My aerial photography project consists of an Multiplex Easy Star radio controlled airplane which is equipped with a GoPro HD camera. The plane is controlled with a standard 72Mhz Futaba radio and the video from the GoPro is relayed to the ground via a 900Mhz transmitter and receiver. I’ve successfully tested the control and video link, using a directional patch antenna, up to a distance of about a mile.
The Easy Star uses a Permax 400 electric motor that is powered by a 2100 mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer battery that gives about a 30-45 minute flight time. In order to reduce potential noise in the video link, the 900mAh video transmitter is powered by a separate 450 mAh that provides about 30 minutes of transmitting power. The video receiver is also powered by a 450 mAh with about the same operating time. The GoPro records HD video to a SD card onboard the plane while simultaneously outputting a VGA signal to the video transmitter. I can fly the plane from the first person point of view using a pair of FatShark video glasses.
Overlayed on the transmitted video is an artificial horizon and Heads Up Display provided by an Eagle Tree Data Logger and the On Screen Display board. The Eagle Tree system also incorporates an onboard GPS unit and accelerometer that allows the plane to auto level and overlay distance and bearing information. The combination of the GPS and accelerometer also allow the plan to be flown autonomously in a “return to home” mode in case the control or video link is lost. The Eagle Tree computer is an incredibly sophisticated system for it’s cost/size.
You can check out some photos of the setup below as well as videos from a few of my flights. The whole setup has turned out to a lot of fun to build and tinker with and flying it has really been a joy.Equipement Photos
Joshua Tree National Park
Crissy Field, San Francisco, Ca
Arastradara Ragional Park Equipment List
Multiplex Easy Star
Permax 400 electric motor
72Mhz 6EXAS Futaba transmitter
72Mhz R1456 Futaba reciever
900Mhz video transmitter
900Mhz video receiver
GoPro HD Helmet Camera
FatShark video goggles
Eagle Tree data logger
Eagle Tree OSD board
Eagle Tree Gardian stabilization board
Eagle Tree GPS module
2100 mAh lithium-Ion polymer battery
2 x 450 mAh lithium-Ion polymer battery