I have to admit that I snorted and guffawed when I first saw your suggestion
of using a kite or helium balloon. However, now that I think of it, the
balloon needs absolutely zero pilot skill to control and cannot be "shot
down" via RF interference.
I don't care much for the kite idea because it depends on wind, blowing at a
given speed and probably from a favorable position. It also requires some
The helium balloon may be perfect for some situations. The camera module
will need to be gyro stabilized, but that is doable, low tech and should be
You've proved your justification for your Doctorate, friend Marty.
The gang who sent me to Fiji and New Zealand in 2003 to look
for the bones of a person who died on Gardner Island before
1940 used Kite Aerial Photography with some success on their
2007 expedition to Gardner (now Nikumaroro). I've seen
the results, but I can't find any photos on the group's
It sounded crazy to me, too--but then I googled it
and found a few hits. People do strange and wonderful
Yes. There's no free lunch with any of these approaches.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ed!
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One thing with helium balloons; I used an 80" weather baloon (tethered) to
launch wire antennas for amateur radio events. It works well as long as
their's no wind. I tied a Sony Hi8 camcorder to a couple of balloons later
on. I needed more than one balloon to carry the load. Problem with the wind
was that I added balloons for the heavier load, and the multiple balloons
created more wind drag. It was still a fun project.
On Youtube...there are tons of photos taken with cameras affixed to the
"Super Cub". The Super cub is a well thought of trainer with electric power.
How high; what distance; longevity etc. I do not know about.
On www.RCGROUPS.com and, I believe, on www.rcuniverse.com there are
beginner's groups that ONLY fly the Super Cub. At a $160.00 list price and
whatever additional amount the camera would cost, one could get into aerial
photography on the cheap.
Take a look.
I have not successfully flown the Super Cub myself (though I've tried ... I
am a klutz) but hundreds of "pilots" are probably not all wrong...regards,
Some of my photos can be seen at
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