View Full Version : sailplanes w/ camera

01-17-2007, 03:40 PM

Had an opportunity to observe a guy w/ a sailplane w/ video camera - monitor - the whole nine yards.
The plane he had had great distance (almost out of sight) and better than good height and of course, stayed up there for a long long time just cliding (at least 1/2 hour). Used the power only when needed. IT WAS REALLY NEAT! "NEAT" is a term used back in the old days when I was a youth.
Didn't have opportunity to speak to him.
Maybe someone would enlighten me as to the minimums in all the following:
Type of sailplane.
Type of camera and monitor.
A ballpark figure as to the costs as a startup package.


Rath :cool:

01-17-2007, 10:05 PM
Before buying anything, check to make sure it's legal to do this in your area.

For example, in all states of Australia (as far as I'm aware), a costly permit is required to operate any live downlink from a model aircraft, and I've been told that the permit is bloody expensive and somewhat hard to obtain... :( (It comes under the field of security/defence law here, I believe)

01-17-2007, 10:59 PM
Tassie, is it leagal in australia to take vidioes but just not have them streming live to you?

01-18-2007, 01:43 AM
Tassie, is it leagal in australia to take vidioes but just not have them streming live to you?

I believe that's correct, yes. The illegal part is only the live downlink (I guess becos it can be used for real-time surveillance).

01-18-2007, 03:25 AM
I don't believe Michigan has these requirements.
From What I understand, there are several in the tri-county area that have similar planes but I don't know who they are.


01-18-2007, 09:38 PM
Hi Rath,

You might want to poke around here: http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=28

I have used a vintage Carl Goldberg Viking kit that I converted to RC and attached a Nikon Coolpix 3700. All up price around $350? There are lots of smaller simple airplanes that can hoist up a camera or a camcorder, but nothing all that specific in one package that I know of. It is fun though and you can get some great shots and movies.

Do a bit of reading and don't be afraid to ask questions!



01-18-2007, 10:37 PM
Thank you very much for the information.
Gotta watch the $ - retired - fixed income.


01-18-2007, 11:30 PM
Many people put video cameras in electric planes and gliders.

A video camera and receiver can be as little as $100. Any glider can carry them as they are very light.

Electric gliders can be built from kits, ARFs or you can buy them ready to fly including the radio control. For $200 you can get a Spectra Select:

01-19-2007, 02:04 AM
:D This is a great forum.
One really get the necessary information wanted.


01-19-2007, 02:51 PM

What I failed to mention is the fact the sailplanes that I saw were foam.
I don't know if that makes a difference as far as weight distribution, etc.?
They appeared to be extrmely light - didn't have to worry about landing gears. The landings were either caught by hand or soft landing on turf.
I liked that idea! Less complicated and skill oriented - mavbe?

Rath :D

Sparky Paul
01-19-2007, 10:04 PM
I kinda cover aerial photography from just about anything that can lift a camera here...

01-20-2007, 02:50 AM
I had some fun with a small CMOS camera/tx but it broke quickly, as did the cheap plastic rx. Still using a tiny CMOS cam I invented the Video Zagi 6 yrs ago. Hang onto yer lunch watchin it tho- gliders make more watchable video with a lot less 'upheaval'.. ok, I'm gonna say it- Blowin Chunks! Neat...

Since CCD cameras make much better pictures but are much larger than tiny CMOS cameras they are more suited to 2 and 3 meter size gliders that can handle the additional frontal area of a faired in square boardcam. My pod gives me a good view and sets up very quickly, can be rotated to any direction (by hand on the ground) and is far enough away from the ESC and motor to be noise-free in audio and video.

Here's a metal A/V transmitter I use that has audio capability (but no microphone) and delivers a very good picture. $90. They have a more powerful TX of 1 Watt but it doesn't have audio. Range hasn't been an issue since at altitude it is most effective.

