Taranis, APM Plane Advanced (6) Flight Mode Setup

I just completed a Reaper XL for medium range FPV in which I’ve installed a Ready-To-Fly Quad’s RTFHawk and will be using My FrSky Taranis X9D transmitter.  The RTFHawk is a Pixhawk clone that, in my opinion, is every bit as good as the Pixhawk at a fraction of the cost.  For those who are on a budget like me, and still want ‘the good stuff’, give the RTFHawk a try.

This tutorial will outline the way I’ve set up my switches to control the APM Plane’s 6 flight modes.  First, I’d like to point out that APM Plane (formerly ArduPlane) and ArduCopter have many significant differences.  If you are used to ArduCopter, you will have a learning curve to overcome.  One of the main differences I struggled with is how RC channels are utilized and what they can be assigned to.

  1. The ArduCopter mode channel is channel 5.  APM Plane’s mode channel is channel 8.
  2. ArduCopter allows you to assign RTL (Return To Launch) to its own channel.  APM Plane does not.
  3. ArduCopter allows you to assign Autotune to its own channel.  In APM Plane, Autotune is simply another flight mode.

Coming from ArduCopter, I miss being able to assign a channel, and therefor a dedicated switch on my transmitter to control the return to launch (RTL) function.  I hope that in the near future, this feature will be added to ArduPlane.  Until then, I have come up with the next best thing.

My tricopter flight modes were set up like most of the guides on the net; one two position switch and one three position switch.  Each flight mode requires both switches to be set which works reliably, but sometimes finding the correct flight mode is a challenge.  The method I have developed for ArduPlane utilizes two, three position switches.  The top and middle positions of each switch give you the first 4 flight modes.  The fifth and sixth flight modes are activated when either switch is put in their down positions.  These flight modes (FM5 and FM6) are priority flight modes because with the flick of a single switch, you can activate them.  I use these two for my Loiter and RTL modes.

FM1 SC↑ SD↑ Stabilized
FM2 SC↑ SD – Manual
FM4 SC – SD – Auto Trim
FM5 !FM6 SD↓ Loiter

 If you haven’t already done so, downloaded and install OpenTX Companion.  For instruction on how this is done, visit OpenTX University.

Logical Switches

Here is how this is accomplished in OpenTX.  Notice that L6 is dependent on one switch only.  L5 will only activate when L6 is not.  This way, you can’t have both activated at once. 


Special Functions

Sounds can be assigned to each logical switch just as before.



Here is how to set up your mixes.  Notice that the weights of mine are not in all in ascending order.  This is because in ArduPlane, manual mode is permanently assigned to flight mode 6 and I wanted manual mode to activate when SC↑ and SD -.  Somewhere things had to get out of order, and here was the easiest place for me. 

This is different than the way I accomplished it in the past where each had a weight and an offset and values were added. Things to note…

  1. Source is set to MAX.
  2. Weights are dependent on the flight mode and will be set to (-100%, -41%, -16%, +10%, +36%, +75%).  I didn’t figure these out.  I found these settings somewhere on the net and I can’t remember where.  I thank you…oh great one…who figured this method out because I understand how it works.
  3. Switch will be set to L1 through L6.
  4. Deselect all flight mode check boxes.  Check the box for the flight mode you are creating (1-6).
  5. Multiplex is set to REPLACE.


Flight Modes

Lastly, if you would like your flight modes to be shown on the Taranis’s screen, continue setting up the Flight Mode tabs.  I never utilized these in the past. 



For Flight Mode 1, set the trim values to ‘Own Trim’.  For the other 5 Flight Modes, trim values need to be set to ‘Use trim from Flight Mode 1’.  This way all flight modes will share the same trim values.

 You get the idea.  I hope that you find this guide valuable.  It took a lot of trial and error to figure this out.  One of the things I like so much about the FrSky Taranis is that so much can be done and there are many ways to accomplish a task.


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