What not to do, or OMG!!!!

We live   in a time period where people do things, record them, then post them for the   entire worldwide online community to view. Do a quick search on YouTube and you   see that people have already been attaching cameras to the outside of aircraft.   Unfortunately they have been taking large risks with their lives, the lives of   people on the ground, and violating numerous FARs in the process.

Part of   what got us going on this project was to provide people with a safe, legal way   to create high quality videos, where no one’s life is at risk, and no one has to   worry about losing their right to fly. We want video to be as commonplace and   useful as a GPS.

What   are the potential risks?

1)Camera system could impact aerodynamics of the   aircraft, potentially making it unstable

We all   have a lot of faith in our aircraft: for many of us they have taken us through   turbulence, ice and our own awkward maneuvers for years. We know them to be   strong and stable, and what can the harm be to mounting a small thing out there   where it will make a great picture? One thing I have learned from this project   is that every inch of a certified aircraft has been thought over, examined, and   refined, and making a change without formal studies raises your risk level sky   high (pun intended). Don’t believe it? Try reading any of the write-ups of the   NASA Stall/Spin tests conducted in the 70’s and 80’s on light general aviation   aircraft: they found that very minor modifications could turn a docile aircraft   into one prone to unrecoverable flat spins (check out “Stall/Spin Awareness” by   Rich Stowell). A seemingly random disruption of airflow can have fatal   consequences, and great jeopardy comes from disrupting the airflow over a   control surface, or even worse, mounting a camera on a balanced control surface,   either of which can invite flutter. Remember the A300 whose rudder came apart   from flutter shortly in 2001? Do you want to risk that?

2)Camera system could depart aircraft and damage   aircraft

What if   you mount a camera using something like a suction cup, and it comes loose in   flight and jams an elevator or rudder?

3)Camera system could fall off aircraft and hurt   someone on the ground

What if   you fly over a populated area with a tenuously mounted camera and it comes loose   and hits someone? Small and light as they might be, at terminal velocity you are   putting someone’s life in danger.

4)Violation of the FARs could result in enforcement   actions

Is any   of this worth losing your pilot’s certificate over? I didn’t want to lose mine,   but I did want to shoot video, hence this project!

Think I   am making any of this up? Do a web search, or look on YouTube. Here’s the kind   of thing you will find, including people showing off their tail numbers while   flying over metropolitan areas with cameras mounted outside on a suction cup,   and one person taking off into 0/0 conditions with a camera mounted on a   balanced rudder: if they got airborne and then encountered flutter, what would   their options be?


Internet post on videographer’s site:

“…there   are times and mounting conditions that require custom designed mounts or just   plain ‘ol duct tape. A lot of the time I will carve a piece of foam to match the   surface contour, notch out a spot for the camera, then tape the whole thing   neatly. I have done this on the outside of jets and aerobatic planes hundreds of   times.”

Quote   from Amazon.com:

“I used   this GoPro base to film and take pictures with my GoPro camera while flying my   airplane, it is great, and the base attached very strong to the under wing of my   aircraft. Great product!”

Suction   cups used on YouTube.com: