UXV Navtab w/ RFD900


Alta X (DIU Blue Package) comes with a UXV tablet-based controller with an RFD 900X telemetry radio. This knowledge base wiki page aims to provide an overview of the usage and operation of the Alta X with the UXV hand controller.

Get Familiar

Before operating the Alta X with the UXV controller, make sure you:

First Time Setup

  • The UXV controller ships with a factory password. Upon receipt, update this to a password of your choice with the following minimum requirements:

  • Review the different Alta X offerings, particularly the DIU Blue Package, which includes a UXV tablet controller and a RFD 900X telemetry radio.

  • Read the Alta X wiki to familiarize yourself with the platform's setup and operation. Pay special attention to the Quick Start Guide and Aircraft Setup sections. Note that most articles use Futaba as the primary controller. This page will focus on the differences in operating with the UXV controller.

  • 15 characters consisting of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols.


  • Always keep the Alta X UAS and Controller physically secured. Unauthorized access to these items can allow attack vectors such as modifications of aircraft settings, or unauthorized exfiltration of confidential data and flight logs.

  • Freefly records default passwords as well as radio pair encryption keys as part of the production process. If the user requires increased security it is suggested the user updates these items.

  • Enabling LTE, WiFi, or Bluetooth will increase the vulnerability of the tablet.

Safety Warnings

  • Even when Q-Ground-Control (QGC) is not open, the tablet is still sending RC controls. This is by design so that if the app crashes, you can maintain control of your aircraft. Always treat the tablet as being in control of the aircraft.

Getting Started

  • Proper antenna placement is crucial for optimal performance. Follow these guidelines:

  • On the drone, ensure the antennas face down as pictured.

  • On the UXV controller, position the antennas vertically. Hold the controller with the long antennas pointing up or down, and avoid touching them to the controller's back. For the best performance and range, make sure not to point the tips of the antennas at the aircraft.

  • Maintain line of sight with the aircraft for optimal range and connectivity. Plan missions accordingly.

  • Antenna installation on the controller can be tricky. Gently place the antenna on the RP-SMA connector and turn the silver part to attach the antennas until hand-tight.

  • Be gentle when repositioning the antennas once tightened.

UXV Navtab Controls and Buttons

  • Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the locations of controls and mode buttons pictured below:

Flight Part 1 - Flight Modes

  • Manual mode is intentionally not set up on the UXV controller by default, as the sticks are not designed for precision manual flying. We don't recommend flying in manual mode.

  • Startup flight modes - PENDING:

    • The drone starts up in PENDING flight mode, meaning it doesn't yet have a enough GPS position lock or home point.

    • The drone automatically switches from PENDING to POSITION mode when a position lock is available.

    • If the operator wishes to take off without a valid home point, they can click the mode button to altitude mode and take off anyway. Be aware that return failsafe will not function without a valid home point established before takeoff.

  • (QGC) QGroundControl allows users to enter any flight mode via the flight mode dropdown, however, it is not recommended unless the user has prior experience with these modes. Use the controller buttons for mode switches and the on-screen slider for mission start when possible to avoid accidental mode changes.

Flight Part 2 - Operation

  • UXV joysticks:

    • The UXV joysticks send SBUS commands directly to the aircraft and function even if QGroundControl is closed or the tablet stops working.

  • Taking off in pos+alt mode,

    • To Takeoff, hold the left control stick fully down and right for 1.5 seconds to arm motors.

    • Once motors are at idle speed and all motors are running smoothly, push up on the left stick to takeoff and climb to the desired altitude.

  • Landing in pos+alt mode,

    • Do not give positional commands during landing unless necessary, even minor joystick inputs when touching down can cause tip overs.

    • Once on the ground, keep throttle low and allow the aircraft to auto disarm in 5 seconds.

  • RTL

    • Always check Return To Land settings for the operating area. Select an altitude high enough to clear any obstacles between any flight location and the home point.

    • A loss of link event will initiate an RTL (Return to Landing). When this occurs, the aircraft will climb to your preset altitude and fly directly to the home point. This should be accounted for when selecting a takeoff location to avoid tall obstacles.

    • To manually activate an RTL, center press the left directional pad momentarily.

Flight Part 3 - Emergency/Advanced

  • Emergency shutoff:

    • In case of emergency, click "armed" on QGC and swipe to shut down. This will work even when the aircraft is airborne

    • Be aware that emergency disarm in the air will lead to a crash, so this action should only be taken in extreme situations when absolutely necessary to prevent a potentially more dangerous outcome.

  • Click HERE for a video tutorial of the above control operations

  • Low battery

    • Low battery failsafe activation may occur early if the drone has low battery and high power demands.

    • The failsafe doesn't consider the drone's distance from takeoff when returning, so plan accordingly to prevent battery depletion.

    • To abort low battery, reselect position mode to override. Use caution!

    • Low battery thresholds may be adjusted for specific use cases. For instance you can decrease the threshold when flying close or with light payloads.

Pro Tips and Limitations

  • Mission guidance:

    • The default mission and RTL speed have been increased to 10m/s in this firmware (5m/s was the default before). Users may need to override the speed in the mission if they previously relied on the 5m/s default.

  • Charging time:

    • Be aware that charging the UXV controller can take a long time. Always charge in advance.

    • Supplemental power can be provided to extend the run time by using an external USB power source, such as a battery bank.

  • Freefly RTK does not currently work on the Alta X DIU Blue Package with the UXV controller.

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