We’ve got a hand-me-down EasyStar foam plane, which, along with being pretty close to indestructible, has a nice open equipment area in the front (open because we broke the canopy latch). Meanwhile, we’ve also got a Canon Digital Elph pocketcam with a cracked screen that we don’t use much. Put them together with a bit of light plywood, a camera mount screw from an old tripod and some rubber bands, and you’ve got an aerial video platform:
The key bit in this sort of hack is keeping the center of gravity where it’s supposed to be, which meant moving the plane’s battery under that plywood in the back (this also raises the rear corner, allowing the camera to look down). Once you get that right, the plane flies fine–a bit more sluggish that usual, but nothing too serious.
Here’s an aerial video we took with this setup this weekend at the former Alameda naval air station near Oakland. This is the south end of the runway and is the base of the Hornet Squadron R/C group (you can see other fliers lined up on the flight line). It’s also a possible location for our proposed Aerial Robotics Contest.
We’re the group of three (me and my two oldest kids) on the flightline that you can see at the end and that’s my eldest recovering the plane.
Afterwards, we went and toured the nearby USS Hornet aircraft carrier, which was awesome (it fought in WWII and recovered Apollo 11 and 12).
You can have sleepovers on it!