Camara Mounting

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Jim Hardin
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Camara Mounting

Postby Jim Hardin » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:24 am

Just curious about the trend to mount GoPro's and the likes outside the airplane.

I have heard one pilot complain of his ailerons 'buzzing' after he put a GoPro near the wingtip...

The question is, how does the FAA view these modifications to the airframe?

TimTaylor
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:48 am

Exactly. What if one of these blew off and got stuck in the elevator mechanism?
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rcpilot
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby rcpilot » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:56 am

I've mounted a camera(not a GoPro) to the tie down rings on the wing and tail and it has not caused a problem. One actually did fall off the tail mount. It landed at the airport was found and returned. It was funny watching as the camera spun around and basically unscrewed itself(a little red Loctite has prevented that from happening again).

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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:04 pm

It won't cause a problem until it causes a problem. Then, it might be too late. Personally, I'm not going to hang a camera on an airplane.
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3Dreaming
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby 3Dreaming » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:06 pm

For an experimental just about anything goes.

For standard category if it is a minor alteration, then it is a logbook entry by a mechanic. Anything other than a minor alteration requires FAA approval. The mechanic needs to determine if it is a minor alteration or not, and the FAA may not concur.

For SLSA you would need approval from the manufacturer. Many of the of the cameras you see mounted on anything other than an experimental do not have the proper documentation for the installation.

I think I remember someone having a STC for Cessna aircraft, where they replace an inspection cover that contains a mount.

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MrMorden
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby MrMorden » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:54 am

I have used the GoPro suction cup mount on the underside of the wing, and the side of the vertical stab. Some people are afraid of trusting a suction cup, but the GoPro cup is rated to 150mph+. I have had it on the wing for 8hrs plus with no hint of losing grip. As long as it's a smooth flat surface with no seams or rivets under it, it's not going anywhere. You can tether it to something like a tie-down ring with zip ties if you are worried about it.

A passenger once saw the suction cup mount and asked me if it would fall off. I told her I'd give her $50 if she could pull it off without flipping the lever on it. I didn't have to pay.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
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MrMorden
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby MrMorden » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:56 am

3Dreaming wrote:
For SLSA you would need approval from the manufacturer. Many of the of the cameras you see mounted on anything other than an experimental do not have the proper documentation for the installation.


I don't think that's actually true for a temporary installation, but would be true for a permanent mount.
Andy Walker
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3Dreaming
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby 3Dreaming » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:18 am

MrMorden wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
For SLSA you would need approval from the manufacturer. Many of the of the cameras you see mounted on anything other than an experimental do not have the proper documentation for the installation.


I don't think that's actually true for a temporary installation, but would be true for a permanent mount.


Andy, you are free to think what you want, but ask your self this. Even with a temporary installation are you operating the aircraft in a configuration that is different than what it was delivered from the factory? If the answer is yes, then you need approval. My guess is the FAA would think the answer is "yes".

BTW way in a article published by the FAA, I believe they said suction cup mounts on the exterior of the aircraft would not be approved.

TimTaylor
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby TimTaylor » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:19 am

Suction cups can develop slight leaks with age. For me, it's a risk not worth taking.
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3Dreaming
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby 3Dreaming » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:38 am

I've seen a few cameras mounted before with different types of mounts. The worst I've seen was a Cirrus a few winters ago that stopped in. A couple young guys were flying it building time. They had a Go Pro attached to the rudder counter balance with duct tape. :shock:

rsteele
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby rsteele » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:37 am

Paul Bertorelli over on AvWeb did a video some time back, maybe about a year ago. I'll let folks google it if interested. Other than all the clamps for struts and such, his preferred method was taping the mount (not the camera) to the wing. He didn't use duct tape but something similar but more reliable and easier to remove, if I remember correctly. Done correctly with the right tape, very secure and easy to remove. Done wrong with the wrong tape and bye-bye camera and tape goo left on the wing.

I'll admit I've wondered about the legality of this. I also seem to remember the FAA saying this is a no-no on certified planes.

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FastEddieB
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby FastEddieB » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:41 pm

3Dreaming wrote:I've seen a few cameras mounted before with different types of mounts. The worst I've seen was a Cirrus a few winters ago that stopped in. A couple young guys were flying it building time. They had a Go Pro attached to the rudder counter balance with duct tape. :shock:


I remember that!

