GoPro has taken adventures to an all new level with the availability and size of their video cameras. The amazing assortment of mounts makes it easy to find the right mount for any adventure you want to take one on. http://gopro.com/
After getting my GoPro 3+ Silver edition, it took me a bit to figure out how to mount one in an airplane. The first time I used it was with friends in a Piper Archer. I was flying along as a passenger and not in the front seat, so that gave me a great opportunity to look at mounting options. I have the camera linked through the WiFi on my iPhone and I’ve downloaded the GoPro App to use with it. http://shop.gopro.com/softwareandapp I can see the view from the camera in order to get the best idea of what the video is going to look like once I upload it. This is a great feature since I don’t have the LCD accessory for my GoPro.
Some things I’ve learned about using the GoPro:
- Work with your mounting hardware before you try to use it the first time. There are so many ways to mount the camera and it takes some time to put the pieces together the way you want them. Trying to make it point in the direction you want it to look can take a few tries of taking nuts and bolts apart and putting them back together. Being a student pilot, I don’t want to waste my instructors time messing around with the mounting gear, so getting a chance to practice in another plane when I wasn’t flying was exceptionally helpful. It saved a ton of time when I used it the first time for my XC flight.
- Buy an extra battery because they can use up battery life quickly. On my first XC flight, I changed batteries at the destination airport so that I knew the battery would last for the full return flight. I saw that the battery was getting low after our first stop and I didn’t want to miss anything .
- Get a mic adapter cable for audio. There are lots of options out there for audio cables. I bought the GoPro Hero 3 audio recording cable from www.crazypilot.com and I love how easy it connects with my headset. The cable is plenty long and didn’t interfere with me flying. I also tested it out when I flew with friends and sat in the back seat. It captured everything perfectly. I was also moving around a good bit taking photos from both sides of the plane and there were no audio issues or scratchiness that I noticed in the video afterwards.
- Clean the windows before leaving! Yes, I’m always good about cleaning the front window that I look out, but I didn’t check the side window where I had the camera mounted and so there’s a nice dirty streak down it when the sun glares off that side. It’s disappointing but I tend to learn as I go sometimes and I’ll definitely clean the window my camera is looking out of next time.
- Mount it, set it, turn it on and you’re done. I love that it’s hands-off when you’re busy flying. It keeps you from being distracted and keeps you safe when you need to be focused on the important stuff, like flying the plane.
I won’t go into the software editing for the video at this point. I’ll say that I have a heightened awareness of how much time and effort it takes to edit a video now.
Below is some footage of my first cross country flight I made a few weeks ago. It was crazy windy that day with 35kt winds at 4500 feet. You can tell from the landing at TTA, we had a good crosswind and it took a bit to get the Cessna to settle on the runway. You can see Charlotte Motor Speedway to my left on the return landing at JQF, my home airport.
This is the first time I’ve edited a video, while it’s not too difficult, it’s extremely time consuming. The window was dirty and there’s some glare that’s distracting at times but like I said, it’s my first attempt. I added music so you don’t haven’t to listen to me and I speeded it up so as not to bore you too much. I think it’s a nice feature in editing.
I love using the GoPro for flying and I can’t wait to do some more filming of my future flights. Thanks for checking it out.