I have something here that I think is kind of fun.  I've been fiddling with
this off and on since last fall and decided it was time to clean it up a bit
and quit hording all the fun for myself.  Basically I have taken the F-14b
and created a high performance Navy "drone" out of it.  It can auto-launch
from a carrier, auto fly a route (if you've input one) and can do circle
holds (compensating for wind.)  I've added a simulated
gyro stabilized camera that will point at anything you click on and then
hold that view steady no matter what the airplane does (similar to what real
uav's can do.)  Finally, you can command it to return home and it will find
the carrier, setup a reasonable approach and nail the landing perfectly
every time (factoring in wind, carrier speed, etc.)

I put together a quick web page that includes more of an explanation and
description of what the demo does.  I have a link to a zip file you need to
download.  This must be extracted over the top of the existing f-14b as per
the installation instructions on the following web site:


I'm hoping to get a few people that would like to try this and report back
on a couple things:

- were you able to get it to work?  Were there any missing files or major
blunders in the .zip file package?

- are there places where my web page instructions stink, and can you help me
write better or more accurate instructions, especially for the Mac

- I already know my instructions for setting up the vinson demo aren't good,
but it's been so long since I tried to do this on windows I forget all the
fgrun details.  Maybe there is an easier way now?

- finally, what do you think?  general impressions? things you thought were
especially cool, or especially stupid?  You probably can think of a dozen
feature requests, and I have some things in the pipeline already.  (For
instance I have a refueling mode that is currently disabled, but almost is
close to working.  And I've done some preliminary work on adapting all of
the auto-land logic for runway landings.)

- if you happen to go look at the nasal code that does all the magic, please
don't judge me (quoting Eskeletor from nacho libre) -- that was actually a
fun sub-project (for a former computer scientist.) :-)

- Oh, and eventually I'd like to add pictures to the instructions.  If you
happen to catch an especially cool looking view (weather, clouds, time of
day, sun, sun glint, scene composition, etc.) then please feel free to send
me a picture or two (or even a youtube movie) so I can make the instructions
prettier and more exciting. :-)

If I can get this demo all cleaned up and generally running pretty well, I
have another UAS demo that is similar, but centered around the ATI
Resolution-3 airframe (which is a 92" 2.33m composite marinized flying
wing.)  Then if that all goes well, I have actual embedded C code to do much
of these same sorts of things that can run on a gumstix embedded computer
(or similar.)  This code is able to talk directly to flightgear via udp
packets, and has actually flown in a couple different UAV airframes using
real sensors and real actuators.  So you might see a progression developing
here from pure simulation with all the logic prototyped in nasal, to
software in the loop running pure C/C++ code, to the same software running
on actual embedded hardware (using FlightGear as reality), to the end result
of an actual real life UAV.  (And I've been using drone, UAS, and UAV pretty
interchangeably here.)


Curtis Olson:
http://www.atiak.com - http://aem.umn.edu/~uav/
http://www.flightgear.org - http://gallinazo.flightgear.org
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