Not only is the GoPro a cool thing to have, but it can be a very helpful asset for any pilot. You can (and should) record your landings, takeoffs, maneuvers, and radio calls, so that you can review your decisions post-flight… It’s really helpful.

GoPro Mounting

GoPro Mounting Location

Here are some reasons why you should consider using a GoPro:

  • You can review your flights and procedures, to double check what you did
  • See what errors you made
  • See what you did right, and keep doing it!
  • The GoPro can be plugged into the radio system of the aircraft
  • I began to notice mistakes that I made early on in my training, in particular, during landings. For me, I noticed that on a few landings, I was coming in slightly too fast which meant that by the time I began to flare, ground effect came into play and I would float pretty far down the runway before touching down. Floating on landing is a common mistake, and it’s especially easy to see when you’re reviewing it on film.

Mounting a GoPro in different areas of the plane can be challenging sometimes. It doesn’t always work out, which is OK! It’s a lot of trial and error.

Below are photo examples of mounting a GoPro to the interior of a plane. There are also videos included, which demonstrate good angles for GoPro use.

The GoPro can also be safely mounted on the exterior of the plane using a suction cup mount. Other, more permanent screw-in mounts are available for sale as well. Make sure that you’re mounting onto a smooth, shiny material (not to metal covered with rough or dried-out paint).  Wipe down the area with a cloth beforehand to make sure it’s clean prior to mounting.

My favorite location on the exterior of the airplane is on the wingtip, looking back towards the fuselage. There’s very little camera vibration at this angle, so your footage will turn out great. You can also try mounting it at different locations, including the elevator. Although, from my experience, the elevator mounting has substantial camera shaking due to prop-wash.

My single biggest tip for the exterior mounting of your GoPro is to make sure you’re not using the suction cup’s arm attachment. With the arm vibrating in the wind, your footage will be unusable. Instead, make sure you have the short mount attached to the suction cup so it looks like this:

gopro-suction-cup-mount-none

Flight Training:

Personally, I’ve found it to be a big asset having the ability to use the GoPro camera in flight, for training purposes (and documentation). Below are some videos from my training and private pilot flying:

Accessories:

Over time, I’ve collected quite a few accessories for the GoPro. I hope that this list will get you started on finding the perfect tools for your new GoPro!

1.) Audio adapter: To record aircraft audio, I purchased an adapter from “The Crazed Pilot:” Click Here (*note: you’ll need a GoPro skeleton case to use this)

2.) Mounting devices: a suction cup is a must-have, but you’ll also enjoy a headstrap for 1st person viewing

The above accessories are shown below:

3.) Prop filters from “N’FlightCam:” these help eliminate weird propellor distortion in filming.

4.) High Capacity Micro SD Card: so you don’t run out of memory while recording a flight.

ASDMC-364_main2

5.) GoPro Battery Pack: for extended battery life.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

About The Author

Swayne Martin

I started this website to show you why you'll love becoming a pilot. As an owner and editor of Boldmethod Pilot Training, I've spent years working with pilots all around the world to make their dreams a reality. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

46 Responses

  1. Karlene Petitt

    Swayne, this is an excellent tool! I love the videos. I’m wondering if this would be okay to put on a commercial flight in the cockpit. Hmmm…an interesting thought.

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin

      I wrote a little bit about that in the post:

      “After the initial climb, I noticed that the man on the aisle had fallen asleep, so I decided it would be a good time to try a GoPro video. The camera mounted on the plane window obviously looks pretty strange and out of place. Because of this, the flight attendants kindly asked what it was. After I explained what I was trying to do, they were fine with it and complimented me on the idea. I’m sure it could go either way… I got lucky this time! :)”

      Thanks for the comment!
      -Swayne

      Reply
  2. Corbin Boucher

    I notice that you and I have the same plan for our future. I too want to become a professional pilot (hopefully in the Air Force) I bought a GoPro Hero Black edition so I could film my flights and my first solo and I also just recently bought a cord that allows me to record cockpit audio. http://www.mypilotstore.com/MyPilotStore/sep/9311
    Question for you: What mounting positions and angles have you found to be the most satisfying with your goPro?

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin

      Thanks for the comment Corbin! I really enjoy having the camera behind me, to the right, facing forward (if I’m flying solo in a prop plane)…. it gives the best angle.

      See this video to see what I’m talking about:

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Nice video’s Martin! Especially like the solo ones. I also have a GoPro and interested to try it out on one of my next flights…. How many seconds do you take a shot in the timelapse mode and did your battery manage it for the whole flight? All the best and good luck with your training! Olivier

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin

      Hello Olivier,

      I actually had the GoPro camera recording video like normal. I then uploaded all of the footage into iMovie and used their “footage speed up” option to make it a timelapse video.

