On Friday we experienced very high winds, 60-90km/h, or Beaufort 7-8, this caused damage in the area, actually knocking over some trees, etc. I decided to go out and test the wind performance of my F450 quadcopter, see if it's even possible to fly a quad in such conditions, and test the inertial Loiter performance.
Overall, it went fairly well. Flight control in Loiter was quite a bit better than flying manually. Last year I tried flying a quad in 40 km/h winds, and it did not work at all. As soon as I got off the ground, it was practically out of control and I spent another 2 minutes just trying to get it back on the ground safely.
I should point out that this could actually be considered a worst case setup. The Tarot F450 frame I'm using is very flexible. The quad can't be autotuned, because of that. In fact, I haven't spent much time at all setting it up. All of the settings are default, other than some of the basics like the Rate PIDs. I haven't spent any time tuning up Loiter, or Alt Hold parameters. I haven't even done CompassMot. (Sorry Randy!).
Despite all of that, the copter performed fairly well, as you can see. A properly setup quadcopter should do even better. Unfortunately winds like these are rare so I can't go back and retest whenever I want. So, taking this as it is, it was fun to do this test, and I think it shows off the performance potential of Arducopter fairly well. Another thing to keep in mind when watching the video, is to understand that while straight-line wind speeds were 60+ km/h, the area I was flying was in the lee of several large obstacles like houses and a forest. As such, the air was extremely turbulent, which is why you see quite a bit of violent movement. I expect if I was flying in a clear field, the copter would sit more stable, with a constant tilt angle to fight the wind.
I would have liked to do back-to-back testing of the performance of the quad vs. a helicopter, but I didn't have a heli ready for Loiter flying at the time. Looking back at last year's video, it seems like the helicopter would have done quite well actually. The video from last year was done on a helicopter with a flybar, using an APM1 with a worse baro, and didn't have inertial navigation at all. Even still, it was quite stable as you can see.