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Why Pilots Hate the Idea of Cameras Watching Them Fly

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If search teams ever find the wreckage of Malaysia Flight 370, a significant shortcoming of the plane’s black boxes system could revive a proposal that’s been kicked around for 14 years: Putting cameras in cockpits. (www.wired.com) Altro...

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sgbelverta
Since the existing data recording system did little to help find MH 370, what would video bring to the table? Video might confirm absolutely when there is pilot error, but the event which brought this into question has already occurred. Does seeing a pilot's face before a crash really add information to the incident?

If there is something to fix, make the flight data recorder store data more than 2 hours. I'm not convinced that would really fix much, since most incidents occur on takeoff or landing. That's well within the 2 hour limit. The other thing which might help is making the "Ping" of a data recorder last more than 30 days. Still not sure that would have helped MH 370, but it might have narrowed down the search area.
btweston
btweston 3
That was my point. But based on many of the comments here it would seems that many people on this site subscribe to the authoritarian idea that when one is at work they have no rights and must submit to constant surveillance whether it helps or not. I strongly disagree with this line of thinking. People are people whether they are wearing sweatpants or neat little outfits with stripes on the shoulders. We already have excessive monitoring in our embarrassingly paranoid culture, and in this case video wouldn't even help because, uh, where's the plane, dude?
jshhmr
josh homer 3
Exactly. There has to be a less intrusive way of handling this. Plus I wouldn't want a pilot second guessing themselves in an emergency because they're being watched. I'd like to know what the pilots here think.
bbabis
Bill Babis 3
This article presents a very ridiculous argument. In the case of MH370, if the black boxes are ever found, they will not provide much info because only the last two hours of information will be saved. It is then stated that having a video recording is a way to correct this. Think about it! The problem is length of recording time. If we don't have room to store any more than the last two hours of audio, how are we to store 8 to 10 hours of audio and video? As Sharon stated below. This accident was way outside the norm and a two hour window is plenty to help solve accidents. The real problem in the case of MH370 is that we don't have whatever information that there is. Real time 24/7 flight monitoring is the answer and is available today. Cameras in the cockpit will cause more problems than they solve.
Jayhigman
The argument specifically related to MH370 IS ridiculous - nary a shred of that plane has been found. Generally, it's a sound idea; flight crews seldom survive the type of mishap that would be recorded, and later a recording could offer a wealth of information on process, etc. A reset button could be pushed after parking at the gate, and no one's feelings would be hurt. Security could be enhanced with cabin monitoring, too.
hondosan
hondosan 1
This is what confounds me. Why, with the ever-growing expansion of solid-state storage, is audio limited to 2 hours. Heck, for $600, I can buy a surveillance camera that stores a month of HD video. Of course, for MH370, that's of no consequence, as the recording media must be recovered first.
preacher1
preacher1 4
Your confounding is not with the equipment on the audio(CVR). That restriction came from the pilot's union(ALPA) several rears ago. The CVR has plenty of capability for more time, but ALPA fought that for whatever reason and wound up with the 2 hours and they will fight the video as well. You have many independents that would be up in arms about it too. I am like Bill Babis, it is a long ways out but it will happen one of these days. If it turns out to be a federal mandate where everyone has to do it and there is a level playing field, the we all will see it in higher ticket prices.
devsfan
ken young 1
Hey, welcome to how our federal government operates. In the land of stupid.
Up until about 15 years ago, the computers used for air traffic control were ancient technology.
What stops the inexpensive modernization of the ATC system is federal red tape and a management style that encourages those in charge to control their departments as though they were these little fiefdoms. "Don't rock the boat and everybody gets to retire from here"...
btweston
btweston 4
In the case of MH370 a camera isn't going to help any more than the black boxes...
bobpap
Robert Pap 2
On 9/11/2001 at 8:30 AM, the FAA, NTSB and RTCA with airlines, unions, equipment manufacturers, had a meeting on cameras in the cockpit. This was in Washington, D.C. on K Street and it was led by the New England FAA Regional Administrator. The 9/11/2001 events with smoke coming out of the Pentagon could not convince reasonable people that they need to wake up to reality. Time and current events seem to not diminish the self interest of reasonable people who still know it has to be done. They need to have an incentive or someone more reasonable needs to come to the table. Most of the arguments have long been resolved and they know it.
bbabis
Bill Babis 2
And would cameras have done one iota to change anything before, during, or after those events? NO! We knew what happened then and we know what happened in every incident or accident that FDRs and CVRs have been available in.
LordLayton
What would happen if the disablement of this camera system similar to what the perp/s on MH370 did with all the other detection systems? What would happen if they simply put a small piece of black electrical tape over the lens like so many PC owners all ready do? I'm afraid that a system like this would have to be "real time monitoring" to be effective and be very costly to implement and use. What would happen if the live "monitors" fell asleep out of boredom in that case? Many pilots wouldn't want that system on board, especially like last week when the idiot pilots on an Argentinian airline A-340 performed a perfect runway incursion while watching the world cup instead of the windows? (I'm sure Barcelona ATC were too).
avihais
Circuit breaker, electrical interruption and there's the good old duct tape.
GottaFly2
GottaFly2 2
The problem seems to be we can't find them in certain situations, not the black box itself or what's in it. Location information is a very small amount of data, and shouldn't it be easy enough to send via the existing satellite communications most carriers already have? a location ping every few minutes would have been very helpful in MH370, for example...
JohnBrandt
But aren't they professionals. If it would help a future flight from same fate isn't it worth being videod?or are they worried they won't be able to have private talks while landing or something else against regs. Cab drivers and buses have cameras recording planes should too!
Moviela
There are certain groups that you need to keep an eye on them. Cashiers, janitors, security, and lawyers are examples of occupations that tend to attract those not heavily invested with integrity.

