Co-Pilot - Auto-Stabilization Unit - RC Groups
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Nov 19, 2001, 07:28 PM
Registered User

Co-Pilot - Auto-Stabilization Unit

As promised, below there's a link to some pics that we took over the weekend while testing FMA's new Co-Pilot Product.

In several of the pics you'll see a woman that we literally "grabbed off the street" to try the Co-Pilot. The pics should say it all. In the one shot from behind her...that "spec" is the Co-Pilot equipped Windstar sailplane. This was the first time that this lady had ever held and R/C Tx and she flew many circuits with only verbal instruction. If anyone has any questions...Feel free...

Click here to view the pics...
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Nov 19, 2001, 09:15 PM
Registered User
Okay, several questions.

The FMA website says...."senses the difference in infrared signature between the earth and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to provide 100% real time, day or night stabilization "

it also says...."sensors may be located anywhere on the outside of the model where it can “see” the horizon in all directions"

My question is if it measures infrared signature, why does the sensor need to see the horizon? and if it needs to see the horizon, how does it provide night stabilization, since the horizon would not be (clearly) visible at night? Related to this is how important is the "horizon thing"? will the co-pipolt work in mountainous terrain or perhaps in a river valley?

Another question, I read in another post where the current co-pilot will not work with electronic CCPM, but FMA is working on a unit that will. Can you verify this?
Nov 19, 2001, 10:45 PM
Registered User
The "horizon" is should properly be definied as the separation of earth and the atmosphere. The Co-Pilot senses the difference between the earth (warmer) and the surrounding atmosphere. Trees, etc do not appear to have too much affect on the Co-Pilot as the earth is still warmer than those other objects.

We're still experimenting with the Co-Pilot and I would assume that, on one of our cold winter nights here in upstate NY, the Co-Pilot will have more difficulty resolving the difference in temperature.

We'll know more as we fly the unit but the initial findings are that the Co-Pilot is capable of correcting to and maintaining a level attitude. It'll be more interesting as the temperatures get colder and the wind speed picks up.

Hope that helps a little...
Nov 20, 2001, 03:40 PM
Registered User
"Another question, I read in another post where the current co-pilot will not work with electronic CCPM, but FMA is working on a unit that will. Can you verify this?"
Nov 20, 2001, 04:17 PM
Registered User
Am I the only one who is completely blown away by this product? I am thinking of trying it out on my micro-helis. Probably too heavy for the Piccolo, but it could help me learn how to do aerobatics on my Hornet.

Nov 20, 2001, 04:27 PM
Just an average RC'er
Jim McPherson's Avatar
" Am I the only one who is completely blown away"

Show me the off the street lady flying the heli, and I'll be blown away.
Nov 25, 2001, 07:29 AM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar

You seem to know this 'co-pilot' more than others, maybe you could answer acouple of questions of mine.

1) Would this 'co-pilot' work on a indoor heli ?.

2) Would this 'co-pilot' work with a aileron/elevator fixed-wing airplane ?. Or must it be rudder/elevator setup ?.


.................................................. .................................................. ..
OK, I went back to FMAs site and reread the specs and answered #2 myself.

#1 still stands.

Thanks again
Last edited by William A; Nov 25, 2001 at 07:43 AM.
Nov 25, 2001, 09:14 AM
Registered User
Sorry gang...

I've been a little out-of-touch due to the holidays. I'll try to anser everything now.

FMA is working on a "multi-channel" version of the Co-Pilot that will work with CCPM. The current version will not work with CCPM.

G. Zod: You're right, it probably is too much for the Piccolo although the unit is pretty light. You'll have to switch or mix (preferred) the Co-Pilot sensitivity in order to do aerobatics. At full sensitivity the Co-Pilot will over-power your commands (hey, it doesn't know that you were trying to learn a loop) and attempt to correct the airdraft to a level flight mode.

Check out the pics in the link I sent...You'll see one pic taken from behind her that shows a little speck in the sky. That was the sailplane. She really did fly quite a few circuits with only verbal cues as to when to turn. We've also had a 6-yar old (Ray's son) flying the Co-Pilot...VERY successfully.

William A.:
NO the Co-Pilot would not be very successful indoors...It needs temperature differential to work properly. Yes, Co-Pilot will wirk with Ailerons as instead of rudder.

Hope that helps some...

Nov 25, 2001, 12:44 PM
ClearView Rocks!
Quacker's Avatar
Hi smarkest,

Can you tell us more about the multichannel version. Like what channels, how many are actively controlled at once, is the unit the same size etc?


Dec 28, 2001, 02:07 PM
Registered User
What's the difference between Co-Pilot and a gyro? HobbyLobby sells gyros that seem to do the same thing as Co-Pilot. Is this so?

Also, how much setup is involved in the CoPilot system? Say into a Wingo?
Jan 12, 2002, 08:58 PM
Registered User

FMA Web site

I am interested in the copilot. Do any of you know the address of FMA I am not able to find them on the web
Thanks, Mac
Jan 12, 2002, 09:39 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the website info.
Jan 13, 2002, 01:42 PM
Registered User
Maybe if we are lucky someone will make a device that will allow us to press one button,the heli will fly a preset circuit and land-ALL WITHOUT OPERATOR INPUT.
Jan 13, 2002, 10:04 PM
Our Daddy and Heli Junkie
Fred Bronk's Avatar
Then why do RC at all. Watch TV!