Initial Setup of RTM UAV


These instructions are intended for Flight Riot Mapping UAVs.

For shipping purposes, the Horizontal Stabilizer is removed and must be installed along with proper positioning and installation of the Elevator servo controls. Once installed this should not need to be removed again.


Here you will bench test your UAV and make sure it is ready for its maiden voyage. This includes installing the horizontal stabilizer, connecting wings, starting up the system and testing connectivity and function of RC control.


  1. Remove bolt underneath tail tip of plane
  2. Skywalker- Align the orange tab on the Horizontal Stabilizer with the orange slot on the tail and carefully slide the horizontal stabilizer into the tail of the frame. It is easiest if you slide it in at a very slight upward tilt. Penguin-Slide Horizontal stabilizer in place in rear of fuselage tail. Be careful of the foam pieces that rest on top of the Horizontal stabilizer as they are fragile.
  3. Once completely in place, insert and tighten bolt to secure in place. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN!
  4. We will wait until the UAV is powered up and in Manual mode to attach the elevator servo. This is addressed in a later section.


  1. Insert the carbon rod into one wing and then the other. Place the wings in position and connect servo plugs. Ensure that all servo (and other wires) are safely inside the fuselage and gently push wings into position.
  2. Connect rubber bands. You can use only one rubber band for this step (ONLY FOR BENCH TEST, NOT FOR FLIGHT) by wrapping around each of the orange plugs in a “box” pattern. Be very careful not to damage the foam wings each time you wrap a plug pull band toward center of fuse and back out to the next plug so as to create an arc in the band. This will help pull tension taward the fuselage and away from delicate wing areas. It is recommended that you add some duct tape to the areas where teh bands attach to the wings for extra protection.


  1. Install the most recent version of Mission Planner GCS from
  2. Plug your 3DR USB Telemetry radio into your GCSLaptop
  3. Open Mission Planner


  1. ALWAYS TURN YOUR TRANSMITTER ON FIRST and POWER OFF TRANSMITTER LAST! Note: the Turnigy 9X transmitter (Tx) requires all switches in “down” position to turn on. With the Tx in front of you as if you were using it, make sure all switches are pushed away from you. Turn power on. The Tx should beep once and then show the splash screen.
  2. Now switch the gear switch to the up position. This will trigger “Maunal Mode when the UAV boots up.
  3. Ensure the throttle stick (left stick) is all the way down.
  4. Open canopy and remove any packing material propeller and any other material if you haven’t already done so. We will leave the propeller detached for the first system bench check.
  5. There is an XT60 “Y” battery connector that splits power from the battery to the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) and the Universal Battery Eliminator circuit (UBEC). If you want to power only the APM 2.5 board you can unplug the ESC side and still have power to APM, telemetry, camera trigger, and servos. For now we can keep bopth plugged in.
  6. Connect the 5000 mah 4S main flight battery to the XT60 connector.
  7. You will here the Motor/ESC sound a series of beeps and the motor may move a little. after teh beeps, very gently and slowly raise the throttle stick until the motor spins a little and then drop the throttle again. Don’t spin the motor fast with only the pro adapter connected as it is loose and can fly off.
  8. Ensure the audio volume is up on your laptop and Click on the “Connect” button in Mission Planner GCS. You should hear audio alerts of various telemetry and mode information being announced.
  9. Notice that under “Configuration” there are many more options on the left side of the screen for configuring the autopilot now that you are connected.


NOTE: Read about the different flight modes and make sure you understand their purpose and limitations:

  1. In Mission Planner click on Flight Modes on the left menu.
  2. You will see a list of 6 dropdown boxes each with a flight mode displayed in it. Your UAV comes preset with 6 flight modes programmed into 6 different switch positions on the Tx. They are as follows:
  • Fmode -N / Gear – DOWN: (default position when you turn Tx on): Fly By Wire A FBWA mode. This is the mode you will learn to fly in but you are encouraged to practice flight in Training Mode as well because this will teach you maual controls with some safety mechanisms in place.
  • Fmode – 1 /Gear – DOWN: AUTOPILOT MODE. This will engage autopilot and start or resume a mission that was loaded via Mission Planner GCS.
  • Fmode -2 / Gear -DOWN: RETURN TO LAUNCH. This mode will cause the plane to fly back to home position and circle above at a preset altitude of 300ft. MAKE SURE TO SET HOME LOCATION BEFORE EVERY LAUNCH!
  • Fmode – N /Gear – UP: MANUAL MODE. This is fully manual mode and plane will behave as a normal RC aircraft.
  • Fmode – 1 /Gear – UP: LOITER MODE. This mode will cuase the plane to loiter at its current location and altitude.
  • Fmode – 2 /Gear – UP: TRAINING MODE. This mode allows you to fly manually except taht the aircraft wont surpass the extent of FBWA limits. This will not prevent crashes, it simply attempts to keep the plane from reaching more difficult positions to recover from in manual modes. It cannot prevent stalling and other aerodynamic dependent behavior.



Flip through the various flight modes using the Tx and observing the mode changes on the screen. Also listen for verbal audio confirmation. It is most important to train your brain to switch between FBWA, AUTO, and RTL quickly as these are the modes you will mostly be using. Also know how to switch to Manual immediately in an emergency.


  1. With the system in FBWA mode, turn the transmitter off. Within a second or two you should see/hear the system change to RTL mode. Once it switches to RTL turn the transmitter back on. If it does not switch back to FBWA by itself flipp the Fmode switch to RTL and back to FBWA.
  2. Now change to any other mode and turn the Tx off again. It should again switch to RTL but this time when you turn the Tx back on you will find you have to return the switches to the default position in order to reconnect and get the beeping to stop. It is important to remember this.


  1. With UAV powered up, switch to Manual Mode.
  2. Now connect the Elevator pushrod to the control horn by loosening the connecting bolt and sliding the rod into place. Skywalker- Make sure the rod is passed through the side of the horn opposite the rudder. If installed on the rudder side they can bind during flight causing a crash.
  3. Align the elevator control surface so that it is flush with the horizontal stabilizer. Penguin- With control surface flush tighten control horn connector bolt. Skywalker- Flick the elevator up with a finger and let it naturally fall in place just a small distance above flush with the horizontal stabilizer. Tighten control horn connector bolt.
  4. Look at the elevator’s position relative to the horizontal stabilizer from left and right side to ensure that no portion of the elevator trailing edge is in a downward position. There is a tendency for the elevator to bend up a bit near where the control horn connects. This is OK. Skywalker –Make sure that the left side of the elevator is just above flush in this case.
  5. If necessary loosen bolt, adjust and re-tighten in proper position.

You are almost ready to go to the field…Just do one more thing.

If you will not have Internet connectivity in the field, you will need to PREFETCH MAP DATA in Mission Planner before you head out. See video below

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