Hi there @Jspatafore49
Is your issue with the takeoff_and_land.py script related to dronekit timeouts, or something else?
If the former, I have had reports of students with working versions of AC-3.6., so I think the folks at Emlid may have fixed the timeout problem related to AC-3.6.
The numbered order for installing custom Ardupilot firmawre you lay out is correct. I would start out trying to clone a newer version of AC-3.6.* to see if the timeout issue goes away- maybe AC-3.6.11?
If that doesn’t work, the AC-4.0.* does not experience dronekit timeout issues- however, I have experienced erratic takeoff behavior documented here. If you use this version, make sure to set you takeoff height to 1 meter so if it does go crazy, the crash is soft(er).
If that doesn’t work, then using AC-3.5.5 is the next step. I have very little issues with this version, and while it lacks some features compared to the newer versions, those features aren’t likely to be missed too much (unless you really need them). The main drawback is the earlier version won’t support as many pieces of hardware (like rangefinders).