Have you or someone you know attempted to record a flying lesson with a hand-held video camera? Although cameras are much smaller than they used to be, no matter how you do it, invariably the video is motion-sickness-inducing shaky and the audio is pretty much worthless because you can’t hear the instructor or the student over the sound of the engine, and all the conversations are one-sided because you cannot hear transmissions from air traffic control. In short, it’s a wasted effort from a educational standpoint.
The folks at the Light Sport Group based in Orlando, Fla., realized that a visual recording of a flight lesson would be valuable to both student and instructor if only there was a better way to capture the video and all the audio. But a method for doing that had to be invented.
“It’s called the Flight Ops Cam,” explains Chris Esposito, vice president of the Light Sport Group. “We have a high definition video camera that is patched directly into the headset so we can capture crystal clear audio without engine noise. We have proprietary circuit that allows us to basically get rid of the internal mic, and allows us to listen to and record the intercom and air traffic control.”
The camera is about the size of a small flashlight and is completely self-contained, so there are no cables strung around the cockpit. The camera attaches to the inside of the canopy by a vibration-dampening suction cup. Mounting it in this position provides a 135° view that shows the cockpit instruments and outside the aircraft, almost like the flight is being observed and recorded by a third person.
The flight can be downloaded to a computer or DVD, allowing the student to replay the lesson and study it to learn from his or her mistakes without having to worry about controlling the plane or missing radio calls.
“It’s not just flight schools who can benefit from the FlightOps Cam,” said Esposito. “It is also a good tool for anyone who is doing test flights or wants to do a demonstration flight. The audio is crystal clear and the camera has good stabilization to minimize shakiness.”
The cost of the system starts at about $700.
For more information: LightSportGroup.com.