Pilots are a different breed of pups. You don't need a camera on a pilot to make sure (s)he flies the airplane. A pilot will do the right thing with the right stuff without being watched.

People that are watched while they work adjust their behavior to make a good show, but the theatrics do interfere with their work process. Such pressure would be inadvisable on the flight deck.
rdlink
WTF? Excuse me, but pilots are just a susceptible to corruption and incompetence as any other profession, and do not need to be put on a pedestal. And this is not just to "check up on them." This is to paint a more complete picture of what happened in the event of an accident. Not necessarily to point out pilot wrongdoing, but to show what might have happened to incapacitate pilots, or something along those lines.

As far as your disparaging other professions, you should get your facts straight. There are people of integrity and lack of integrity in all professions, pilots included. And my 25+ years working with attorneys has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they, as a profession are some of the most ethical people you will ever meet.
preacher1
preacher1 -1
Boy, you have drank the Kool-Aid.LOL
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Naw, I think he was one of those who were serving it. Nice homily for the day tho'.
indy2001
indy2001 3
Why would pilots interpret cameras as an invasion of their privacy? They are at work, not at home. Their work takes place in very public airspace. If teachers can be taped in their classrooms, if bus and train drivers can be taped at their jobs, and police are taped during traffic stops, why should pilots be any different? As far as interpretation, that's why both sides are represented by attorneys in a public court of law. It's time for pilots to move into the same century as the rest of us when it comes to the workplace.
n7224e
BC Hadley 3
What problem will having a camera in the cockpit solve?
flightprofessor
This! This is the key. All the data salient to an accident/incident investigation is already being collected. What information would be gained by videotaping, for instance, a switch being flipped incorrectly when that information is already available from the FDR? Answer: None. Adding video would add only distraction, paranoia, complexity, electrical load, weight load, and cost. It would provide no additional relevant information. So BC Hadley has just asked precisely the correct question.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
But, it makes such a great sound bite. If you can strap a camera to your helmet and make an idiotic youtube video, why not place them on the flight deck of every airplane in the world?
Who cares about thinking things thru?