      Thanks for the comment!
      -Swayne

      Reply
  4. L. Yeah

    Hi Swayne, great blog!! I just started my PPL and passed the knowledge test with a 93% following your study guide!! I’m thinking about buying a GoPro too. Just one question tho… does the mount come with the camera? If not, can you recommend a mount device that works with the GoPro Hero 3? Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin

      Thanks for the comment! Glad I could help you out, and congratulations!

      The mounts do not come with the camera.. Just search “GoPro Suction Cup Mount” and you’ll find plenty that work. I also think the headstrap mount is pretty cool too.

      Thanks again,
      -Swayne

      Reply
    • L. Yeah

      Thank you! Your blog is really inspirational!! I’m taking a gap year now. Flying is more like a hobby to me, I found it exciting but challenging. I never thought I would learn to fly one day, not even a year ago. I’m training full time now, hoping to finish it asap. I have some training-related questions. I’m wondering if I can send you an email or sth? Thx in adv.

      Reply
  5. nishant sarid

    Hey Man!
    Amazing work and good flying skills! I love the passion!
    I also recently purchased a hero 3 + black edition and am soon gonna fly from AUS to IND
    I wanted to know the settings you used on the US Airways Time lapse you made! And also, would you recommend using superview? Please help me out with the resolution/Picture Per Second Etc. I dont want to mess up the timelapse by using bad settings! I really admired yours thats why Im just curious!

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin

      Hello,

      Sorry… I do not remember the exact setting but do remember I was doing a photo every 2-4 seconds or something like that.

      Reply
  6. caleb krueger

    Hey Mr. Martin,

    I was wondering if you could tell me a little about your audio setup. Basically what cables/accessories did you have ti get in order to make your videos with sound. Also where did you get your cables/accessories?

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  7. Swayne Martin

    I use a GoPro skeleton case which allows me to plus in an audio adapter directly into the camera during flight. I bought mine from “The Crazed Pilot.” You plug it into your camera and headset.

    Reply
  8. Sarah

    Very cool! I’m a student pilot now and using GoPro to film my progress. I’m having some trouble getting the suction cup mount to work on the windows…any ideas/hints? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Pam Steadman

    Great website! My son is currently in an aviation program and will do his solo flight soon. I wanted to get him a go pro but have no idea which one. What do you recommend?

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin
      Swayne Martin

      That’s a great gift idea! I’d suggest (if the money isn’t too much) to buy the GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition. That’s the most expensive and most high quality of all GoPro cameras. It’ll be something which gives great footage and lasts really forever. Also, the GoPro Hero 3+ Black is really a great choice – It too has great footage capability and costs less than the 4.

      Reply
  10. Ricky Beauchamp

    Do you use just a suction cup mount for exterior shots? I haven’t decided if I trust it enough to withstand the airflow for extended periods of time.

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin
      Swayne Martin

      Yep, I’ve only been using suction cup mounts for exterior footage. I was nervous about it too until I mounted it outside a Cirrus going 170 knots.

      Reply
  11. Mauricio

    Hi Swayne! Interesting post! I should get that audio adapter asap, I always wondered how to record audio for my videos.
    About the suction cup, I have a Delkin fat gecko, and it only dropped once. Luckily I have my camera strapped to the plane so no loss. From now on, I will check that the surface gets thoroughly cleaned before mounting the camera

    Regards!

    Reply
  12. Mauricio

    Hi Swayne! Interesting post! I should get that audio adapter asap, I always wondered how to record audio for my videos.
    About the suction cup, I have a Delkin fat gecko, and it only dropped once. Luckily I have my camera strapped to the plane so no loss. From now on, I will check that the surface gets thoroughly cleaned before mounting the camera

    Regards from Argentina!

    Reply
  13. Ozan

    Hello man,

    Awesome tutorial and i enjoyed while reading, im also a student pilot, im gonna finish flying solo for a looooooooong time. So i would like to record my final solo flight in VXC. I would like to ask your video/picture settings like ISO,protune etc. for the sunny or cloudy flights.

    Thanks in advance,
    Safe flights.

    Reply
  14. Sebastien

    Hi there!
    I must say your post is really fantastic!!
    I’m going for my CPL in a month or so in Canada, and I want to film a lot of it and shoot some great pictures. My concern is this: Does the suction cup has enough strenght to resist air flow? I’m a bit worried to loose it in flight… It should be better to stick it under the airfoil (over pressure) rather than on the top? What do you think?

    Thanks in advance for your reply and keep up 😉

    A french pilot.

