There are UAV/Drone enthusiasts that will pursue fully automated flying (waypoints, etc.) and there are FPV purists that won’t even consider a “Return to Home” feature. I want to describe an area in between the two: I call it ‘assisted FPV’.
Assisted FPV is for pilots like myself that can use… well… a little assistance. I’ve ended trips to the field prematurely when the manual launch of my 60″ Ritewing Zephyr ended with a belly landing and a broken prop. Hand launching a heavily wing loaded Zephyr successfully requires equal parts strength, pilot skills, speed (to get to the sticks), and a bit of luck. If you are short on any of these skills or are out of luck that day, chances are you have seen your Zephyr take a nose dive the split second it has left your hand. Launching an FPV Zephyr, to me, is one of the most stressful and unpleasant parts of flying the Zephyr for FPV. It’s fun once in the air, but no fun whatsoever if you see it slam into the ground.
Keep in mind that I am talking about a heavy Zephyr: 2 3300mAh 4s batteries on the LE, a GoPro and Flight cam, plus all your usual gear, 3m 90, laminate, etc. All up weight of about 2.3KG.
For the past weeks, I’ve been working with Jim at uThere to see if we can make his new auto pilot product, Ruby, work for a Zephyr. I think my 60″ Zephyr is one of the larger platforms so far making use of Ruby and dialing in the various Ruby configurations has neither been easy nor quick. However, we’ve finally dialed it in to the point of being reliable and extremely successful. I am happy to show you the first ‘assisted fpv’ episode of what I hope will become a series over time. It shows Ruby in action and specifically focuses on how Ruby manages completely automatic launches and climb outs that takes the stress out of launching this popular FPV platform. To read more about how to implement a Ruby in a Zephyr, read our Ruby/Zephyr build manual.
In the video, I make use of Ruby’s ‘aided’ mode. In aided mode, Ruby will manage altitude for you and you use your sticks in a simplified way to steer your plane. If you push your throttle all the way to 100%, Ruby will maintain the altitude you’re at (but at least 75 feet). If you move throttle to 95%, you tell Ruby to keep climbing. If you lower throttle to say 10%, you instruct RUBY to lower altitude. This is a great feature and will be the topic of an upcoming Assisted FPV segment — fixed altitude FPV flying (another tricky aspect of FPV is to hold a constant altitude). Anyway, for this episode, I launch the wing in aided mode and 95% throttle — to instruct Ruby to climb as fast as possible. I show 5 Ruby launches in a row, but could have done another 100 the same way.
A big thanks to Jim Hall of uThere who has provided me with a free Ruby set up and plenty of support to get me to this point.
EXCLUSIVE RUBY OFFER TO FPVMANUALS USERS (the only place to get a discount)
For a limited time, you can order the Ruby from uThere with a $50 USD discount if you use the ‘discount code’ FPVMANUALS.COM. Keep in mind that Ruby is currently back-ordered. Your order will be a pre-order for the next batch which will be available late July / early August. Click here to order.