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Build a Open Source Helicopter Autopilot

You can find the English language source code for a fully functional helicopter autopilot that you can download without paying for.

You need to be an expert in PIC assembly, electronics, & the VicaCopter source code to actually get it to work, but this is actual source code flying our autonomous VTOL aircraft, not an incomplete stage which can’t hover. If you ever succeeded in downloading the source code & building your own VicaCopter, you still probably wouldn’t know half of what she can do. There is no support or warranty.

Vicacopter uses a ground computer for flight control. An airborne microcontroller handles rate damping, PWM, & sensor capturing. The ground computer handles navigation & provides a simple instrument panel. Because you need a radio modem & ground station either way, it’s the cheapest way to fly.


Airframe #1 was a Corona 120. That flew for 1 year & is no longer manufactured, so it was replaced by a flybarless T-Rex 450. That flew for 1 year & got too expensive. Then came a quad rotor, but it was tricky to balance the yaw force, the counter rotating propellers were expensive, & motor shafts always bent. The latest airframe is a tri rotor & it is the cheapest & easiest route into the air of all. The servo has never gotten damaged & it has 1 less power system to break.

VicaCopter supports 2 configurations:

  • 3 gyros & a sonar transducer for the minimal autopilot.
  • 6 DOF IMU, magnetometer, barometer, GPS for the full autopilot

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