QuadPlane Frame setup

The QuadPlane code supports several frame arrangements of quadcopter, hexacopter, octacopter and octaquad multicopter frames which use lifting motors in addition to the normal forward motor(s). Also configurations in which the VTOL motors tilt for transitions or control, as well as choice between horizontal VTOL stance or vertical (Tailsitters).


Frame setup for Tailsitters is in this section: Tailsitter Planes. Once the frame is configured, proceed with the other QuadPlane Setup instructions.

Plane VTOL Motor Configurations

These configurations add multicopter style lifting motors to a conventional fixed wing configuration. Some or all of these motors may also be configured as tilting motors to be used in fixed wing flight instead of the normal fixed forward motor(s).

Frame Types and Classes

To use a different frame type you can set Q_FRAME_CLASS and Q_FRAME_TYPE.

Frame Class

Q_FRAME_CLASS designates the number of motors used, and can be:

  • 1 for quad

  • 2 for hexa

  • 3 for octa

  • 4 for octaquad

  • 5 for Y6 (ignores all following frame types except 10 and 11, all others result in Y6A configuration)

  • 7 for tri (ignores all following frame types except 6 for reversed tricopter)

  • 10 for tailsitter using single/dual motors (ignores all following frame types)

Frame Type

Within each of these frame classes the Q_FRAME_TYPE chooses the motor layout and rotation directions.

  • 0 for plus frame

  • 1 for X frame

  • 2 for V frame

  • 3 for H frame

  • 6 for reversed X frame

  • 10 for Y6B only

  • 11 for FireFly6Y6 (Y6F only)


if selecting X or H frame, see Frame Twist Tips

VTOL Motor Ordering

The motor order and output channel is the same as for copter (see Copter motor layout) except that the default output channel numbers usualy start at 5 instead of 1, since the basic plane control surfaces are usually setup by default already on outputs 1 thru 4 when Q_ENABLE is set to 1 and the autopilot rebooted to setup QuadPlane.


Tailsitter Planes configuration is a special case. See Tailsitter notes below

For example, with the default Quad-X frame the motors are on outputs 5 to 8. The arrangement is:

  • Output 5: Motor 1 - Front right motor, counter-clockwise

  • Output 6: Motor 2 - Rear left motor, counter-clockwise

  • Output 7: Motor 3 - Front left motor, clockwise

  • Output 8: Motor 4 - Rear right motor, clockwise

You can remember the clockwise/counter-clockwise rule by “motors turn in towards the fuselage”, except for the H configuration, there all directions are inverted!

Another common setup is an OctoQuad X8, which uses the following ordering

  • Output 5: Motor 1 - Front right top motor, counter-clockwise

  • Output 6: Motor 2 - Front left top motor, clockwise

  • Output 7: Motor 3 - Rear left top motor, counter-clockwise

  • Output 8: Motor 4 - Rear right top motor, clockwise

  • Output 9: Motor 5 - Front left bottom motor, counter-clockwise

  • Output 10: Motor 6 - Front right bottom motor, clockwise

  • Output 11: Motor 7 - Rear right bottom motor, counter-clockwise

  • Output 12: Motor 8 - Rear left bottom motor, clockwise

You can remember the clockwise/counter-clockwise rule for an octa-quad by “top motors turn in towards the fuselage, bottom motors turn out away from the fuselage”.

For a Tricopter configuration, the default output assignment is:

  • Output 5: Motor 1 - Front right motor, looking from above

  • Output 6: Motor 2 - Front left motor

  • Output 8: Motor 4 - Rear motor

  • Output 11: Motor 7 - Tail Tilt Servo (see below)

The normal plane outputs are assumed to be on 1 to 4 as usual. Only vertical lift outputs (5 to 8 on a quad setup) normally should be run at high PWM rate (400Hz). When using these default configurations, you can assigne other outputs to whatever functions you desire.

You can optionally move the motors to be on any other channel, using the procedure outlined in the section further below.


Frame Type 7 is Tricopter and can be either non-Tiltrotor, or a Tiltrotor configuration for the front motors, but using a separate servo to sideways tilt the rear motor for yaw control, or a Tiltrotor using Vectored Yaw control via the front tilting motors.

If using a tilting yaw control, an output is setup as Motor 7 (SERVOn_FUNCTION = 39) for a servo-controlled sideways tilt mechanism for the yaw motor, Motor 4. You should set up the yaw servo’s maximum lean angle in degrees with Q_M_YAW_SV_ANGLE to prevent prop strikes to the ground or frame. This lean angle assumes that SERVOn_MIN and SERVOn_MAX, represent +/- 90 degrees, with SERVOn_TRIM representing 0 degrees lean.


the rear motor tilt servo is not affected by Q_TILT_MASK or any other Tiltrotor related parameters since it is not involved with vertical or horizontal propulsion, only yaw control.


See Tilt Rotor Planes

Using different channel mappings

You can remap what output channels the lifting motors are on by setting values for SERVOn_FUNCTION. This follows the same approach as other output functions.


Note that you do not need to set any of the SERVOn_FUNCTION values unless you have a non-standard motor ordering, using vectored thrust, or are a Tailsitter. It is highly recommended that you use the standard ordering and do not set the SERVOn_FUNCTION parameters, leaving them at zero. They will be automatically set to the right values for your frame on boot.

The output function numbers are:

  • 33: motor1

  • 34: motor2

  • 35: motor3

  • 36: motor4

  • 37: motor5

  • 38: motor6

  • 39: motor7

  • 40: motor8

So to put your quad motors on outputs 9 to 12 (the auxiliary channels on a Pixhawk) you would use these settings in the advanced parameter list: