I have helped in the development of an aerobatic ‘Flight Coach’ system (www.flightcoach.org). If we ask aerobatic pilots what their secrets to success have been a reply common to all would be many thousands of flights, with critique and advice from coaches and mentors. But how do you access your flying with no mentor? Or what if you and your mentor disagree about some aspects of your flying? The system we have developed provides an objective tool for pilots to assess the quality of their flights either during training sessions at the flying field, or in comfort at home.
Flight Coach started as an idea by Thomas David, a top UK IMAC and F3A pilot. Could the fusion of a GPS, cheap multirotor flight control board, and some fancy computer analysis result in flight analysis which would be a useful coaching aid? The answer was a resounding yes! Of course, such a project was going to be quite complicated. Artur Uzieblo, an Australian F3A pilot came aboard with a vast knowledge of programming skills. Together with Russell Edwards (Australian F3A pilot) we have developed a really useful training aid.
At the heart of the system is ArduPilot’s advanced sensor fusion algorithm that can extend the GPS based positioning with inertial navigation to deliver a smooth and accurate flight path and attitude log with 15-25 points per second. This compares to 1-2 per second (with no attitude information) of a typical GPS only system. This data is recorded in the model on micro-SD card. Then the web browser-based Flight Coach software provides post-flight analysis. The Flight Coach system does not remove the difficulty precision aerobatics, but it does function as a valuable training aid to allow post flight analysis with some objective data on model flight path.
The system has proven to be immensely useful and popular amongst fellow pilots.
If you have .bin files captured from ArduPlane (I have not tested other bin files) head to the website and load them up on the plotter page to see what you think.
Thank you to the Ardupilot team - it is these logs and the fusion equations which made this possible for us.