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There are products available that will overlay flight data into a flight camera’s video stream, but here’s a clever and simple hack to do it on the cheap(er). To provide in-video flight data for a first person view aircraft, just build a mini flight instrument panel and position it in front of the camera.

One of the main problem with FPV is that you can get lost very, very easily. We are not really used to know our environment from a bird’s eye view!

Here is one solution to find your way back home:
The device below includes a GPS receiver and a microcontroller (it’s inside the blue heatshrink sleeve) grabs interesting data like latitude, longitude, altitude and speed from the NMEA sentences, calculates bearing to destination (the pilot) and displays relevant data to the “instruments” (micro servos with a needle!)

  • On the left: speed, in km/h
  • In the middle: bearing to destination – if the needle is vertical, you’re on the way back home!
  • On the right: altitude, in meters (divided by 10)

This is something you could easily build yourself and you’d be able to add any features you wish. I’m thinking a data logging feature would be cool. That, or a geo-targeted pingpong ball deployer.

Aircraft Panel For First Person View



  1. meh says:

    this is a nice solution but makes three assumptions that may invalidate it for many applications. first you must be able to carry the additional weight of a servo for each gauge + the circuitry to control them. secondly it assumes your camera is going to be mounted in a location that would allow an “instrument panel” to be mounted ahead of it, and that the depth of field for the camera would allow proper focus at infinity and the panel at the same time.

    i also believe that the AMA discourages dropping “things” from model aircraft.

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