A quick and short blog post today about how I go about recording the audio and voice on my flights. I decided to record my flights so I can use them for reviewing my previous lesson and so that I can learn from them. When you’re flying, you’re concentrating on keeping the plane in trim, navigating and radio calls, so when your instructor is teaching you something in the air, the majority goes in for the lesson, but can easily be forgotten, having the video and audio to look back on, and review, means that you can take it all in fully.

My kit compromises of two recorders, my audio recorder and my video recorder. I had looked at other people’s set ups and they had their video recorder recording their audio as well, while this can (in some cases) cut down the cost, involve fewer items and makes syncing audio and video easier, it does mean if the video recorder does run out of battery – which they can do – you lose both your audio and video. I on the other hand use two different recorders, meaning if one fails, you still have half of the flight, either video or audio – now one without the other may not be ideal, but it still means you have something from your flight!

How I get my Cockpit Audio

My set up consists of 3 items for my audio recorder, these are:

  • Sony ICD-PX440 Voice Recorder
  • 1/4″ Splitter
  • Audio lead with 1/4″ to 3.5mm adaptor

My Sony Recorder I managed to get on Amazon quite cheaply, I had tried another audio recorder but this would not have worked well. The audio recorder needs to have a Line-In recording feature, as opposed to a Mic-In recording feature, so that the recorder doesn’t introduce static in to the recording. Theres a load of technicalities as to why this happens but I wont bore you.

I plug the splitter in to the headphone jack of the aircraft and plug my headphones in to one and the audio lead with adaptor in to the other, and the other end of the audio lead in to the audio recorder, the audio recorder I keep in my bag which is right behind my seat. As soon as I get in to the aircraft I start the audio recorder so that I capture everything in the cockpit.


How I get my Cockpit Video

My current set up is:

  • 1x GoPro Hero 5 Session Camera
  • 1x GoPro Suction Mount
  • 1x GoPro GoPole
  • 1x Generic Battery Charger
  • GoPro App on iPad

This is mounted on the rear windshield, I use the arm attachment on the suction mount to get the camera closer to the action, this didn’t cut it that well and i had to get a GoPole, it’s a 20cm (ish) pole that I can mount on to the suction mount and this gets it fairly close to the back of my head giving a good view of the instruments and outside whilst not obstructing my view. When im next flying I will get some photos of it set up in the cockpit. The photos below were taken attached to a mirror.

Once I get home from flying I dump the video and audio recording on to my laptop, which can take a couple of hours for the video to do. I then put it in to my video editing software and edit it to what I want before exporting it in its final form.

I am able to sync my video and audio by doing a clap with my hands shortly after turning everything on, this gives me a visual and audio marker to sync together. Simple but effective.

I’m next flying on Wednesday so my next post will be on that lesson, I may be able to get some videos uploaded, but will try to get some pictures if I can.

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