Ritewing Zephyr build and flight footage

That’s a camera perched atop this aircraft’s wing. [Trappy] built the video system into his Ritewing Zephyr and his test flights in the Austrian Alps make for some breathtaking video. The foam wing is pretty easy to work with and the tool of choice here is a hot knife to cut out cavities for the electronics. The total build time came in between ten and twelve hours, but this isn’t the first time [Trappy] has worked with this model. We’re not sure what setup he’s using for control, we’d guess something head-mounted, but do take a look from the cockpit after the break. You’ll like what you see.

[Trappy] informed Hackaday that he’s planning some altitude and distance testing next weekend. The goal is to reach 15,000 feet and a range of 12 miles.

Comments

  1. Grovenstien says:

    EPIC!

  2. David S says:

    SO COOL! I WANT TO BUILD ONE SO BADLY!

  3. Mythgarr says:

    With a camera on each wing the resulting 3d video would be pretty trippy. Awesome project!

  4. vince086 says:

    WOW, 12 miles !? I would love to see his set up.

  5. Hirudinea says:

    I was going to suggest that he put a clear tear drop canopy over the camera but it seems to fly more than well enough. I just have two questions, can you put an infrared camera in it for night flights and can I borrow the plane for a few flights over Area 51? ;)

  6. Awe Lucid says:

    awesome! i bet a well designed camera stabilizer for the mount could be made via a spring box, gyroscope, or floating suspension system. This could make the image movement smoother and easier to watch at times when the plane is turning. Great project and video!

  7. BeatJunkie says:

    … fantastic. want.

  8. Colecago says:

    If you put a camera stabilizer on it you would have trouble flying it as you wouldn’t get the correct responses on the video from movements you do. Maybe if you really need smoother video, maybe have a camera for flying and a camera for recording, but then you will run into weight problems. I actually think its fine just the way it is.

  9. andrew says:

    That video quality is pretty impressive for a wireless connection over 1 km.

    @Mythgarr, I was thinking the same thing. Why have just one wireless HD camera when you can have two??

  10. ferdi says:

    wow thats so nice filming
    i think hy use a sd card for store record film
    transmit it than you dont have so good picter
    nice bild

    i think holywood love this idee too
    its cheaper than a remote chopper
    it look esy to fligh en cheap to bild

  11. kristian says:

    lol at the video title…. genius. (so’s the project)

  12. trappy says:

    Hi guys,

    first of all thanks mike for that excellent write-up!

    and thanks for the praise. glad you enjoyed the video. I feel like I should clear a few things up. there are 2 cameras on board. one is “SD” and transmits down to the pilot who controls the plane through video goggles. the other is a “GoPro HD” helmet camera which records HD footage – and that’s the footage we used to make the video.

    the R/C is an add-on module that transmits over walkie-talkie band and gives incredible range (50-60 miles easily doable) and reliablity (digital frequency hopping link).

    we didn’t stabilize the picture or the plane because that would indeed make it harder to “read the air”. also there is no aim to make any kind of professional video with it, it’s purely about fun and adrenaline.

    there are indeed night cameras (I have a few waiting to be tested here). they aren’t IR but they amplify the light that’s available giving enough picture to fly by night.

    you can see one of my first planes here – the link is about 2 years old. it goes a bit into the ground aspect as well, which I didn’t cover at all in the build-log of the video.

    I’d like to try some 3D at some point, but I’m just a university student at the moment and can’t afford 2 of these cameras. I’ve contacted GoPro already for sponsorship but haven’t heard back, so I guess they weren’t that interested :)

    Cheers,

    trappy

  13. andrew says:

    @trappy,

    Keep up the good work man, that stuff is awesome.

  14. Bobmonkey07 says:

    …i need to get back into model planes…

  15. Jason says:

    This is where we congregate to discuss the fine hobby of First Person View RC flying:

    http://www.rcgroups.com/video-piloting-fpv-rpv-469/

    Come in and have a look! There are flying wings, conventional planes, helicopters, tri+copters, even some cars. The RCGroups forums are a great place to learn about RC in general too, since most of the old modeling magazines have gone under.

  16. wow this is cool :-) i like…

  17. Chris says:

    There’s really no use in 3D on an aircraft. 3D only really works at close range. You’ll notice that when actually flying in an airplane and everything looks close because it only looks as far away as your eye’s infinity. That said, I certainly don’t discourage trying it. I could very well be wrong and it might be amazing. =]

    This project is awesome. I’ve been following a lot of FPV R/C in the past couple of weeks, and if I ever have the money lying around I have to do this. This video was exceptional because it’s HD and everywhere it goes looks beautiful.

  18. chris says:

    the guy in the video not only not stealing the plane but placing it in a safe place… restores your faith in human nature!

  19. Levy says:

    This has promising applications for search and rescue operations where you could have many different vehicles in the air instead of one helicopter.. much less expense I would think. 10 of them scouring the area for individuals. I am sure it would be more cost effective than helo ops.

  20. zacdee316 says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve already thought of this or not, but maybe solar panels embedded in the wings of the plane could extend your battery life. It may be just a stupid idea, but that could save your plane if someone aims for it with their tires.

  21. Punkysfan says:

    Thanks I really enjoyed that video!

  22. Ren says:

    Wow!
    A treadle sewing machine!

  23. That is the coolest thing ever. I also want to make one!

  24. Skynet says:

    As an 8 year member of RCGroups And someone who has been following FPV for a long time I gotta say It just keeps getting better and better. The Gene has really exploded.

    I just don’t see how anyone would be so Nice and Prop the plane up by the fence like that. Not examining it for a phone # or placing it in the Lost and Found of the Local Paper for a reward might have been more charitable though…(If you really wanted to make sure the right person got it back) all is good though, baby bear found it’s mama.

  25. Jim says:

    Trappy- Beautiful, smooth video! Hard to get on a small moving plane. Tell me about your video down-link from the plane, what frequency band and Mfg if possible. I understand that it was for control with video goggles, but it was obviously clean enough to fly the plane.

  26. arjan says:

    @zacdee316 I never calculated it, but I guess that the extra weight of the panels can never be countered by the tiny amount of energy solar panels make in 15 minutes. Solar panels really suck hard in terms of enerysavers… What about wind energy on the plane? There is plenty of that?! haha, sorry, just couldn’t help myself.

    I always wanted to have this… I am very good in flight simulators, but very bad in flying a plane from the ground. it’s the coolest thing next to flying a jet airplane yourself…

  27. dkastl says:

    Sweet, you could use an ion lithium battery with feedback for energy levels to know when the juice is running out.

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