Simplest Controller for a Glider


as an absolute beginner with drones, I’d like to ardupilotify a simple glider with only two control axes, no motor.
I guess I need

  • position (GPS)
  • IMU
  • barometer
  • air speed
  • logging
  • optional telemetry

and as I want to keep it small, light and simple, no redundancy needed.

I looked at the hardware list at Choosing an Autopilot — Plane documentation but got lost with the plethora of models and functions.

I guess a simple controller would inlcude the IMU, barometer and looging (SD card), while position, air speed and telemetry are connected externally, like the servos.

So can anyone reccomend something that fits the bill?

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You need a flight controller, (that will have baro, IMU, and logging), a GPS, and a receiver. Telemetry, and airspeed are optional.

Many of the matek controllers are good, especially for what you want. F405 will do fine for the project. H7 will be great if you want to move it into something bigger or more advanced down the road. Nearly all the Matek boards have logging.

A pure glider will be hard to tune for a first build since the firmware expects a motor. By no means impossible, people do it all the time. Just a first build might be more straight forward with a motor. My to-do list is already too long, but the Atomic RC Swordfish is on my radar as a good “almost” glider fun build.


I can confirm that the foam asw28 from volantex flies beautifully on arduplane with no tuning at all. It is effectively a powered glider and with an fpv setup can thermal to thousands of feet easily, its great fun to be honest.

A true glider will need a bungee or a tow plane or a slope, but the easiest way is a motor.

Don’t be afraid of a four (or more) chanel model as a beginner, in practice it will be easier to fly than a two chanel glider,

You dont necessarily need a flight controller at all, you can just fly an rc glider or plane and get a lot of enjoyment from that, arduplane is more about autonomy and missions, though it can be used purely for stabilisation and failsafe return to launch modes etc


Thank you @Allister and @Scott_Nunan for your recommendations.

My use case does not need RC.

I saw the
Conrad Reely Jack
with an RC Upgrade Kit
and thought
That would be fun to throw off a mountain and pickup at a predifined location…” ^[Legal caveats may apply].

A variometer would be good. Then it could be a Thermal Sniffer, provided the controller get’s some logic for it.

Check out ArduSoar
People have already worked out how to use the flight controller to do a lot of the thermaling already.

You’re going to want to have an RC to get the plane setup and configured. Maybe you might get lucky and it will work the first time, but let’s say odds aren’t in your favour. Don’t misunderstand, for most planes arduplane works pretty will out of the box, but minor corrections and adjustments on the first flight that are a no-brainer with an RC could be a dirt nap without.


Today my Benny Boxcar (old timer) caught a thermal and almost flew away. Without any power it just kept on climbing. Lost telemetry completely, but still had the RC link so I dived down and brought it back.
Now I am tempted to install some Artificial Ignorance hardware…lol

For those who may not know Benny Boxcar, here is a link