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin
      Swayne Martin

      Glad you liked the post! I filmed for hundreds of hours with GoPros mounted with suction cups on the exterior of the airplane without problems. You need a clean, glossy surface to mount it too. If the paint feels old or cracked, it won’t hold suction. I did lose my first GoPro off the outside of the airplane a few months ago – So it is possible. I didn’t regret losing it because I had gotten so much good footage leading up to that moment.

      Reply
      • shawn

        I’ve had good luck with using a suction cup mount below the wing. I also used a tether as a backup, attaching that to the tie-down ring near the spar, but the suction cup has not yet failed 🙂

  15. Barrie MacLeod

    Hello Swayne !

    Love your videos and I’m especially jealous of the Cirrus … I’m a photographer {using three Hero 4’s} and a pilot and have been experimenting a lot of GoPro footage and have come across numerous problems which you don’t seem to mention above but that you seem to have solved in this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU8xwVlgAH4

    I had to work really hard in getting extended videos in 4K mode + Protune. The bottom line is that the GoPro 4 will over heat and stop working. I tried using the GoPro Back Packs which made things worse in terms of heat. If the unit was outside the plan then there was no problem but they would overheat and stop 🙁 Then I ran into timing problems for longer flights and went from 32 GB to 64GB and now using Samsung’s 128GB SD cards. I then ran out of battery so I’ve now switched to Brunton’s All Day 2.0 … which are great but again overheating… To make a long story short and after many, many tests I now achieved 4 hours and 45 minutes of 4K video with Protune ! and without over-heating. The reason I achieved this was watching your video link above. I noticed that you are using USB cables going to some power source and thus eliminating the direct heating of the GoPro itself. This works great ! My current setup {inside the cabin} is one Brunton All Day 2.0 battery per GoPro camera with it’s own individual USB cable. The other secret {as you mention} is using a skeleton casing. Better still though {more heat dissipation} is a simple and cheaper “frame mount unit”. I use a lens protector with this setup though.

    So , I’m guessing your setup in the above video is due to over heating ? and you may also have a BIG power supply for all camera’s ? I’m unable to see the exact setup but you seem to have one cable feeding all camera’s ? If you could explain your whole setup above 🙂 For my outside camera I simply use the Brunton directly on the back of the GoPro. Cooling is fine obviously outside. For voice recording I’m using Lightspeeds “FlightLink” app making that part very easy … I’m still working on a method to line up the voice with the outside camera because I can’t sync them together with sound/motion … ? {any ideas here ?} Anyhow I thought I should address the problem of over-heating and longer video sequences. Please keep those excellent videos coming and any technical advice on your setup ! 🙂
    Cheers !
    Barrie
    {non 4K video}

    Reply
    • Swayne Martin
      Swayne Martin

      Hey Barrie! Great question. For Boldmethod filming, we use Hero 4 cameras set at 1080p 30 or 60 fps. We only use 4K when filming the panel, so that we can crop in on the part of the panel that we want to use in post-editing. To solve the overheating problem, the best solution we found was to use Jackery battery packs (http://www.jackery.com/jackery-giant-plus) with the cameras running off of that battery power. We actually remove any batteries from inside the GoPro, because if the battery is inside, and the camera is plugged into external power, it tends to overheat while the battery is constantly trying to refill itself. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  16. Rai Salhan

    This is my first attempt at using my GoPro HERO4 Black camera with a Nflight Cam GoPro HERO3/4 Aviation Headset Audio Cable. Hope you enjoy my video.

    Reply
  17. Rai Salhan

    This is my first attempt at using my GoPro HERO4 Black camera with a Nflight Cam GoPro HERO3/4 Aviation Headset Audio Cable. I used the free Dashware software to create this video by merging the Telemetry data from my SkyDemon VFR flight-planning and navigation software. Hope you enjoy my video. (NOTE: I used my iPad GPS so the Telemetry data may be delayed and not always accurate…)

    Reply
  18. Roman Blagodarov

    Hi there,

    I would like to know if you ever had problem with gopro suction cup mount?
    I’m a bit afraid of differences in pressure when I go above 6/7000, I’m afraid it will loose suction!
    any experience with it?

    Thanks and regards from Germany

    Reply
  19. shawn

    Hi Swayne! I do love the variety of videos you post (e.g. the Carbon Cub flight over the Gulf coast!).

    Do you have any tips for mounting the suction cup internally in such a way that avoids vibration? e.g. mounting location, length of arm, orientation?

    I’m having difficulty with vibrations when mounting in several different spots on the plexiglas of my C-150. Even close to the edge of the glass, where I thought it’d be less. Thanks!

    Reply

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