At the moment this project is purely hypothetical but my friend and I were looking to make a model airplane which could stabilize its flight to be a straight line. Basically, we want there to a button on the controller or a separate transmitter which, when activated, would cause the plane to fly in a straight, horizontal line in whichever direction it was facing. The instrumentation we believe we would need is a three axis accelerometer, so that it can level the plane to fly horizontally with the ground and keep the roll and yaw steady. My question is, would this work? When I talked it over with my dad (who does a lot of this kind of thing) he suggested that we might need a Kalman filter to keep the instrumentation from gradually drifting off course but, being a high school student, that sounds a little intimidating. Any comments on feasibility or improvements would be greatly appreciated.
1- it would be better if you use a 9 DOF IMU (gyro, accelerometer, compass) and fuse the data to get a better estimate of the state of your model airplane
2- Then I would suggest that you study what is a PID controller so that you could control the variable of interest
3- The kalman filter your dad mentioned would be used to fuse the data of the IMU (point 1), it is indispensable as it would improve the state estimate
4- You could start without the kalman filter with a model that is not very stable and gradually improve it to employ a kalman filter (later you could even delve into particle filters)
5- It requires some work, as flight control is a bit tricky, but I think with some research you can do it (even though it is a little bit more advanced than high school level)