Last week I had some fun implementing an SDK or Software Development Kit. I did this because the question arose from two different angles: someone wanted to develop his own flightmodel (and share his experiences with me, thanks!), and someone suggested this would be a neat tool for autopilot hobbyists.

So the SDK targets two related areas: you can read and write input signals and aircraft data, or you can go one step further and write your own flightmodel. Read on for more technicalities.

Helicopters!

I've received the question a number of times and I needed something to test my own SDK so I started working on a preliminary flightmodel that supports helicopters. I did the first testing on the Extra, but letting a plane fly like a helicopter just doesn't seem right. So the last few days I've been modeling a Eurocopter Tiger:

It's not the most representative R/C chopper out there, but I wanted something original and goodlooking. I must admit I find modeling a helicopter a lot more challenging than an airplane. Improving the flightmodel might be difficult as well as I've got virtually no experience with flying them myself.

The SDK

My own SDK test was fun so far, so I plan to release the SDK soon. The SDK consists of a .NET assembly containing the API (Application Programmers Interface), a sample plugin with sourcecode (in C#) and a manual. Below is a screenshot of the debugwindow of the sample plugin. You'll see you've got access to all aspects of the aircrafts state (position, attitude, alpha,...) and control inputs. For testing your autopilots, you can simply override the control inputs.

Keep an eye on this blog (or subscribe to the RSS feed) to keep track of new releases and updates!

Happy flying!