Sunday, December 29, 2013


VIRB Flight 1

Santa left a VIRB Elite camera under the tree for me. This is Garmin's competitor to the GoPro camera. Kathy and I had seen this demonstrated at the AOPA Summit and were interested in the GPS Overlay capability. It seemed to me that this would be an outstanding way to debrief a flight.

In addition to the camera, I purchased a 64g micro SD card for ~$50. (The camera doesn't come with ANY SD card.)  The top receipt is from and includes the suction mount hardware (kit) to fasten the camera to the canopy. The second item is an adapter for an external microphone. The bottom receipt is from Aircraft Spruce for the external microphone to aircraft communication adapter.

The assembly of all of the pieces took me about an hour but was not at all difficult. (I was probably overly cautious.)

I placed the assembly on the left side canopy shown here. It would be just about at the pilot's left ear.


The viewfinder can be checked with an App on an Android phone or tablet. It is a BIG help for the initial set up but once the camera has started the view finder App can't be used.

I also downloaded a desktop app (VIRB Edit) to retrieve movie clips from the camera.

The Flight:

I overslept a little bit, left the house about 8:00am. Milder temperatures than expected at about freezing. More importantly there were no clouds and very little winds. The weather forecast had moderate turbulence just west of Reading and I was a little concerned that I would find gusty winds later in the day.

As I drove north on Rt100 I noticed a hawk on the telephone wire beside the road. A field mouse was nicely draped over the wire and was being held in his left talon. Breakfast. I thought about stopping for a good country breakfast but have already put on too many Holiday pounds. I took another sip of coffee and continued on my way to the airport.

Butter Valley was very busy with golfers. It must have been a tournament because the parking lot was nearly full. Good, I hope it helps his business. I drove through the lot and parked across from the hangar. It was good to see Sally again. She was dirty. I had failed to put the tarps and covers on following my last flight so drainage from the melting snow had left their mark. After storing my gear and doing a lights check, I found the canopy cleaner and went to work. The rest of the plane would have to wait. I pulled her out and finished the preflight.

It took more than the normal 3 or 4 blades. I added just a touch of throttle and she finally caught, rough at first but smoothed out quickly.

Virb Flight 1 Video Here

Post Processing:

I made a mistake using VIRB Edit. By importing the video off of the camera and putting on my computer, I lost the GPS data and was unable to apply any of the Overlays. Lesson learned is to leave the videos on the camera until the SD card is full.

I used the highest quality setting (1080 HD) and it took about two hours to process about fifty minutes of video. This could be reduced by trimming out unneeded pieces of video before processing. Finally, I used my own desktop software to trim the final version and add the text.


Overall I'm very pleased. The picture quality is what I had hoped for and the audio quality is great. While the glass panels couldn't be seen I think their brightness can be adjusted. Once the overlays are added it will really enhance the value of using this as a review tool.

*Note: Information on the VIRB can be found here.
*Note2: Another communication cable

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