Nav to waypoint A
Nav to waypoint B
Semi-auto take off
should be completed any time you fly at a
new field. Next, there’s a vibration test in
which the unit measures vibration levels in
a steady hover. The unit is very sensitive to
vibration, and it will not allow you to activate the APS feature until this test is passed
and the result stored.
Also, there’s a test sequence to verify
operation of the various flight mode commands. Waypoints are set and navigation
commands are issued with a sequence
of switch movements on the three-position Gyro/Aux2 switch (see table). Do
not attempt to operate the APS system in
flight until you can reliably input these
Finally and perhaps most importantly,
there’s a pre-flight checklist to verify
proper operation of the unit in APS mode.
This includes verifying the vibration test,
checking that the unit is locked in on a
reliable satellite signal, and checking swash
and tail corrections in APS mode. Do not
skip the preflight.
With temps in the high 30s and 15-20mph
winds, weather conditions for the flight
tests were not ideal. However, this seemed
like a suitable test of the unit’s position
hold capabilities. For the initial test, I took
off in Idle-up mode and climbed to a safe
altitude. I released the sticks (this is crucial)
and toggled to APS mode. The heli locked
in place perfectly and held a steady hover
in spite of the gusting and variable wind.
With that test completed, I landed and
rebooted the unit to reset the “home” loca-
tion. I took off again and climbed to about
20 feet, released the sticks, and switched
to APS. The heli again locked in place. I
then started flying around in APS mode.
With stabilization engaged, the 500’s han-
dling was rather sluggish, but it was quite
controllable and completely stable. I then
went back to 3GX mode and did some
normal sport flying.
I’ve repeatedly tested the APS’ various
capabilities, and been very impressed
with its reliability and its performance in
far-from-ideal flying conditions. The unit
performs exactly as advertised, and it really
impresses the crowd at the field!