"Fly-by-wire" / aided mode
Instead of controlling the plane's
control surfaces directly, you can engage "aided" mode and simply tell Ruby what you want the plane to do by moving your transmitter controls intuitively. Ruby can take care of airspeed, altitude, pitch,
roll, heading or turn rate for you, or let you control or "nudge" any or all of in a
simplified way. It's a kind of "cruise control".
For instance, holding the aileron halfway to the right holds the plane in a 30 degree right bank regardless of turbulence or other disturbances. Holding the stick all the way to the left holds the plane in a 60 degree left bank. Letting go of the stick levels the wings and locks the plane on current heading.
Likewise, holding the elevator forward tells Ruby to maintain an airspeed above normal cruising speed, and pulling it all the way back slows it down to just above stall. Pushing the throttle all the way forward tells Ruby to maintain current altitude using the throttle as necessary.
Using aided mode with altitude hold means that child with no prior experience can steer the plane
around the sky intuitively without having to worry about hitting the
ground, regardless of what he/she does with the right stick. Ruby will apply or reduce throttle as needed during maneuvers to stay within feet of locked altitude. This is what we mean by "training wheels".
not just for beginners, however. It can be indispensable
to expert pilots in
situations such as degraded visual contact, fatigue from turbulence
or instability, uncertainty about airspeed, difficult launching or
landing, distraction, or an itchy nose.
For instance, if you find that you are no longer able to make out the orientation of your airplane and can only see a "speck", you can use aided mode to guide it back to better visual range using aided mode, moving just the aileron slightly to perform turns, leaving the elevator centered to maintain best cruise speed, and keeping throttle all the way forward to tell Ruby to use as much throttle as needed to maintain altitude. Even if the plane is being bounced by turbulence, you can simply hold the stick still knowing that Ruby will keep restoring it quickly to the desired bank, airspeed, and altitude.
By managing airspeed and stabilizing roll and pitch, Ruby also makes landing easier for experts and beginners, especially in gusty wind.
While this mode does not support acrobatic flight, upcoming free firmware upgrades will include variations of aided mode including one that allows direct control of pitch, one that behaves like a traditional gyro stabilizer to control pitch and roll rates rather than absolute values, and perhaps a "cheater" mode or two for performing fun acrobatic stunts.