UK High Altitude Society

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Without some sort of guidance a high altitude Glider could simply drift off in any direction, so it is necessary to have at least one axis of control (yaw). One approach would be to adjust the rudder and use the feedback from the GPS heading to guide the glider. However, it would be desirable to be able to increase or decrease the airspeed to compensate for wind, especially when travelling through the jetstream. One possible approach would be to use a digital compass like :
From a magnetic field vector we can only get two euler angles, so we would have to call roll=0, which would be fairly accurate in a stable, slow turning glider if we only wanted pitch and yaw to within a few degrees for flight stabalization (GPS would be used for the actual guidance). The following spreadsheet demonstrates the concept (although it hasn't yet been fully checked) Offset angle and incidence angle are set for UK conditions, and x_one, y_one are relative readings from the two axes of the compass module. The modulus of (x_one,y_one) has to be less than one, and some vectors give #Nan as they have imaginary solutions with roll=0, so any microcontroller on gumstick implimentation of this would have to have a sanity check
yaw-pitch.xls (excel spreadsheet)

Model Aircraft Controls


Roll - The Ailerons work in opposite directions to each other. When one is raised, the other is lowered.

Pitch - The Elevators work in unison – if the elevators are up, it will cause the nose of the aircraft to point up. If the elevators are down it will point the aircraft nose down.

Yaw – If the Rudder is moved to the right – the aircraft will rotate to the right. If moved to the left, the aircraft will rotate to the left.


ideas/high_altitude_glider_autopilot.txt · Last modified: 2008/07/19 23:33 by

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