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Manual flight

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The gluonpilot in a Funjet ready to fly!



Preparing the gluonpilot module for the first flights requires you to:

  • Select the power source (5V) for the module.
  • Install it in your airframe
  • Configuring the mixing & servo output.

And allows you to:

  • Fly! :-)
  • Look at the logged data afterwards.


First thing to do is to verify which side is the front-side of the module. This is important for the attitude orientation. If you download the code or firmware from the website, then the servo-connectors should be facing forward, in the direction of flight. If this is inconvenient for your airframe, you can change that in sensors.c with INVERT_X (to 1.0 or -1.0). Pitching up yields a positive pitch angle. Rolling right yields a positive roll angle. Check this in the graph window of the Gluonpilot configuration tool!

Now that you are sure about the orientation of the module, it's time to install the module and the GPS in the airframe! Some hints:

  • The holes in the PCB are size M3
  • I prefer a mechanism where I can slide about 5mm of the module into a material (EPP, multiplex, ...) which has a cut of the thickness of the PCB.
  • I prefer attaching the GPS with strong velcro on top of the wing or canopy.
  • ALWAYS make sure the orientation of the module can not change in flight.
  • ALWAYS make sure cables can not come loose during flight.
  • Again, make sure the attitude of the module is correct.

Powering the module

Solder-jumper SJ2 and SJ3 in open state

The gluonpilot module needs 5V (+-2.5%). You have 2 options:

  • Power it using the same 5V that goes to your servos (from the ESC or a separate battery): Close solder jumper SJ2 and SJ3
  • Use a separate power source for your servos and another 5V power source for the module: Leave SJ2 and SJ3 open.

The last option is obviously the best, but requires more space and effort. I'm lazy and my plane is small, so I power it from my ESC (and the power come through the motor-servo connector). ALWAYS check if the module works OK with this setup. Some ESC's are extremely noise and won't allow this option.

Servo output configuration

(Make use your transmitter's channel that is used to switch between AP and manual mode is set to manual mode!)

Connect your servos depending on the channel mixing your model requires:

Mixing Servo 1 Servo 2 Servo 3 Servo 4 Servo 5 Servo 6
Aileron Aileron1 Aileron2 Elevator Motor
Delta+ Elevon1 Elevon2 Motor
Delta- Elevon1 Elevon2 Motor

The black cable (GND) of your servo cable should be on the outermost pin.

Reversing servos in the config tool

The mixing is configured in the "Control" tab of the Gluonpilot configuration tool. Don't forget to "Write" and "Burn" and RESTART the module when changing this!

Now you can reverse servos where needed. DON'T do this with your transmitter, as it needs to comply with what I wrote earlier in Bench_testing#Verification_.26_RC-transmitter_programming. The servo reversing must be done with the Gluon configuration tool in the Config Servos tab page. Always "Write". Don't forget to "Burn" when you are satisfied with the configuration.

Keep in mind that for flying wings, the Delta+ and Delta- mixing typess exist. Only the pitch (up or down) is different for these 2 mixing types. Left and right are the same.

Now (and during the manual-only flights) is the time to trim your servos with your RC-transmitter. DONT program expo or limit the min/max throws of the servos in your transmitter!

When this step is finished, you should be able to control your plane's servos as if it were directly connected to the RC-receiver.


When you feel that the servos respond correctly to your RC-transmitter inputs, it's time to fly!

NOTE: Always do a range check on your first flight!

Manual flying can be done without the GPS connected, but in this case you won't have any datalogging. This datalogging can be interesting to get to know your plane better (cruising speed, "safe" altitude, ...).

Make sure that during flight, you trim the plane with your RC-transmitter (if needed).


Reading the datalogging with the gluon config tool

Datalogging is enabled by default. What is logged and how fast things are logged can only be configured in the source code (datalogger.c).

Datalogging starts the moment the GPS acquires a lock. Then it will write the logging (pitch, roll, position, speed, height, ...) 5 times per second. The last 10 flights will be kept in memory, unless it has been overwritten by the data of a more recent flight. The gluon module has 2MB flash on board. This should be enough for almost 2 hours!

The Gluonpilot configuration tool is used to read the logging and convert it to KML (google earth), or XML (see screenshot on the left). Follow these steps:

  • Start up the Gluonpilot configuration tool
  • Connect to the module
  • Power the module
  • Wait for the module to boot
  • On the "Datalog" tab, click "Read datalog index". You will see the date & time of your last 10 flights.
  • Select the flight you wish the download
  • Click the ">" button
  • When the progressbar stops moving, all data has been downloaded
  • Select the entire table to copy to Excel
  • Press the "To KML" button to convert the data to a KML file for Google Earth

Example data can be found here.

Automating your flight!

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