An RC Plane Captures Stunning View From 17 Miles Above Earth

By Nick Venable | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

We are in a revived Space Age, where the amateurs are king, and the professionals are usually much richer kings. Backyard astronomers are putting out gorgeous images on a regular basis that compete with the greatest works of art the world has ever seen. Somebody light a campfire and pick up an acoustic guitar. I’m feeling Mother Earth calling my name, so be careful where you light that fire.

David Windestål, of the small Swedish town of Hjo, is a RCExplorer memeber when he isn’t at work in the electronic manufacturing business. He recently sent an RC FunJet attached to a weather balloon around 17 miles into the atmosphere, with a GoPro video camera hooked into it. Windestål’s intentions were to let the plane get as high as possible until the balloon burst, where it could then be released from the balloon and remotely piloted back down using a video transmitter and a GPS tracker aboard the plane. Did it land at his feet? No, sadly, due to a variety of unforeseen malfunctions. Does anyone regret that he did it? Not a chance, as the footage it picked up is breathtaking, and perhaps stomach-churning for those who react wildly to fidgety camera work. Watch the video on as big a screen as possible and enjoy the ride.

The total flight time was 108 minutes, and the plane was found 101 km from the launch site. Thank goodness for GPS. I’ve been trying to do this same thing with paper airplanes and VHS camcorders for years. Never needed GPS to find the results of those tests though.