They have a new 1/3" microboard camera that is surprisingly inexpensive for its performance. $70

For a receiver I use the GFR-2400 with dual AV outputs which feed the camcorder as I fly. Use the other for a Head Mounted Display to complete the Remotely Piloted Vehicle concept and fly it directly by the video/audio as if you were in it while also recording the flight! $150

My choice of a lower power AV TX requires an amplified directional antenna that has to be pointed at the plane. This wide angle unit makes it effortless for excellent reception by just facing the plane. A 3 cell 1500 ma lipo powers the rx. $70

Watching the videos later is a great way to extend your enjoyment of a high smooth flight on a beautiful day- and strapping yourself in one of these things (by HMD RPV) is an experience that'll make you yell:
I do all the time...

01-20-2007, 04:44 PM

You people know too much for this old man to digest.
This sounds like the first doll house I tried to put together for my daughter back in the 50's. You know with the little tabs? I finally trashed it!
It looked so easy in the finished product.
But I will perservere!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The information you all have contributed to assist me is absolutely great.
I now have one wheel on the road when, before, I had none!
Any further information you might have will trully be appreciated.

Rath :D

01-22-2007, 03:52 PM
Got your email and thanks!
Just reading the thread on aerial photo and saw you post.
The pix you show looks very much like the one I was trying to describe in my thread
I don't know if your first post pix are the same plane as in the 2nd pix
but the 2nd pix sort fo did it for me.

Rath :D

Sparky Paul
01-22-2007, 09:10 PM
I'm always interested to see what other guys do with planes for anything.
The most popular AP plane is apparently the Slow Stick, which I wouldn't have considered at all.
But some of the commercial users use them quite well.. dual and 4-motored versions..
As I've mentioned, if the plane can lift the camera, it's suitable for AP. :)

01-26-2007, 01:49 AM
Love this thread.
Can't wait to get back to Germany to finish my 2.5 meter sailplane.
I have the 2820/12 motor AXI installed and testing the thrust is amazing.
I have to finish installing the micro servos in the wings when i get back.
The Graupner 4296 Glider has a fiberglass fuselage nicely done.
I visit there often. Not far from Aachen.
Amsterdam to Sweden is also part of the 3 - 6 month tour.
Adding a camera would be great to show the country side there to include the electric windmills.

01-26-2007, 03:31 AM
I am really having a hard time making a decision on what to get.
I think it is about time to make a decision to make a decision.

Rath :(

01-26-2007, 10:40 AM
I am really having a hard time making a decision on what to get. I think it is about time to make a decision to make a decision.
Rath :(

I was certainly in the same boat as you. Your best bet is to tour the best shops in town that have most of the options. Expect to hang out a couple hours. Nothing worth while happens in five minutes. So take off by yourself to do the tour, or bring a friend that knows the craft.

Luckily I didn't purchase everything all at once. I held off on the remote control transmitter till I had most of it together with motor in place.
I then discovered the new digital system had just arrived. This a huge advantage on every feature installed in the plane to fine tune all actions.

If you don't have a dremel yet, this is one tool and all it's options you need.
Ebay has dedicated flex tool motors just for this as well. The motor hangs and has a flex cable and arbor to except all grinding tools to access the smallest of areas. The range in price is roughly under $50.

Good Luck, and while it's winter, you might want to get some of it assembled.
Another important item is the PC flight simulator for models. It's very good.
It also includes a glider. It also comes with a controller similar to what you will be using.
Maybe you know this already.
But I basically find it more entertaining than a video game.
Can I get it to fly back close enough to catch it in a stall.

Have Fun

09-06-2007, 02:09 AM
Thank you very much for the information.
Gotta watch the $ - retired - fixed income.


And you can afford RC sailplanes? :rolleyes:

03-22-2009, 04:36 PM
Thanks to Sparky Paul and TW for the web links and photos of your own projects. Very clever and resourceful. Since the time of the last post to this thread, is there anything that is new on the market that you are using or would recommend as far as cameras or gear?