On the serious side, excellent points.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Amen!!!!!!!!!!
tcmarks
Tim Marks 5
Unless you are in one of occupations mentioned by Ric Wernicke a while ago, I will bet there is not a camera above your desk at work. If there is a camera watching you, then a breakdown of trust has occurred and your employer does not believe you or anyone else is honest enough to not be watched. The cockpit is the pilot's office and they are be trusted to perform their job for their own safety as well as that of the hundreds of passengers who depend upon them. Putting a camera in the cockpit would raise doubt about a pilot's abilities and create a firestorm of controversy with the flying public. If you are so set to get cameras onto airplanes then point them at the passengers and keep tabs on the real threat in the cabin for the record - that is what the cameras in the police cars, buses, trains, cabs and schools are looking for.
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 1
Three points:
(1) show me a desk in an office that cost even hundreds of millions to build, and show me a smart manager for that business, and I am sure we can see that risk exposure alone will lead that manager to set up effective systems to ensure performance.
(2) "a firestorm of controversy" and "raise doubt about a pilot's abilities"? Yeah right. All people really want is to fly as cheaply as possible, and most really do not want to know about the scary safety stuff. Thankfully, NTSB and a few others do (most of the time) work hard to investigate and present the scary stuff.
(3) actually, in law enforcement, while the badge uses dash cameras to try to nail down charged and arrested parties, the most valuable stuff has been to the benefit of citizens. We have seen some extraordinary examples of bullying, assault, and other abuses under color of authority, made clear to the world by dash camera video. Arguable, we would all be very well served if all law enforcement cameras were obligated to run/record full time, taking away the ability of rogue deputies to erase or turn cameras on/off.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
and we've seen incredibly stupid people do stupid things that led to their getting physically controlled
btweston
btweston 2
Fascist.
Dubslow
Teachers bus drivers and mass transit train drivers have little to no "downtime" on the job, they are constantly busy. But pilots, especially oceanic pilots, (and to a much more limited extent, long distance train drivers) have hours on end during cruise where their work consists of nothing but saying 5 words to ATC every 10-30 minutes.

So of all the time spent in the cockpit, maybe 10-20% of it is doing things that *might* be worth recording.
ethridge626
jim thomas 2
Aviation transportation is just another form of PUBLIC transportation. There are threat potentials from the passenger cabin and the cockpit. Unfortunately in today's world if you want a higher threshold of security then less public privacy will be required. The pilots unions and aviation companies will fight it to prevent armchair quarterback lawsuits.
devsfan
ken young 1
Yeah....As I stated, I'm on the fence here. However, there are far too many parachute plaintiff's attorneys that will circle like vultures if cameras were permitted.
One thing that can be done, is for Congress to pass a law stating that using flight deck video recordings cannot be used as evidence in a civil proceeding of any kind.
tbpera
Tom Pera 2
I have great respect for flight crews... but, when I was an air controller I rode many times in the cockpit...once they understood that I wasn't a "spy" and they relaxed, most crews I was with spent the long flight hours in animated conversations ...one flight 3-4 hours on biorhythms, several flights the pilots discussed how to screw management - union issues, and some were very entertaining with good war stories... there were occasions when pilots missed calls from ATC because of these conversations... all crews put their undivided attention on landing and take-off... but, not so much, in cruise... not a criticism but, those long boring hours at cruise while they're being video'd is what they fear, I think... sorry, flight crews...
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 2
Same experiences, in my 22-yrs of FAA ATC work, too. Always fun to fly with these guys, and they got the job done, but the one most important lesson flying jumpseat, and seen over and over again, was how incredibly boring their job is most of the time. And in this regard, it is just like ATC work, too. We all have to be spooled up, ready to go, ready to act decisively on a suddenly apparent issue. At all four small towers where I worked, TV sets or laptop PC movies ended up in the tower cab during slow times and/or for major sports events. ALL TOWERS (not just one).
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
yep...we had a TV and a sleeping bag for the graveyard shift...
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
Thanks for the honest post Jeff. As I said in another post, Cameras watching flight crews would create far more problems than they could ever hope to solve. The latest iteration of FDRs and CVRs along with possible off-site data storage can handle all current and future accident investigation needs.
jackx
Cockpit voice recording is overwritten after 2 hours because of limited data storage in the blackbox. What makes one believe that a video recording would last longer? Video files are much larger than audio files and it's very likely that a video recording would be overwritten after 1-2 hours because of limited storage capacity. Not much help for MH370 and I doubt it wouldn't help in other cases either.
If we learn something from MH370 than we could consider changing something around primary radar coverage and recording. First of all it would be extremly intersting where MH370 went before we can discuss why it went there.
rdlink
This may be a silly question, but in this day of satellites and constant internet connectivity what's wrong with uploading flight data and cockpit communications via a satellite uplink to store it remotely? Certainly we have the technology, and in my view it's a helluva lot better use of on-plane internet bandwidth than someone being able to update their Facebook page at 35,000 feet.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
In short, data volume would be overwhelming for anyone short of NSA (who are using our tax dollars to do it).
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
Not silly at all Roger. That is the next logical step. Communications are already saved at the receiving facility so we don't need to duplicate that. Much FDR data is already being uplinked so that doesn't need to be duplicated either. It is the CVR and other FDR data that needs to be uplinked to a facility for storage for some determined amount of time after a safe arrival and then the space released for future flights. It would not take much to accomplish that. It is the unneeded video that would eat up tons of bandwidth and space.
stevooz
you know what they say , to see is to believe .
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
We have the data from the FDR concerning actions taken and how the aircraft reacted to them. Synchronized with that, we hear all the sounds from the cockpit area. You wouldn't believe any of it??
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 1
...actually, Bill, with your logic, why NOT have video? You are effectively saying that we have all the needed data to reconstruct what the pilot did right (or wrong) or what physically happened to the controls or panels. If we are already capturing the necessary data, then there is no additional privacy invasion by adding video, right?

