EKF for airplanes?

Has anyone tried the Extended Kalman Filter (AHRS_EKF_USE) option? I see some discussion, theory write-up and video of multi-rotor testing but nothing on airplanes?

Have the developers tested this option and tuned the parameters?

Are the default tuning parameters good or will it require extensive tuning for different aircraft?

I have an airplane with Pixhawk and digital airspeed that weighs a little over 4 lb and cruises at 18.5 m/s.

Is it safe for me to give it a try?

What differences should I expect to se?


Been using EKF basically since inception and have flown around 70 hours and 2800km with no problems. EKF apparently will handle errors and non-working sensors much better. Other than that I don’t know the technicalities but as said can report no issues so far.

Thanks I’ll give it a try.
Have you made any changes to filter tuning parameters?


Apart from tuning the pitch and roll loops, no. Just used the defaults.

Thanks I’ll give it a try.
Have you made any changes to filter tuning parameters?

Be vigilant. I had a bad result and don’t use EKF anymore.

plane.ardupilot.com/wiki/common- … -overview/

Please elaborate. What specific problem did you run into that you associate with EKF?


I got in four half-hour flights and did not notice a difference. May have had slightly more throttle activity but the air was a little unstable.

I would also like to know about any potential problems that I should look out for.

I have a good 3-axis accelerometer cal, a few AUTOCAL flights, and an airspeed cal flight. I consider my airplane very well tuned and it always flies perfect missions.


I’ve got a few hours in with EKF enabled and have had only positive results. Airspeed, groundspeed, altitude etc. are all rock-solid and smooth. That results in smoother flight paths, throttle usage and better altitude control.

Those values when displayed on the OSD are obviously smoother than the same plane with EKF turned off.

My plane has rubber motors mounts and a very well balanced motor and prop combo. I did that to optimize video recording quality. If you have problems with EKF, perhaps it could be vibration related.