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Is it legal to use a Go-Pro in an airplane?

I am a PPL student and am using a Gopro to record all my flights (including ATC audio). Mainly for looking back and learning from the mistakes I make.
In the Netherlands I am not worried about the legality, especially as I am only using it for myself and won’t share it on internet.

At the end of my PPL training I will make a navigation trip to Belgium or Germany. Only I don’t know if it is allowed to record with a Gopro.

Anyone has experience with this or some advice?

EHEH, Netherlands

I can’t speak for Belgium but in Germany it is definitely illegal to publish a video with an ATC audio track but this is not enforced. I’m not really sure about the recording itself. I think it would be illegal to record e.g. a conversation on the phone without the consent of all participants. OTOH many ATC units do record everything without asking each pilot for permission.

Anyway, even the publication of small snippets of radio communication on YouTube is tolerated, we do it from time to time. I’m an FI and I had students once ore twice who did this as well. I think it’s a good idea and this should really be no concern for you even if you publish it.

Last Edited by terbang at 21 Aug 11:36
EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

First for internal & external mounts, the approval of internal mount is just pure red tape, while it make sense for a 100kg VHS camera, hardly an issue with GoPro weight & volume (off there is always as smart pilot to say a GoPro can obstruct pilot view and cause mid-air collisions and loss of control ), for internal mounts, if the GoPro falls it was not attached in the first place ! for external mounts, there are some serious technical considerations even for a GoPro, for start it is hard to get an email reply from EASA manufacturers (sometimes speaking French, Czech can help )

Worth reading these docs from EASA & UK CAA and make your mind about it:

Second for recording ATC audio & diffusing it, there are some privacy concerns but you have to dig deep into “RadioTelegpahy laws” to make the illegality worth it, so it is usually non-event for normal communication unless your video points to some serious ATC/Pilot errors where those chapters will get pulled, there is also accident insurance & liability angles, some stuff should not go to YT unless your lawyer thinks it’s ok !

Of course, get your instructor consent to film him and tell him if he likes going on YT & FB

CS-STAN Issue 2

Last Edited by Ibra at 21 Aug 12:35
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Even if technically a country’s old law still requires a permit to photograph the ground from the air (law from back when airplanes were primarily military / spy tools…), I don’t think European democracies enforce that… but now, don’t go taking pictures of military installations in Greece, etc.

Let’s say that in Luxembourg some instructors request, for this reason, their students not to take pictures / post them on social media during their solos, since the student is flying “on the instructor’s licence”.


Welcome to EuroGA, RikB

I recommend a read of the 1st link below and this.

There is no known enforcement – even in cases where ATC is shown to be doing a very bad job, like here.

However, I would personally avoid putting online something which just shows ATC or other pilots in a bad light, for no good reason. It is really easy to do that; every time one goes for a flight one hears somebody really struggling on the radio, and occassionally ATC aren’t doing their normal great job too.

CAP1369 is a UK-only thing, and the 250g limit in there is potentially a problem by the time you have constructed a decent mount for it. But this is for external mounting anyway, which is a big topic and you get into stuff like this. If the camera is internal then you can just connect the sound source straight to it with a cable.

I am surprised at some of the videos which get posted on FB showing somebody’s lesson. If I was the instructor I would not allow it…

I record the sound track on most of my flights, due to the UK policy on infringements, but it doesn’t get used for anything and gets deleted after a bit.

Getting a good result takes some careful setting up, but that’s always the case with videos

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

There is a difference between recording and publishing. Funny how we think of recording with gopro and publishing on Youtube as equivalent

The elephant is the circulation

I year ago I found myself on youtube, giving a flight lesson. It was well edited and did not place anyone in bad light (I think), but I had not been asked or even informed. I was of course aware that my student was recording, but I believed, rather naively, that it was only for his own use to review the lesson.
As I was responsible for everything on the flight – altitudes, airplane limitations, ATC compliance and much more – the video would of course have been evidence in case of any divergence. LeSving wrote:

Funny how we think of recording with gopro and publishing on Youtube as equivalent

This student clearly did not see the difference.

As for the legality of mounting a small camera, a couple of months ago Paul Bertorelli (of Avweb fame) specifically stated that mounting a camera, to the FAA, is a grey area .

Last Edited by huv at 22 Aug 08:38
EKRK, Denmark

Someone I know mounted an entire film SLR externally to a plane, back before digital cameras were good. It was triggered with an RC aircraft transmitter, receiver and servo (so someone inside the plane could press a button on the transmitter, and the servo would press the button on the camera). It was attached to a slow plane, and reportedly didn’t do anything to the aerodynamics.

I’ve put a GoPro on the bill of a baseball cap, which is quite good for showing a ‘first person what’s the pilot looking at’ view (and before that, one of those Sony bullet cameras with a separate minidv tape recorder). Of course none of this has any need for inspection or legality complications, unless we start needing an EASA66 signoff for what a pilot wears. It always strikes me as a bit odd that we need an EASA66 guy or a LAA inspector to sign off a tiny camera suction cupped to a window, but we can throw a 20kg bag completely loose in the luggage area or the seat next to us (and we could probably legally just put the camera on a tripod in the luggage area behind the seats with no signoff!)

Andreas IOM

a couple of months ago Paul Bertorelli (of Avweb fame) specifically stated that mounting a camera, to the FAA, is a grey area

That writeup is entitled “Legality of an External Camera” and with that I agree, if it is just attached without following any of the Minor/Major Alteration considerations.

Internal cameras can’t possibly be a legal issue unless done obviously negligently e.g. obstructing the controls. Attaching one with velcro or a suction cup is no different to attaching e.g. a sunshield to a window. What you can’t just do is drill holes and such; that again takes you into the “modification” department.

However, it depends on how anally retarded somebody is. There is a “well practiced industry argument” that everything not in accordance with the POH/MM is illegal, and thus plugging a cable for audio for a camera into a headset socket is not legal. I can well imagine this being strictly operated in the AOC sphere, which is much more prescriptive.

I am sure the OP was referring to an internal camera. If you want to record your lesson, an external camera shows nothing relating to it.

This student clearly did not see the difference.

This is why I am surprised at how many lessons are on Youtube. I just find it hard to believe all those instructors have consented. But of course they probably don’t find out… who scans YT for videos posted by one’s students, among the millions of videos?

Years ago I was doing some mentoring and one chap asked if he could do a video. I said Yes but I don’t want the callsign mentioned in the audio. I think he found that too difficult to do.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Thanks for the feedback and indeed it is an internal mounted Gopro.

I haven’t published anything on youtube and I am not planning to do it (except my first solo and that one is even private).
Also I ask the instructors if they have any problems with it beforehand, and only do something with the camera when the engine is not running (before/after the flight).

EHEH, Netherlands
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