In recent years, the air show industry has seen a lot of progress in the capturing of action shots during live air shows. Many performers have found that they prefer their marketing materials to include shots of their plane performing wonders with a dazzled crowd in the background. Many options are out there to consider; however, when comparing how to best capture air show video and pictures, it is important to consider the effect of mounting a camera anywhere on the aircraft.
When considering where and how to mount cameras, it is important to consider the lessons taught by vortex generators. Vortex generators are aerodynamically designed to alter the airflow over a wing to give an aircraft greater lift. Vortex generators are strategically placed on the leading edge of a wing and can be not much more than a 1 inch tall, 3 inch long piece of sheet metal. If something as small as a vortex generator can have a significant impact on the aerodynamics of an aircraft, what effect might a digital camera strapped to the wingtip have?
It is important to mention that the concern is not that digital cameras are being mounted; they are a great solution for the increase in demand for digital media in the technological age. However, it is important to understand how the camera(s) will affect your aircraft’s flight characteristics. A camera that is secure on the ground may be less inclined to stay put during double digit G-loading. The advice is simple: when you have a camera mounted to your aircraft, take it to altitude and test it out. You will know within a couple minutes if there is a problem. While you are up practicing, it is worth your time to consider what you would do if the camera breaks in your live routine. Plan your outs at altitude.