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What is your favorite camera plane?

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Now that the forum has a search function I figured it would be a good idea to consolidate ideas for camera planes. I'll even add some keywords to help people find the thread :)

best camera plane best aerial video platform best camera platform favorite airplane favorite camera plane favorite aerial video platform good aerial platform good video platform stable airplane stable video platform stable platform

Ok, now that the search engine has been seeded, here are my favorites:

Wingo and Soarstar:

- functionally identical planes with very good payload capacity in a small foam aircraft.

- Pusher prop leaves plenty of real-estate up front for cameras, gps units, or cute little action figures.

- I have personally hefted an 8 ounce camera in the nose of my Wingo, and while it was a dog, it flew.

-If you go with the Wingo, DEFINITELY splurge for the geared motor. The Soarstar comes with a geared motor. Speaking of which, I popped open the gearbox to grease it, and discovered a helical cut metal pinion and gear. Very impressive, and I'm sure this contributes to how quiet it is.

Aspire sailplane with electric motor:

- This plane has such light wing-loading that I have a lot of payload to work with before the plane gets too heavy to fly, or the wing-loading necessitates unreasonably high flying speeds.

- Without flaps or crow capability the Aspire takes more space on average to get back on the ground than most of my other planes.

- The larger airframe tends to soak up more of the vibration from my electric motor, so pictures with motor on are not a problem.

- The motor is in the nose, so I can't get a clear forward facing shot.

GWS Slowstick

- The ultimate small field flier. Hand launch and spiral it up in the space of a baseball infield. Land it the same way.

- At certain throttle settings, it wobbles like an out of balance washing machine. I think I need to balance the prop and or move the camera to a different place on the airframe. Definitely my most fickle airplane to try to shoot pictures or video from.

- Very inexpensive way to get started, since the stock plane (300 version) will carry an Aiptek still camera with no problem.

Ok, those are my favorites along with my reasons... what are yours?

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Good thread!

I guess we should point out that the Soarstar, Wingo, and Slowstick are small electric "park flyers." Mostly made of foam plastic and other lightweight materials. Build time is just a couple of hours. Most of the R/C hobby shops carry these models.

Soarstar / Wingo / Poppy Comments

I really like the Soarstar. When hauling stuff, the geared motor is an advantage over the Wingo's direct drive. And there is plenty of trunk space in it to hold all the electronic goodies. I've put 9 ounces of gear into mine and it still flies fine (but is a bit porky). I recommend an 8-cell KR-1100AAU pack in the model. BTW, the Poppy is another Wingo/Soarstar Clone.

SlowStick Comments

The GWS SlowStick is very low cost, but I do not enjoy flying mine when there is any wind. Sadly, this model spends most of the time in the hangar. It has such a strong following that I must admit that I feel badly that I do not like it better. I hear that putting a brushless motor in it will really help it out (but the $$ is a bit steep for me to do that).

Electrajet Comments

The Electrajet from Horizon is NOT a good camera ship. Although it uses the same power system as the Soarstar, it is too underpowered and has a limited payload (a couple of ounces might be about it). But as a park flyer it really looks good in the air.

General Comments

The thing to keep in mind with digital still cameras is that fast movement will disturb the photo quality. Especially so with CMOS cameras. The electric park flyers work great for the aerial photography application because the motor can be shut off as each photo is taken. Their low stall speeds is very helpful too.

And if you haven't seen the various flavors of the CamMan project, then you should visit the RC-CAM site. They allow you to trigger a digital camera from the R/C Rx.

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I have only one camera plane under my belt, I decided to modify my first and best electric powered glider. The plane is called a Soarer and was a Midwest kit way, way back (not sold anymore). Flies like a dream, thermals well, takes the extra weight of the RC Cam no problem, and is slow (undercambered wing) and stable enough that you can really get the feel of flying in first person view quickly. The lifting stab on it adds efficiency but is tricky in that a perfect (rearward) balance must be made for good flight characteristics, and in higher winds it's best to put the balance point more forward. On calm days, balanced rearward correctly, it literally seems to float.

I have a servo controlled 3 position camera on it, best described by a photo.

If this forum can take the data traffic, I propose others to attach a photo of their favorite RC-Cam plane as well. I would love to see what other members of the forum have created.

