Autopilot Landing and Takeoff


I am new here, please be kind.

I have been looking at building an octocopter based around a FC that will run with the Ardupilot system.
There is a couple of questions that I havn’t been able to find an answer for in the documentation for Ardupilot.

For my project I need my drone to be able to fly a fully pre-programmed mission, for this the Ardupilot system seems perfect.
But, the area/distance needed to be covered is too big for the drone to handle with the battery power onboard, therefore I need to program an automated landing, then the batteries will be replaced, and the drone should then continue with the mission by executing a takeoff and then go to the next waypoint.
Is this possible?

I see another solution to this, however, I am not fully aware of how to do this;
The alternative is to power the FC from its own battery (if possible), and power the ESC’s, motors etc from a seperat set of batteries. Is this possible?

I have a ton of questions as this is my first big built, however have been operating drones for a decade, mainly S1000 and phantoms.

I hope there will be some friendly souls out there who willing to help me out.

Thank you in advance.


Extra info:
The battery exchange position is not the home position.
Mission will look something like this:

TAKE OFF (from home)
Waypoint 1
Waypoint …
LAND (remote location)
(replace batteries)
TAKE OFF (remote location)
Waypoint 30
Waypoint …
LAND (at home position)


You can Land, Delay and Take-off again but you can’t power down the Flight Controller. I have done this many times. So keep the FC alive while changing the flight battery. Also set the DISARM_DELAY for longer than it it will take to make the battery change. Or disable it.


Thanks a lot for your feedback.
I am very happy to hear that what I am trying to achieve is possible!

Great advise on the DISARM_DELAY, the documentation shows a value possible 0-127 seconds, what does this delay do? Obviously I need to disarm the props whilst change the batteries due to safety.
What if the batteries have a different weight than those it used to get to the remote location, will this corrupt calibration or the execution of the flight?
The drone will be have a payload of various liquids for agriculture, at the remote location the tank will be filled as well, which will also change the weight of the drone on second take off compared to the lading weight on the remote location.

In regards to maintaining the power for the FC.
I am planning to use the PixHawk 2.1 Cube as it seems to be the best and most reliable FC out there for Ardupilot (would you suggest otherwise?).
Is there a way to power the FC separately with its own battery?


Another thought I have, is to make a button on the drone, when pressed restores the mission, like having the FC waiting for this button to be pressed…


DISARM_DELAY is the delay time from land detection to when it disarms. You can’t disarm it, the Mission will be stopped. Maybe you could use the Motor Interlock function as a safety measure.

You can tune the craft for the lighter weight and fly at an increased weight.

The Cube can be backup powered several ways. From a 2nd battery on the Power2 input, from the servo rail or thru the USB port. Use Power 2 with a 2nd Power Module and you cna monitor that battery also.

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, I’ve been experiment with SITL and can’t get Takeoff to work in a mission, I have a simple mission like this
Waypoint 1
Delay 10s

I turn off DISARM_DELAY 0 and also tried AUTO_OPTIONS set to 3

What happens is I set ARM - TAKEOFF then AUTO when it lands it disarms and waits for ever? I must be doing something wrong but can’t work it out.

Forgot to add this is a quad

After some more ‘Googling’ I found this Advanced ArduPilot Mission Planning - continue after land - YouTube
Very helpful !