Also, thinking a bit more about this, two U.S. commuter crashes come to mind: KLEX in 2006, and KBUF in 2009. Nearly 100 died between these two crashes. In both cases, the two biggest factors were pilot fatigue and non-relevant conversation between the pilots. The conversations were transcribed off of the FDR and shared with the world post mortem. But, we can only guess how tired these pilots were, based on reconstructing their hotel records, cellphone records, statements by widows, and observations by other pilots who saw a particular pilot sleeping in the crew lounge before his/her flight. Gee, video sure might have helped on the fatigue issue, don't you think? And, if a video in the KLEX tower cab showed the controller was watching DVD movie while Comair took off and crashed on the wrong (and too short) runway, well THAT would sure clarify what happened ... and cost FAA easily $100-200 Million for gross negligence.

Lastly, the video might encourage pilots to perform more professionally. In my decades working FAA ATC, I had small tower jobs that were minimally recorded, and others that were extensively recorded. It would not have bothered me in the least if we had a video recording of the Oakland Center oceanic work area, while we worked our busiest trans-Pacific traffic in the middle of the night. I guarantee you, if this was done, and the video was saved and made available for Public review, no laptops would have been setup at the control positions. Same goes for Cleveland Center (May 2011 hot mic incident with three minutes of a movie soundtrack broadcast over an ATC position); that incident would never have happened, had cheap video technologies been used to encourage professionalism.

So, back to the flight deck: we as passengers should be able to expect unerring professionalism from the crew in front, just as we should be able to expect they are taken care of by their employer (hence, well paid and well rested and not distracted by incessant and incredible b.s from management). The fact is, a lot of this aviation system has failed and will continue to fail. Simple, cheap video of work by pilots and controllers can do A LOT to reduce those failures and the lethal consequences.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You are getting professionalism. All I got to say if you don't like the quality of what you are getting, drive or ride the bus/train. Ain't nobody forcing you to fly. You can count on one hand with digits left over, the number of fatal air crashes in the last 10 years, and that includes those 2 fools last year in Asiana 214. You would need a calculator to wrack up that same # of automobile fatalaties for that time period. Now tell me more about how we need cameras in the cockpit, all because a 777 has gone missing and can't be found because the Airline was too cheap to subscribe to available services and one knee jerk reaction to a tired commuter flight crew crash that already turned the airline industry on it's head for all the wrong reason. Just keep on thinking.
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
Some valid points Jeff but, my stand is not against video, it is what will we gain from it. The commuter accidents you mention have been sorted out without video. It is easy to say simple and cheap but you may know better than I that it won't be. If made mandatory, I can see $200,000+ per aircraft and that would be to fill in maybe a 1% gap in accident information if that. Simple and cheap may work in an ATC facility but the recorded information would not need to be in a box required to withstand 105 Gs and 5000 degrees. I agree that aviation can always be safer but we are venturing into the land of very diminishing returns. How far do we want to go?
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 2
Bill, you wrote: "The commuter accidents you mention have been sorted out without video." Let's look at one of those accidents, Lexington, Comair, in August 2006. Was this REALLY sorted out without video? I do not think so, and if you read the NTSB report and the news articles about this accident, I think you will agree.

