Water (Floats) Takeoff / Land with Leveling - FBWA?

Hey All,

This is my second Arduplane build, so I’m not so new. I’ve installed Arduplane on my Timber 1.5 with floats after flying the plane LOS without a FC for a year or so. Obviously with the additional weight of the FC, VTX, larger battery, GPS, buzzer, etc…the plane is a bit more unwieldly to take-off and land. It does sit in the water high enough to be stable, its just got enough grab and needs a longer takeoff run that it gets slightly hairy. I managed successfully on manual, but I’m nervous of flipping it, especially with the expensive gear (DJI cam on the outside).

In theory, taking off from water on FBWA should be pretty great for self leveling, regardless of the water chop. Unfortunately I know that FBWA doesn’t provide rudder authority - although I suppose I could mix that in. I’m also a bit nervous about the amount of authority at the range where a float could dig in, but not fast enough for the surfaces to counter. Any scientific way to confirm the control scaling is enough for this plane in the air before I attempt FBWA takeoff on the water?

I’m really just looking for any advice or “gotcha’s” before I attempt this. I would feel so much better about all this equipment on a float plane if I could just point it in the right direction, switch to FBWA and hit the throttle. In my head this is what Arduplane was built for, so I’m game to try and make it work.

Surprisingly, Google and this forum don’t turn up much for Ardupilot + floats (or water). Either I’m on the cutting edge or its a search term that doesn’t show what I think it should show.

Next master level = auto take-off and landing on the water. Anyone done this?


PS. The world is 3/4 water and I have a lake out of my back yard. So… high motivation.
PPS. Yes, I have a rescue kayak :slight_smile:

Please let me know how you make out. I formed a float plane RC club in Canada a couple of years ago and hadn’t considered using a Pixhawk in a float plane. I’ve mostly used in multirotor applications but we are flying on water that has miles of open space. I have several float aircraft including the Timber Evolution so curious on your results.


Nice. Will do. If nobody else has done this then it’s more incentive to figure it out.

I’m also curious to see how this goes. A float plane would open up some interesting long range options for me.