In this guide I’ll share exactly what you need to use to record videos in flight and share the best GoPro mounts for airplanes.
GoPros and action cameras are fun ways to share your aviation adventure.
Whether you’re shooting content for your followers or just documenting your aerial adventures for posterity, the GoPro was designed to do crazy things like fly outside a plane.
Out of the box, the GoPro doesn’t come with the equipment you need to attach it to your plane safely. The suction cup mount isn’t the best, and adhesive mounts might damage the plane.
To help put together this guide I’ve spoken with members of our video team to share exactly what they use every time they need to record an in flight video for our YouTube channel.
Luckily, several companies are in the business of hooking pilots up with outstanding options built specifically for the task.
Here’s a look at the types of mounts available from the leading makers, NFlight Cam and My Pilot Pro. Both offer some excellent options no matter what type of camera you’re shooting with and no matter what type of plane you’re flying.
If you want to skip the guide and just get the gear to record videos while flying, this is the kit I recommend you buy. It gives you everything you need to mount inside and outside the airplane (except GoPro sticky mounts).
How to Find the Right GoPro Mount for your Airplane
There are only two big steps to finding the right mount—it needs to fit your camera, and it needs to fit your plane. Beyond that, you simply need to make sure that it’s strong enough to do what you need and that it won’t come off or damage anything during the flight.
Step 1: Camera Compatibility
GoPro standardized its action camera mount many years ago. Thanks to the popularity of their camera system, the mounts are now ubiquitous.
The bottom of a GoPro case has two prongs or “fingers,” which fit within three prongs on the mount. A threaded bolt secures the prongs together, allowing you to set an angle to the mount.
Adding another leg to the mount allows you to get more versatility and set the camera at many different angles.
Several other action camera manufacturers have adopted GoPro-style mounts (like the DJI Osmi Action). This means it’s pretty easy to find generic mounts online—you don’t need to stick to the brand-name GoPro stuff.
And even if your camera doesn’t use the standard GoPro mount, it’s typically pretty easy to get it to attach to one. You can buy adapters online that attach almost anything to a GoPro mount.
The handiest thing is a small plate that gives you a regular 1/4-20 treaded screw, just like you’d find on the typical photography tripod. This allows you to attach any camera, but be careful that it’s stable enough and secure enough for your use!
Step 2: Mount Attachment Options
Once the mount is attached to the camera, you’ve got to figure out how and where you want to put it on the plane.
You’ll want to focus on getting the most secure method that’s easy to remove—while not damaging the aircraft. It means they’ll be built of strong materials and rated to withstand the forces that your camera will experience. You can sometimes find lookalikes on Amazon or eBay, but their quality is questionable. In nearly every case, it’s better to spend the money than to risk losing your camera.
Finding the perfect GoPro mounts for airplanes is the purpose of the rest of the article.
There are four basic types of mounts: suction cups, clamps, screw-on, and adhesive.
Suction Cup GoPro Mounts for Airplanes
Most stock GoPro kits come with their super-strong suction cup mount.
The industrial-strength large suction cup will attach to nearly any smooth surface. It’s very good on glass and plexiglass windows, for example. Some composite planes might be smooth enough for them to work externally. The current version of the stock suction cup says it is rated for up to 130 knots.
Still, trusting one suction cup for exterior mounting isn’t the best idea. However, there’s little risk in trying it on interior windows for cockpit videos. It’s worth noting that the suction cup may lose pressure and come off as altitude changes in the aircraft.
The standard GoPro mount is exactly what we use for the majority of our recording in the cockpit. We’ve never stuck them to the outside of an aircraft for recording.
There are some other suction cup options. My Pilot Pro makes a triple suction cup “spider” mount with a smaller footprint and more redundancy. It’s still only intended for interior use. Our team has never used this one so I can’t speak to it’s effectiveness.
Clamp mounts are super handy for a lot of different activities. Some clamps are easier than others to get on and off, so bear that in mind. The focus when shopping for an aviation mount should be security and strength.
There are a few places where clamps make a lot of sense. If your plane has wing struts, they’re the perfect surface for a clamp. Nflight makes a clamp specifically for the purpose.
There are also clamps designed to lock into the plane’s tie-down rings. We use these when we want to record on one of our new Piper Archer aircraft. I particularly like the shot from the tail tie down, just make sure the camera doesn’t hang down too far as it could become a strike issue when landing.
There are also special clamps made for round helicopter landing struts.
There are tons of choices to choose from when looking for GoPro clamp mounts, but most are not secure enough to be used on a plane.
Many are made for attaching your camera to bicycle handlebars, for example. These might be handy inside the cockpit, but you need something that either bolts on or has an extra security strap for exterior shots.
Screw-on GoPro mounts for airplanes are designed to attach using an existing exterior screw.
For example, NFlight makes a thin aluminum plate that will attach to the top of an existing exterior inspection plate.
Their ball-head adapter then allows you to attach their standard GoPro mount to it. It’s a cool solution that doesn’t involve drilling holes or modifying the plane while being very secure. It’s one of the best GoPro mounts for airplanes.
We use one of these screw on mounts from NFlight to record from the wing of one of our Cessnas. The mounts work extremely well and provide a fantastic shot.
An adhesive mount is an option if you own your plane and you’ve found the perfect spot. GoPro sells a line of flat and curved surface adhesive mounts; most stock action cam kits come with a few. These will take the paint right off your plane, though.
