Intel® Aero Platform For UAVs
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First flight - defective unit?


I tried out the Aero RTF for the first time on my lunch today and it wasn't a good 'out of box experience'. A brief description of what happened:

  • Charged & installed a 3S-2200 battery. (note: battery straps have inadequate velcro overlap to properly secure battery)
  • Read & followed instructions to the letter. Placed drone in clear area, powered on transmitter, powered on drone, waited a bit for boot & GPS acquisition, armed motors, armed throttle, set flight mode to 2 (Attitude+GPS), slowly applied throttle until vehicle hovering at 1 ft.
  • At this point the vehicle started drifting like it was in manual stabilization mode. Verified flight mode switch in position 2.
  • At this point things got hairy. Default stick inputs not tuned well (too sensitive), vehicle began to rise and yaw with no stick input.
  • I took action to reduce throttle and counter yaw. Was able to land (a bit hard but no damage).
  • Inspecting the airframe I noticed the GPS was rotated on it's mast about 15 degrees. (might partially explain yaw) The set-screw holding the mast to the frame was loose. Tightened the screw, re-read instructions, and went out for another try.
  • Repeated takeoff procedure in attitude+GPS flight mode. Definitely a squirrley vehicle, handled poorly to say the least.
  • Vehicle still exhibiting X,Y,Z,Yaw drift. Tried switching to flight mode 1 and then 0. Vehcile reacted (momentary surge in RPM) but handled similarly in every mode.
  • Attempting to land in mode-2, upon setting down the vehicle started to attempt to flip over. Yes, this was landing on a very level surface.
  • At this point I tried disarming motors (left stick down_left). Vehicle refused to disarm. Tried disable throttle. Vehcile started tipping and scraping props on the ground.
  • Finally I flipped to mode-0 and was able to disarm.
  • Inspecting the vehicle, other than minor damage to props, everything looks ok.

Just to be clear, I didn't expect a consumer-level experience like something like the 3DR Solo here, but still I'm rather disappointed. I've hand-built seven drones of various designs over the years, including several of my own design. All the hand-built ones were running NAZA or OpenPilot. I contributed in minor ways to the OpenPilot software effort. So I don't think this is a neophyte user issue, I'm a reasonably experienced enthusiast. My guess is that the vehicle has sensor calibration issues. I don't think this is a GPS or magnetometer environmental issue, I've flown many drones from the exact came location. Apparently there's no way to know GPS satellite acquisition status without a telemetry link, which I haven't set up yet, so I can't really say whether I had a good GPS lock or not. Still, obviously RealSense / optical flow stabilization wasn't working. It really felt like only inner-loop stabilization was working.

So now I'm afraid to fly until the kinks are worked out. This leads me to a few questions:

  • Is there a sensor recalibration procedure I can follow? Until now I've never worked with a drone that didn't need a pre-first-flight calibration procedure. Even pre-tuned vehicles like the Solo offer this as an option.
  • I wanted to try the vehicle out 'out of box' to get a baseline understanding before messing with flashing new firmware, etc. Could this be a software issue?
  • Once I have time tonight to set up the wifi telemetry link I should be able to download logs & start troubleshooting. Is anyone at Intel interested in taking a look at the logs?

Ok, sorry to be a pain here on the forum. So far I have to say the whole experience has been underwhelming to say the least. The 2-month delay on top of receiving a problematic vehicle is not impressive... Hopefully these are just teething issues, but the reason I purchased the RTF kit instead of just the Aero compute board & RealSense sensor was to familiarize with a stable platform before moving on to more advanced use-cases.

Comments & suggestions are welcome.


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Community Manager

Hi Dave,



Thanks for contacting us!



I understand how you are feeling and we are really sorry to hear this was your first experience with the Intel Aero RTF, if I were in your position, I would feel the same way.



Dave, thanks for sharing all the details you have provided as well as your inquiries, I would like to investigate a little bit more in order to give you a more accurate answer and I'll contact you back as soon as I have useful information, also, if you download the logs, please post them here. Moreover, we are aware of your other threads and we are working on them in order to help you.



I'll appreciate your patience during the meantime.





-Yermi A.