B)

post-5-1064640047_thumb.jpg

Edited by rcRob

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I started my project with the Multiplex TwinStar and at the moment I am still flying it. Good lifting power but needs to be hacked to give more room inside, I added an undercart and hung my cameras on the underside but I could have modyfied the nose. I use AXI 2808/20 motors and 2 + 2 LiPo's giving 6.6Ah for a flight time of 30+ min.

post-5-1064647770_thumb.jpg

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Terry,

I like your twinstar. I'm running mine with the stock speed 400's right now, drawing a ridiculous 20 amps. What props are you using? Do you run separate speed controls?

I have a pair of mega 16/15/7's I plan on putting in with 8x6 props.

Let's summarize why the twinstar is a good camera and video plane:

- Good payload capability

- foam plane means you can route out custom locations for your camera and video equipment

- Aileron model makes it a good match for the FMA copilot.

Here are the details of my installation:

http://www.yb2normal.com/uavtwinstar1.html

Regards,

Bill

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Yep, the TwinStar is a great way to start !

I am running 9"x5" slimprops and it cruises about 13A @ 8v = just over 100W.

And that is with the Mustek camera hanging down like an air brake...

Terry

UK

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I agree, a very good thread !

The airframe is important.

Currently, in my first stumbling steps in arial video fotage, I use a very old design trainer from the 60's. If properly trimmed, it flyes perfectly stable and it can in fact be flown without control (free flight). It can carry a payload of 500 grams without much difference in flying characteristics.

It is a Graupner Taxi (I).

However, It is not perfectly suited for my personal requirements, so I will soon start building a new airframe.

I will build a Fi-156 Storch semi-scale model in 1:6 or maybe 1:5 scale, and use it not only for video-flying, but as a sport flying model as well.

Best regards,

Bosse

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You might wonder why I do not build a pusher instead. Well, it is all compromise. I require a scale model, STOL performance and some interesting historic records, as well as suitablility as arial fotage airframe.

Not to mention I got a real Fi-156 only 2-3 km's away and I have free access to it every day :P

Best Regards,

Bosse

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I know a few of you folks will recognize from other "groups" but I am now very seriously moving into aerial photography and wireless video using my ZagNutz design. A flying wing, when properly setup makes a wonderful platform for vid/dig photography. The wing allows you to embed all your sensitive gear in a nice safe foam pod that holds up quite will in all sorts of "unscheduled landings". Not to mention they're cheap! You can see what we've done at ZagNutz

CTF

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Terry,

How have you handled the powersupply for the two brushless motors? Two regulators or two motors in parallel? regulators near the motors or in the fuselage? Please can you give more info on the actual set-up?

I have a MPX moviestar and want to change to two brushless motors but I am told that the powercables should be kept as short as possible and that the electronics should be near the motors.

Delcam from the Netherlannds.

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Hi

Sorry for the slow reply but I have been working away.

I am using 2 speed controllers close to the battery with long leads to the motors. It need to be this way to save the controllers over heating. I am also using the BEC's in parrallel but 1 would do as it only needs to drop 8v to 5v.

Terry

UK

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Can someone explain the physics behind why longer motor leads are better than longer battery leads on these brushless motors.

I am getting ready to install brushless motors in my UAV Twinstar and was hoping to take advantage of the battery wires already buried in the wing, and plant the speed controllers behind each motor.

Regards,

Bill

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You are thinking as I did Bill, it would be nice that way.

The problem is that the high current pulses to the motor cause the voltage to the controller to drop for a fraction of a second each time. This stops the FETS switching cleanly if you have a long batt lead. A solution my be to add a large capacitor to the controller to limit the voltage drop but you would need to test this to find the value needed ( I think it will be big ) so I did it the easy way !

Terry

UK

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For sure you could use it but its not ideal in my opinion.

Scale planes are not designed to carry a payload. It would probably be hard to put all the bits where you want them and it will fly fast and need lots of space. It all depends what you want from it, the motor in the nose would put me off as I like my camera to be able to point that way without looking through the prop.

Start by puting all the bit you want to carry together and weigh them, this will give you an idea of the size of plane you need. From this you can work out the wing loading and will give you an indication of expected speed, eg you want a faster plane to reach long range targets as you dont want to spend all day getting there !

We all have different requirments for our planes so what is good for you may not be good for me.

Terry

UK

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