Learned a new lesson yesterday, should not have needed to learn it, because it is obvious.
If your quadcopter cannot LOITER successfully, don't try an AUTO mission.
I headed over to the local "park" - more like a remote muddy field that the county calls a park - to fly my quad. The plan was to check out AUTO mode with the program shown in the previous blog entry. I forgot, or ignored the previous tests that showed that LOITER mode did not work well, the copter bobbed up and down and did not hold position.
So I try taking off in AUTO mode with no luck, then do a manual takeoff and flip the switch for Auto mode. At first, things seemed OK, then the quad headed for the river, gaining altitude. Before I could react, it was over the Potomac at about 75 feet, then it dipped below the tree line and I could not see it. I flipped back to manual (Stabilize) control and thought "that quad is gone". I hit the throttle to try and bring it back up above the trees and it appeared as a little speck in the distance. I then was able to bring it back with some skillful (lucky) stick work and land it. Was I ever lucky!
The saving grace is that it took some great video footage while on its semi-controlled mission. Also, this is why you should not fly near people, as this could happen to you and someone could get hurt.
Here is the video: