Use a computer game to control an RC plane?

Is it possible to use a program like Flight Simulator 2000 to send radio signals to an RC plane? The game can take messages from a joystick and convert that to "move ailerons," "throttle up," etc. If it is possible how can it be done?

For a contest I am thinking about entering I need to build a vertical takeoff/landing UAV that can fly out 2 miles beyond line-of-sight, send back live video (or possibly a buch of still pictures) of an area for up to 3 hours, and return to a different spot than where it started.

I don't know where to get radio equipment that can go that far except expensive 900MHz stuff. Some walkie-talkies claim to be able to go that far but I don't know if they can send a signal useable for something like that.

So I was thinking of having my drone drop a thing half way that could pick up, amplify, and re-transmit controls to the UAV, and video (+mabey some tellemetry stuff) back to the controller. Is that possible?


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Servo Commander looks like just what you need. Unless you are a red-hot software designer, you aren't going to beat that.
seabee8905 years ago
With my limited knowledge of electronics, the only thing that i can think of is using 2 cell phones and arduino tech somehow. I hope you keep trying because this sounds like an amazing and achievable goal. Yamaha makes a large comp controlled helo and the uav's do it. I have seen people do it with better antanne(f7) . Good Luck
Jaycub (author)  seabee8905 years ago
I have a thing now that lets a joystick control an rc transmitter through the computer. And I have the long range radio equipment working.
rickharris6 years ago
Not as easily as you seem to think. Your still stuck with the radio interface and what is on the screen isn't the same as what happens in real air.

Most UAVs either operate autonomously or use sophisticated radio/satellite links for communications.

This must be a very high spec contest as the demands are extremely high for most hobby makers both in cost and in technology. It always seems to me that when fairly fundamental questions don't have a ready answer in your mind when you see the challenge then your probably not ready for it.

Other peoples answers/suggestions and experience are no replacement for your own knowledge/thought and experience.

Jaycub (author)  rickharris6 years ago
Thank you for your advie and I agree, but there aren't any parts of this contest that I can't solve right now. It's just a matter of finding the easiest/cheapest solutions and ballancing cost vs bonus points in autonomy and other things.
Use a decent antenna, pointing in the direction of the plane - which you could determine by on-board GPS, and you can probably use conventional RC frequencies. I can't help but think that for two way comms, you'd be better using modified wi-fi kit.

Steve
Jaycub (author)  steveastrouk6 years ago
So you are saying that I can use normal RC equipment if I make the antenna bigger and point it in the direction of the aircraft? What do you mean about the wi-fi kit, that it could be used as a long range transmitter?

I would rather use a joystick and go through a computer because I need a screen to see the video anyway, and the joystick would make the controls more "simple and intuitive" which is part of the requirement.
iceng Jaycub6 years ago
You are working under a misconception that commands sent by
a one way computer to an aircraft is actually in the position of what
your screen shows.

That wont work worth a tinkers D-m.  Sometimes a command gets garbled
and from that point on what you see is not what is actually happening
2 miles away.  You cant possibly maneuver the craft ! !

As Steve said you must have feedback ie two way communication to
work a craft that far. .

A
Jaycub (author)  iceng6 years ago
Where did you get the idea that I wasn't going to have feedback from the plane? In the question I specifically said that I was going to have live video sent from a camera on the plane. I don't mean to use an animated plane as a representation for the real one, I was just thinking to use FS2000 for it's joystick-to-specific-signals software. Buying something like servo commander is an option but I think I can get that software for free out of an old videogame.
Because you didn't actually SAY you were getting feedback from the plane,and you kept talking about comms FROM your PC ? You said "live video" OR maybe a bunch of pictures.
Jaycub (author)  steveastrouk6 years ago
OK yeah sorry. Well I mean to have forward facing video, video of the ground, and GPS from the aircraft.