Ridiculous Aerial Photography And Drone Laws Got You Down? Check Out Air Cam!

As most people know, over the last few months and years, a number of laws have been passed that make operating a legitimate drone and aerial photography business a nightmare. Being a huge aviation geek and photographer myself, my jaw about hit the floor when I saw this, and I knew I had to share it with Fstoppers. For those who are serious about aerial photography, this might be a solution that you never thought of.

Priced starting at roughly $50,000, AirCam is a kit plane designed as a platform for aerial photography and videography. Many models have built in monitor screens and they all have plenty of room for aiming a camera out the non-existent windows. They've been used by National Geographic on a number of assignments in hard-to-get-to locations, and I would not hesitate to use something like this on less exotic jobs if the opportunity came up. This would be perfect for something like low-level aerial photography for real estate, artistic aerials (such as those shot by Jody MacDonald), landscapes, surveys, and stock photography and videography.

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While this isn't exactly a cheap solution, if you were or are serious about aerial photography and are already running a business, it could be a viable answer. In addition, if you split the purchase price three or four ways, it instantly becomes a bit more affordable and realistic. That isn't to mention that it's an easy or ideal solution, just that if this is something you're really adamant about pursuing, there are options. The abilities of this light aircraft are simply awesome, and the short field take offs and landings coupled with the low-and-slow flight characteristics make this an ideal platform for so many aerial photo opportunities.


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Of course, there are a number of negatives that come along with purchasing a full-blown kit plane when compared to using a top-of-the-line drone copter or plane. There's the price, and the whole 'needing a pilot's license' thing. Not to mention that it's a bit more of a headache to get up and flying on a day-to-day basis, but this seems like it would be infinitely more fun. I know I'd love my job if I got to skim treetops everyday in a homemade kit plane with my hair blowing in the wind. I would love to see prices come down a bit, but for the well-heeled amateur who has dreams of flight or the serious aerial photographer, this could be a great solution for (relatively speaking, of course) cheap.

And if you don't think this is cheap, check out the prices for buying a new helicopter or small plane, which can run easily into the six and seven figures.

For more information, check out AirCam's website, which is chock-full of information, along with a great user community.

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17 Comments

Only 50,000$ - this could be a contest giveaway!

You have already cost me a fair wedge on a new tripod Mike and now I want one of these.... it just is not fair :) maybe if Big Allan and I move to CA we can split the cost 3 ways, I would say he would be up for it

Looks like a flying canoe except with nowhere to bail out if something goes wrong.

Trevor Dayley's picture

This is quite remarkable. I loved when he did the quick runway take off and upside down spin in the plane at around 3:40. Wow!

Thanks that is amazing...

Spy Black's picture

You're still a drone in a Corporate's eye, so don't go shooting those Tyson Farms with one of these, or they may decide to use a "stand your ground" law in the air!

Ariel Martini's picture

and pray that a strong wind don't come your way

I thought you cannot operate an ultralight over congested areas. That means unless you are shooting a home in a rural area, you are still out of luck.

Lee Whitman's picture

Whatever you do, don't try to get aerial footage of the White House with one of these.

My precious.

And you will still need a commercial pilots licence, because the FAA restricts private and rec pilots from making ANY money while flying. Add the cost of that into the $50000 for the plane and you are nearing the $80,000+ mark. In the end it's not a very viable alternative.

Mike Kelley's picture

Don't ruin our dreams with your facts.

And there I was thinking that my savings were to go to my first Hasselblad. Darn it Mike.

you can get ultralights for under $20,000. flight is no longer a rich mans hobby...and u dont even have to have a pilots licence for one, and screw the faa, aviation was way better without them back when aviation was just getting started

Looking at their order page, he airframe kit is $48,490, the engines are separate and cost $53,895. =$102,385

Photographer Ron Lowery makes his living shooting from his AirCam. And he's flown it all over the country...check out www.ronlowery.com and his aerials shot from this plane.

You only need FAA certification if you operate at an altitude of over 400 feet.