Eyespy - my Eye in the Sky!
I have been interested in photography for a long time and as a
geologist have used airphotos extensively in mineral exploration.
Often, we require air photography at a scale which is not available
from commercial sources. In the past, automatic advancing film
cameras have been too cumbersome and heavy for practical air
With the exploding development of digital cameras, both in
weight reduction and increasing image resolution, it is not difficult
to produce a model weighing less than a couple of pounds, capable of
obtaining professional quality aerial photographs at a fraction of the
cost of photography from full size aircraft. While, not a
substitute for full size aircraft photography, there are instances
which require rapid mobilization or operation in restricted areas,
which can be better handled by a well operated model borne camera
The Eyespy has been developed as a
lightweight workable airphoto system with commercial potential, capable
of acquiring high quality airphotos to suit many needs.
The model has been developed over the past three years and so
far six models have been built and extensively flown. in a wide range
of weather conditions ( as low as -22 deg C). Minor modifications have
been incorporated to strengthen the structure and improve
pod is a horizontal crutch on a carbon boom which supports moulded
glass and kevlar shells. This gives good internal space for
The "Taco Shell" fibreglass construction is not as
complex as it apppears. Glass cloth is laid up as the "meat" in a
flat acetate/glass/acetate sandwich. the sandwich is then wrapped
around the balsa fuselage and taped in place. When the moulding is
cured, the tape and moulding is removed. The acetate is removed and the
glass shell is trimmed and glued on the fuselage frame. The tail
boom is a carbon golf club shaft.
The Front pod end of the fuselage
is currently being updated to mount the camera on a carbon sleeve which
slides over the main carbon boom. This allows the camera to be
rotated in a vertical axis to get shots at any angle from horizontal to
vertical. The resultant Pod structure is simplified and is much
High Wing Pusher
Model weight (without camera) 35
ozs. (10 oz/sq ft)
(with 8 ounce camera) 43 ozs (12 oz/sq.
Camera fitting (1) 12 deg or 30 deg.
downward on left side
(2) vertically downwards
(3) Facing forward in nose
Motor Axi 2808/24,
10x5 APC Electric prop
Batteries: 8 to 10 cell KAN 1100
NiMH , or 2100 3s Thunder Power
Li-Poly (also have used 3s 3100 Hecell lipoly- good for almost one hour)
Wing section: Eppler 214
with reduced undercamber at rear
end. This is a wide speed range section with excellent stall
Will fly very slowly and is
exceptionally stable with hands off
It will climb out at 1250 ft/min when
required. (climb rate checked
with Lo-Lo Altitude Logger)
Balsa, built up with basswood top and bottom spars with
balsa web. Bolt on wing.
Fuselage horizontal crutch with lite-ply formers. Kevlar/fibreglass
lower shell and fibreglass upper shells and canopy. These are moulded
as wrap-arounds of an acetate/ glass/ acetate sandwich, made up flat
and rolled around the crutch, allowed to cure and the acetate
removed. The tail boom is a carbon golf shaft.
Glass Cloth laid up between acetate sheet ready for wrapping around
structure. Felt pen markings are on outside of acetate and do not
remain on glass. Yellow pigment used on glass layup.
Finished mouldings ready for installation.
Eyespy 1/5 full
size 3-View drawings in PDF
First Eyespy Prototype (Shorter tip panels) cruises past.
Removable side panel with hole hides camera.
This model was lost in cloud at 1500'. (only casualty to date).
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