Eyespy - my Eye in the Sky!

54" Span Pusher Airphoto Platform
Plans Available
Eyespy Video Halifax July 2006
EYESPY simulator model for FMS


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 photography from models.

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 system.  

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 stability.

The fuselage pod is a horizontal crutch on a carbon boom which supports moulded glass and kevlar shells.  This gives good internal space for  camera equipment.

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 stronger.
Wingspan   54"
Chord         10"
Area           520 sq. ins
High Wing Pusher
Model weight (without camera)  35 ozs. (10 oz/sq ft)
                       (with 8 ounce camera)     43 ozs  (12 oz/sq. ft)
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 characteristics.
Will fly very slowly and is exceptionally stable with hands off capability.
It will climb out at 1250 ft/min when required. (climb rate checked with Lo-Lo Altitude Logger)

Wing construction:
Balsa, built up with  basswood  top and bottom spars with balsa web. Bolt on wing.

Fuselage construction:
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.
Eyespy Mouldings
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.
Eyespy Fuselage Construction1
Finished mouldings ready for installation.

Eyespy 1/5 full size 3-View drawings in PDF

 Eyespy Prototype #1

  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).

Plans Price List
Back to Electrikery Page
Home Page