Another very "iffy" setup I saw was attached very near the stall warning port. I could easily visualize how, at a high angle of attack, that disruption in airflow could cause one wing to reach its critical angle of attack well before the other. With possibly nasty consequences.

That said, being EXPERIMENTAL has its benefits.

Three mountings I've played with:

Image

Image

Image

Pros and cons to each. My "go to" mount currently is my baseball cap mount:

Image
Fast Eddie B.
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MrMorden
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby MrMorden » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:41 pm

3Dreaming wrote:
MrMorden wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
For SLSA you would need approval from the manufacturer. Many of the of the cameras you see mounted on anything other than an experimental do not have the proper documentation for the installation.


I don't think that's actually true for a temporary installation, but would be true for a permanent mount.


Andy, you are free to think what you want, but ask your self this. Even with a temporary installation are you operating the aircraft in a configuration that is different than what it was delivered from the factory? If the answer is yes, then you need approval. My guess is the FAA would think the answer is "yes".

BTW way in a article published by the FAA, I believe they said suction cup mounts on the exterior of the aircraft would not be approved.


Would you get an LOA for a handheld GPS that you velcroed somewhere in your cockpit? Or a USB charger in the 12V socket? How about that little ADS-B IN box many have on their galreshields? All change the configuration as delivered from the factory. You can get pretty down in the weeds by that definition. I have a sticker of a Flying Monkey on the vertical stab. Requires an LOA? How about the plastic hula girl on my glareshield? In fact, the FAA's interpretation for such things is generally that they cannot be permanently installed, but if they are removable, temporary installations it's okay.

I know bringing up suction cups would cause some heartache here, but a couple of years ago I flew over 3000nm cross country from Georgia to Arizona and back, over a couple of weeks, in highly variable temperatures and altitudes. The only time the suction cup was removed was at night to prevent theft. There were zero issues. It takes 5 seconds to inspect the suction cup each time to make sure it's in good shape, and to wipe the surface it will attach to to remove any debris. Everybody can make their own call here, but I'm comfortable with what I have done.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
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2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

TimTaylor
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby TimTaylor » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:55 pm

I figured Fast Eddie would have his fastened to his colander, on his head.
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3Dreaming
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Re: Camara Mounting

Postby 3Dreaming » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:11 pm

MrMorden wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
MrMorden wrote:
I don't think that's actually true for a temporary installation, but would be true for a permanent mount.


Andy, you are free to think what you want, but ask your self this. Even with a temporary installation are you operating the aircraft in a configuration that is different than what it was delivered from the factory? If the answer is yes, then you need approval. My guess is the FAA would think the answer is "yes".

BTW way in a article published by the FAA, I believe they said suction cup mounts on the exterior of the aircraft would not be approved.


Would you get an LOA for a handheld GPS that you velcroed somewhere in your cockpit? Or a USB charger in the 12V socket? How about that little ADS-B IN box many have on their galreshields? All change the configuration as delivered from the factory. You can get pretty down in the weeds by that definition. I have a sticker of a Flying Monkey on the vertical stab. Requires an LOA? How about the plastic hula girl on my glareshield? In fact, the FAA's interpretation for such things is generally that they cannot be permanently installed, but if they are removable, temporary installations it's okay.

I know bringing up suction cups would cause some heartache here, but a couple of years ago I flew over 3000nm cross country from Georgia to Arizona and back, over a couple of weeks, in highly variable temperatures and altitudes. The only time the suction cup was removed was at night to prevent theft. There were zero issues. It takes 5 seconds to inspect the suction cup each time to make sure it's in good shape, and to wipe the surface it will attach to to remove any debris. Everybody can make their own call here, but I'm comfortable with what I have done.


Andy, this is from the first line of the first post, "Just curious about the trend to mount GoPro's and the likes outside the airplane.".

Adding a camera to the outside of the airplane is essentially changing the shape of the airplane. In my mind this is significantly different than carrying something in the cockpit. You are correct that the FAA is clear about temporary things, but that is in the cockpit. They are also very clear about changes to wings, fuselages, landing gear, and control surfaces. Any change to these are considered a major alteration. Adding a camera even temporarily to any of these would still be a change.

Here is a simple question. What is the force created by the suction mount and camera, and is it within the peel strength limits of the outer layer of carbon fiber on the structure? A peeling load that is created by the camera is not really one that the structure is designed for.


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