Table of Contents


This is the full-featured, open-source multicopter UAV controller that won the Sparkfun 2013 and 2014 Autonomous Vehicle Competition (dominating with the top five spots). A team of developers from around the globe are constantly improving and refining the performance and capabilities of APM:Copter.

Programming and mission operations are done through an elegant and well-developed software interface. The entire package is designed to be easily approachable for the novice, while remaining open-ended for custom applications, education, and research use.

MP Waypoints

Mission Planner

System components:

  • Pixhawk or APM autopilot loaded with the latest version of the APM:Copter firmware
  • Mission Planner software – gives you an easy point-and-click setup/configuration, and a full-featured ground control interface.
  • This APM:Copter Wiki provides all the information you need to set up and operate a multicopter or traditional helicopter. 
  • A suitable MultiCopter or Helicopter for your mission.
  • Plus many other useful options: e.g. data radios, which allow two-way wireless telemetry and control between the vehicle and your computer.
  • The Copter Forum allows the developers and others to respond to your questions and difficulties.


Rotor Craft types:


  • Utilize differential thrust management of independent motor-prop units to provide lift and directional control
  • Benefit from mechanical simplicity and design flexibility
  • A capable payload lifter that’s functional in strong wind conditions
  • Redundant lift sources can give increased margin of safety
  • Varied form factor allows convenient options for payload mounting.


  • Typically use a single lifting rotor with two or more blades
  • Maintain directional control by varying blade pitch via servo-actuated mechanical linkage (many versions of these craft exist and it is beyond the scope of this manual to cover them all — the mechanical systems used in helicopters warrant special study and consideration)
  • Strong, fast and efficient — a proven-worker suitable to many missions.

3DR ArduCopter Hexa-B Frame



Benefits of copters:

The advantages of rotary-wing craft are well known.

VTOL and the ability to hover in position brings many mission options into possibility.

Often, at the cost of a more limited flight time and payload capacity when compared to a fixed-wing craft. Your mission requirements will steer the choice.

APM can pilot them all.