Hi Greg - apologies for my lack of clarity The FF6 pro does indeed force the use of a PS4 controller, which can either be connected by USB or bluetooth to a laptop. I find this to be a terrible interface for manual flight, but clearly it's designed for ease of uptake by people not familiar with more traditional RC systems. The latency is huge and the controls are not intuitive if you're used to a normal RC setup.
There is no alternative ground station software under AvA, you're stuck with the FF planner which is not actually terrible but has no tablet version. My preferred set up (which I run on the Ranger) is a small andriod tablet running Q Ground Control which I have mounted on the taranis, which gives me a 'dashboard' to monitor the aircraft. I can concentrate on what the aircraft is doing and not have to constantly refer back to a laptop screen. A lot of my flying is in very remote and dusty areas, especially over the summer and a laptop is just not a great solution for me. Add to this the use of the telemetry radio via USB into the laptop and it really is a clumsy set up.
I use the FF6 and Ranger to deploy radio re-trans units for a bespoke GPS tracking system. I've done a little survey/mapping work but not with the FF6 so far (due to the problems I've been having with it). Most of the time I'm driving between locations (maybe 20km apart), setting up and flying a mission for maybe 20-30min then packing up and moving again. Most missions are flown off dirt tracks in the outback, or sometimes a farmer's land if we've got an arrangement with them.
So a basic mission for the FF6 would be takeoff, go to a set waypoint and loiter at max height (121m here in Aus). I can do that without needing to spend any time setting up autonomous missions in the FF planner, just by using FWBA mode then hitting loiter/circle when I get where I want to be. RTL to get back overhead then manual land. That's my workflow with the multi-rotors and Ranger and it does the job quickly and easily.
To be fair to the FF6 I am running their software via a VM on my macbook, so I've had a lot of problems with the drivers for the controller and radio, but I don't have these same problems with Mission Planner and my Crossfire/Taranis set up.
To be honest I would have preferred to buy a DIY25 kit but they stopped making them available when I went to buy one, and the Pro came up via a local reseller very cheaply as it was bought in for someone who then didn't go through with the sale. I don't have any interest in most of the pro features, I'd be happier with a more simple set up that I can deploy without spending 20min setting up a full groundstation.
Hope that helps establish what I'm trying to achieve