Making a quick post before I get absorbed by more of this project!


I have bought a SkyWalker X5 which I intend to launch from a weather balloon.
The glider will have on-board the following instruments

  • Arduino
  • Bluetooth module for serial comms with Arduino
  • HTC Wildfire S running Android 4.something (though thats not important)
  • A couple of servos (4 so far)
  • 8 AA batteries
  • (12 -> 5)V voltage converter
  • 42″ spherachute

Heres how I intend for it to work

  1. Android has SL4A installed (allows scripting)
  2. Using Dropsync, I keep a folder of python scripts for SL4A up to date
  3. SL4A runs the python scripts using TaskBomb
  4. The python scripts load a few modules which establish communications with the bluetooth module on the arduino
  5. There is some light arduino code which listens for certain strings and controls the servos appropriately
  6. The python scripts on the android use a simple state-machine to control the following states
    1. Health Check
    2. Ascent
    3. Release
    4. Flight
    5. Flat Flight (No maneuvers)
    6. Parachute Release
    7. Sleep
  7. The scripts use the android API provided through SL4A and ‘Python for Android’ to access GPS/Orientation/Temperature data.
  8. This data is used to determine desired angles for Pitch and Roll (Yaw is managed through the glider maintaining a particular roll)
  9. Once a particular height is reached, or a particularly cold temperature is recorded, the servo which holds the glider to the balloon by means of a loop through a pin, releases the balloon
  10. Flight is managed until the glider is < 2km above sea-level, at which point the parachute is released.
  11. Every minute the phone will attempt to send a text to my personal phone with data such as battery level, location, heading, orientation and temperature.
  12. After that, its all gravy, and we “simply” pick it up from its final location.

Some Videos!

Initial Servo Test:

First Test of “Operational Glider”:

Glider Tech Demo:

Stability Improvement Testing:

Parachute Test (Success!):

Dunhill Glide Test (Success!):




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