We use one of these in the interior of our aircraft mounted to the ceiling. This gives us the shot looking out the front of the aircraft past those sitting in the front seats.
Don’t even think about using them on a rental aircraft. And don’t attach it unless you’re absolutely sure about the location because once it’s on, it’s on!
NFlight Cam GoPro Aviation Mounts
Two companies (outside of GoPro) specialize in GoPro mounts made specifically for pilots. The first is NFlight Cam.
NFlight’s series of mounts use a ball head to attach to your camera. This allows you to position the camera at any angle for the perfect shot, regardless of the angle that the mount is put on the plane. With the ball head, you can then use any number of their mounts to attach to the plane.
Check out their mount wizard for some camera mounting inspiration.
NFlight Strut Mount
The coolest product NFlight offers will be of special interest if you fly a Cessna (or a Cub, or maybe a Maule, or …) Anyway, whatever you fly will need to have wing struts.
This strap-based clamp mount is designed to latch securely around a bulky airplane strut. We especially like that it has straps that secure it in place instead of a simple clamp that can come undone in flight. It’s rated to 250 mph (217 knots), so you know this is a beefy piece of engineering.
Tie Down Kit for Ball Head Mount
This clamp mount is very secure and doesn’t require removing any screws from the aircraft. It bolts through the tie-down ring and connects to the standard NFlight Cam ball head mount.
This is a great choice for wing-mounted videos with a pretty minimalistic mount. You’re limited in placement, of course. On some planes, you may find that you don’t like the angle that this position gives you. But it’s a great choice because it’s so easy to use and secure.
Exterior Ball-Head Mount Screw Mount
This simple mount attaches with a single exterior screw on your aircraft, like those used for inspection plates or wing tips. The billet is attached with the screw and has a neoprene washer to keep vibrations to a minimum. The mount itself, a modified ball-head mount, then clamps onto the billet. The result is a sturdy and robust mount that’s easy to take on and off and provides many placement options.
It’s worth noting that some rentals and flight schools aren’t going to allow you to be taking screws on and off their airplanes—and with good reason. This mount type is best reserved if you’ve already worked it out with the plane’s owner or if you are the owner.
Spanner Plate for Inspection Plate Screw Mounts
This mount is designed to mount similarly, except the wide base plate uses two inspection plate screws for an even more secure fit.
Ultimate Cockpit Suction Cup
NFlight Cam sells its upgraded version of the GoPro suction cup for inside-the-cockpit use. Theirs has a much larger boom arm that gives you a wider range of motion. That comes in handy in cramped cockpits where a window mount might not be the best placement for the video.
This kit also has a slightly suction system than the stock GoPro mount. It has a gauge that visually shows if it’s losing its grip. If it starts to lose pressure, you can give it a few more pumps to keep it attached.
Let’s pause for a moment on our list of GoPro mounts for airplanes and talk about audio recording.
For audio recording in the cockpit, NFlight Cam also sells cables to attach your GoPro to the aircraft’s intercom system. It can then record conversations and ATC calls. This is how we record all of the in-cockpit audio for our YouTube videos.
Another accessory allows you to use the suction cup and boom to hold your smartphone. Finally, you can get a simple clamp accessory to replace the suction cup. This allows you to use the GoPro or smartphone holder and articulating arm while attaching it to a secure object. This works great on the control column or supports inside the cockpit.
My Pilot Pro Mounts
My Pilot Pro is the second company that makes great options for pilots. These products are similar to the NFlight Cam items mentioned above, with similar attachment methods and capabilities.
One big difference is how you get motion from the mount to point the camera and frame the shot. Where NFlight Cam uses a ball head mount like a standard camera tripod, My Pilot Pro has partnered with Ram Mounts to use their strong articulating arms.
These Ram Mounts are a little more robust and easier to lock in place. The ball heads can tend to slip a bit if not locked firmly.
Spider Swivel (Suction Cup)
Available with or without the Ram Mount arm, the Spider uses three regular suction cups instead of a single industrial-strength one. It’s a little bit easier to get it on and off. And, if the surface is at all curved, as is the case with aircraft windows, then the three cups will hold more securely.
Like all suction cup mounds, this one is intended for use in the cockpit only…not on the outside of the aircraft.
Airplane Mount (Tie Down Ring Mount)
This simple clamp mount through-bolts into the aircraft’s tie-down ring. It’s available with or without the Ram Mount arm.
We use this GoPro mount for airplanes on our Archer and it delivers a fantastic shot from the rear tiedown.
Aviator Screw-On Mount
The Aviator is a simple screw-on mount with FAA approval—so long as an A&P signs it off. It’s an aluminum billet that gets attached with any exterior screw, like those on the wingtips, fairings, or inspection plates. A standard Ram Mount arm is attached, allowing your GoPro to be aimed in any direction.
Do you ever record your flights? What are your favorite GoPro mounts for airplanes?
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Brian is an experienced digital marketer who joined Thrust Flight in 2022 as the Chief Marketing Officer. He discovered a passion for aviation at 10 when he went for his first flight in a Piper Cherokee and enjoys helping others discover a career path as a professional pilot. He is an experienced marketing consultant helping brands with a variety of marketing initiatives. Brian received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Brigham Young University.