Inspiration Behind the Project
Two years ago I decided that I wanted a plane for the sole purpose of taking aerial videos. At the time the camcorder I had available was a three quarter pound beast. I had been carrying this camera on my e-flite apprentice, but was only getting side shots because I didn't want the prop in my shot. After a lot of time spent thinking about it and a few sketches, I came up with this:
The plane flies well but it is massive. The plane has a 64 inch wingspan and is not very easy to transport. Overall, the plane is great for large areas and it has the camera view that I wanted, but it just wasn't practical.
A while after building this plane I got a GoPro, which is much lighter than my three quarter pound beast of a camcorder. So, I went back to the drawing board to come up with a design for a plane that was smaller, easy to transport and still had a obstacle free foreword facing camera view.
Features of the New Design
Using Google Sketchup to put my ideas into something tangible I came up with a plane that had a three foot wingspan and a fuselage that had a "arm" that reached under the prop and gave a location to mount the GoPro. Bellow are a few pictures of the finished product.
To mount the camera to the plane I used one of the GoPro's flat bottom sticky attachments. I also added two countersunk screws to secure the camera to the plane.
The landing gear is made out of a 1/8" diameter steel rod that I got from Lowes. To make the landing gear I bent two pieces of rod and then fastened them together using fishing line and CA glue.
The plane also incorporates a light weight carbon fiber tail boom. The tube's inner diameter is large enough to allow the servo lines to be fed though the tail boom to the fuselage.
Another unique feature about this plane is its flex fit hatch. It is made out of a 1/16" thick piece of balsa ply that flexes to hold itself in place.
The plane uses: a e-flite 30 amp ESC, a Hacker A30-22s V2 motor with a 7 x 5 prop, 4 hextronic 9g servos, a Hyperion 2100 MAH 3 cell LiPo, and a Spectrum AR6115e.
The plane flies extremely well, better than I could have ever hoped for. I have also been experimenting with some gyro stabilization for windy days. Overall I am very pleased with how it turned out.
Want to Build One Like It?
If you are interested in building one for yourself, I have a structurally accurate sketchup model of the plane that I can send you. Just send me a PM.