I have a small airborne LiDAR system, based on the Riegl LMS-Q240i scanner (Riegl's website on this instrument here). This page updates some older webpages about my system (old pages here).
This LiDAR records a swath of laser shot points below an aircraft; each laser shot point has a precise 3d position, and they are collected at a rate of 10,000 points per second. The width of the swath and density of the shot points within the swath depends on how high above the ground it is flown. The scan angle is +/- 30 degrees from nadir, which gives a swath width roughly equal to the height the aircraft is flown. This system can be flown at a maximum of about 500 m or 1500 ft, this gives slightly less than one point per square meter at normal single engine small aircraft speeds. Lower and slower give greater density swaths.
This system is used for mapping glacier changes across the state as part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, in Paul Claus' Havilland DHC-3 Otter.
It is a small system suitable for much smaller aircraft, including most common Cessnas with either a belly pod or a camera port, or DeHavilland Otter or Beaver. I have flown it on a Cessna 140 with a belly pod, as well as in a Cessna 180 with a camera port. The first four example datasets below were collected with the 140. The summit surveys were done with Paul Claus in his turbine Otter.