 Mode Tests : Return To Launch Mode

    Flight 004 Geofence Test

    Flight 005 Communication Range Tests

Phantom UAV Latest News

9 June 2019

Flight Check List updated

18 May 2019

Steering Control set up modified

28 Apr 2017

Flight 005 – Communication Range Tests

6 Dec 2014

Flight 004 – Geofence Test added

3 October 2014

‘Autopilot Set Up’ page edited –‘ Take Off Set Up’ section.

8 August 2014

DX7 Transmitter Configuration page added.

14 July 2014

‘What Can This Autopilot Do?’ section added.

23 June 2014

Flight 003 added to ‘Flight Records’ page

20 June 2014

‘Autopilot Set Up’ page edited with more detail.

‘Autopilot Flight Preparation’ page edited with more detail

15 June 2014

‘Flight Review’ page edited with more detail.

‘Flight Records’ page – Flights 001 & 002 added

13 June 2014

YouTube video of camera gimbal added to section “Optional Hardware – Stabilised Camera Gimbal”

8 June 2014

Grainy graphics fixed.

1 June 2014

The following sections are published

‘Autopilot Flight Preparation’, Autopilot Flight Checklist’ , Autopilot Flight Review

20 May 2014

The following sections are published

‘Introduction’, ‘Manual Flying’, ‘Autopilot Set Up’



Phantom Divide


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