As a short recap, the Comair flight took off from the wrong runway, and the transcript shows the tower controller had roughly fifty seconds to just look out the window and see what was happening. There were fatigue issues for both the pilots and ATC, but they all sounded quite alert and clear on the ATC tapes. This accident happened shortly after 6AM on a Sunday morning, and the departure was the last of a group of three that the controller worked, a short flurry to start the day as is common at many lesser airports. The workload was not complex, the clearances were all crisp and made routine by the weekly and daily repetition of these short departure flurries. There was NOTHING abnormal about the events of 8/27/06, and NOTHING complex that would explain how the controller would fail to see and act on what became a lethal pilot error. Of course, relevant to this discussion, there was no video, but there could have been; and, had there been video in the tower cab, it clearly would have provided important factual information for the investigation. With video, we would have answers to these critical questions: (1)did the controller ever look out the window, and when? (2)what was the controller doing for the fifty seconds from when he issued the takeoff clearance to when the pilots pushed power forward? (3)when the controller heard the power (as he would have, given the close proximity), what was the controller doing during the first 10-15 seconds of takeoff roll, that prevented his looking and alerting the departure and saving the accident? (4) did the controller actually look, see the problem and elect to do nothing, believing nothing bad would happen?

For Comair 5191, there was a full minute for the controller to just look out the window and say 'whoa, he's on the wrong runway, and an unlit runway, too!', then key his mic and cancel the takeoff clearance. Done. This did not happen. 49 died and only the co-pilot survived. To this day, the widow of the pilot is still pushing for a real and objective investigation. Hundreds of others were impacted by direct loss of family or friends, and then there are those indirectly impacted, plus the loss of confidence in the airlines, in ATC, FAA and NTSB. NTSB managed this accident so as not to include a full Public Hearing, which served only to fuel public distrust of NTSB and their conclusions. Another time NTSB pulled this 'no public hearing' was when the Minnesota freeway bridge collapsed on 8/1/2007, killing 13. Generally, when NTSB opts to NOT have a public hearing, the accident has a higher probability of failure by a federal agency.

The investigation led by NTSB included parties such as NATCA, the union representing the tower controller. I have heard that the controller was ready to tell his story, a from-the-heart statement of what he traumatically experienced, but the NATCA officials played lawyer and shut him down and delivered the managed statements to the investigative process. On top of this, NATCA then created a bogus presentation that the controller was distracted counting paper strips at the end of his shift. There were 14 strips, and this is a VERY routine task, that most controllers would spend less than ten seconds doing. Us former controllers know this is just spin by NATCA.

So, to your statement. I think it is incorrect. IF WE HAD THE VIDEO, we would have strong evidence of exactly what happened in the tower cab during that one crucial minute when the accident should have been stopped. Or, even more likely, we would have had no accident, because the controller would not want a video capturing him watching a DVD movie, a TV, texting, napping, or otherwise not doing his job.
tbpera
Tom Pera 2
worked a VFR tower for years - lots of airline activity...first duty is to observe and control the airport...
even when we got a radar screen, looking out the window job #1
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
You're really into this Jeff, particularly for ATC. I say go for it. A cockpit camera though, which this discussion is about, would not have changed anything unless it could somehow have told the pilots what they were not seeing out the window. Wrong compass heading for the runway assigned, no runway lights, narrower runway than they were used to, etc.. Construction and a different taxi route should have put this crew on higher alert also. Sometimes we look but don't see or see what we expect to see and not what is actually there. It has been well known in aviation since Icarus that complacency kills. The controller on duty certainly was a factor and he may have had an opportunity to possibly prevent this tragedy. He did not "cause" this accident though any more than a passenger not telling a driver, about to run a red light, that the light is red is the cause of a resulting collision.
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 2
I think it is fair to say, this discussion mostly pivots on finding an appropriate balance for workplace privacy vs. safety enhanced by video. The pilot and ATC jobs are not just deeply intertwined, but also incredibly similar, in terms of attention to detail, vigilance to sense a problem and take action, and quick adverse consequences if they let their guard down. I have known well enough a few dozen ATC co-workers, and I know from my work experiences the common distractions and risky shortcuts controllers take when the get bored. Based on this experience, I am quite confident that in-tower video surveillance at KLEX on 8/27/2006 would have almost certainly ensured no accident happened. And the odds of certain key unknowns about what happened being answered during the investigation: well, no less than 100% odds, because the video would show what that FAA controller was doing that morning.

