in X-Geek

Floating An Idea

I’ve got a neighbor who is always out flying a remote control plane. He’s got a glider as well as a motorized one. The planes don’t disturb anyone and are in fact really fun to watch, especially when he’s doing acrobatic maneuvers.

Another neighbor runs an aerial photography company. He’s got over a thousand hours logged above Raleigh, taking photographs for real estate and law firms. His photo collection numbers in the tens of thousands.

One fun project I’ve been mulling over involves a remote control aircraft – perhaps with more “remote” than “control.” I’ve seen these balloons for sale from Edmund Scientifics (a fantastic company, by the way). I’ve also seen 2.4Ghz cameras for sale at The Home Despot for a hundred bucks. Wouldn’t it be fun to launch a camera to see what can be seen?

There are lots of similar, interesting projects out there already, so a lot of the way has been paved. The cost would be minimal – especially if care is taken to safely recover the payload.

I have meterologist friends who can provide information on the winds aloft. I’ve got plenty of geeky friends who can help. So, come on! Who’s with me here? Who wants to launch a camera with me? Let’s put something together for a summertime launch!

  1. Yeah, rockets are neat, but their flights are short and not as high as balloons.

    What I would like to branch into is airships – putting a PC on a blimp and driving it around. That may or may not be as technically challenging as a balloon. The ability to control the flight is certainly appealing.

  2. Links to similar projects. Thanks, Robert!

    High Altitude Slug project – this is what I was going to send up: a Linksys NSLU2. Add a USB hub and then I can attach a USB temperature/baromoeter sensor, USB GPS, USB CF adapter for storage/logging and USB controller for my digital camera.

    Here’s the Pegasus Project, where a hacker built his payload around a Nokia mobile phone. (If you’re going to go to the trouble of launching something into the stratosphere, at least include a decent camera!)

  3. I just saw this as linked from your FlyCamOne2 post.

    What about rockets launched from balloons? Don’t know how you’d go about tracking the rockets (the telemetry would be a bit of a pain), but it’s a thought.

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