Monday, December 28, 2009

Endurance Flights

Time for some more flying lessons!

This time on a new location and with a new goal, to see how long can the plane be up and about.

One of many flights tested altitude endurance:

Flight path and accompanying raw altitude and speed data from the internal GPS receiver:

Two interesting things to note. First one is the altitude drop in mid flight below starting point, although the fly by was low before going for the elevated altitude, was still higher then the starting point, which clearly demonstrates the error with which the altitude in calculated. Still needing to be resolved.

And the second is the zero meters per second speed. While spikes over a hundred meters per second are an anomaly due to GPS accuracy changes, the zero speed readings are actually correct due to winds and the gliding nature of the plane, which was more then on one occasion caught in a wind which suspended it in place (once even moved slightly in reverse).

That's where this data comes in:

Also one of the challenges will be to try to detect those kinds of wind gushes trough the accelerometer and program the auto pilot to act accordingly.

And one of them tested just plain how long can the plane fly with half a battery:

Mandatory flight path and it's meta data for reference:

And accompanying accelerometer and orientometer data:

The thing learned is that open space provides a lot of maneuvering room for errors and until the issues with altitude, speed smoothing, force detection and the "wrap around" of orientation data is resolved, that will come in handy!

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