One other detail, a slight tangent about Comair5191... when this accident happened, FAA was in the middle of two weeks of aggressively briefing all ATC supervisors on the new imposed contract, which included a strict dress code and a split payscale (with new hires way below the old scale). There was even a recording going around, made at these management briefings, where a top ATC manager was giving a pep talk, telling people to take control of the towers back from the union, and get rough with people and expect management support if you want to fire someone. It was incredible, how demoralized the controllers were at that time, and how hostile things remained for the next two-plus years. That vigilance I mentioned in the paragraph above ... what do you think happens to vigilance, when safety employees are demoralized? It certainly does not improve.

So, how does this tangent connect back to the narrower concept of video on the flightdeck and, even better (from a safety and security standpoint) video that is configured to use satellites to help identify something like MH370 as it is happening? Yes, the pilots might be demoralized by management or FAA adding the camera system, but frankly a lot less demoralized than they are by all the other BS both FAA and their airline employers heap on them. And there are LOTS of issues that demoralize pilots, but I won't even list them. Bottom line, though, nearly all pilots are true professionals and deserve to be respected, not jerked around. They are capable of accepting the security need for a flightdeck video system with uplink, and their resistance would all but disappear if they were properly compensated and respected by their employers.
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
Well said Jeff. I consider you a brother in aviation. I'm sure our paths have crossed and may well again. Be safe and may the gods of aviation smile upon you.
preacher1
preacher1 0
One thing we all seem to forget at times and I think is evidence by both this Comair crash and the Colgan crash. You CANNOT legislate safety. Common sense and qualification should take precedence anyway. A couple of simple basic things would have prevented the Comair crash. Basic Airmanship for a stall would probably have prevented Colgan as well as Asiana 214. Complacency will bite you in the butt every time. There is a reason why the say takoffs and landings are the most dangerous time in a flight. You got to be on your game. It's kinda like taking a crap. If you don't wipe good, you'll have a mess.
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 1
One of the chronic problems in aviation, and mostly sourced at FAA, is a tendency to frame solutions far in excess of what is really, basically needed. So, they thump the chest and say it has to withstand 105 G's and 5000 degrees. But that is not needed, obviously.

Think for a moment about Malaysia 370. The aircraft was already fully equipped to transmit via satellites, as needed to perform in oceanic non-radar airspace. A few hundred dollars worth of video camera gear could easily be configured, and set to flash a shot say every three minutes via satellite, bounced on through to the airline dispatch and to the ATC service providers. Software identifies a non-image or an irregular image and flags that something irregular is on the transmitted video for MH370. Both dispatch and ATC are positioned to initiate timely actions. Worst case scenario for MH370 is ATC determines within five minutes that the flight is NORDO. Appropriate Defense authorities are immediately notified. A scramble has an intercept in effect within 10-20 minutes. And CNN has nothing to report, beyond that first day. Maybe, just maybe, if the theory that the pilot was suicidal is true, or if another theory that the pax were killed and the aircraft was essentially pirated and landed somewhere is true, well, maybe this simple and potentially very inexpensive system would have prevented it from happening.

My view is that each of these larger commercial aircraft in operation is easily worth a few hundred million $, in equipment and in life $-equivalents (as sick an idea as that is, but hey, to the airlines and the insurance companies it is just business). We have proven time and again that both pilots and controllers can and will lower their personal professional standards. We should pay all of these people like true professionals, and we should install technologies that not only ensure they perform like true professionals, but that also protect the Public. It is selfish and irresponsible for ANY pilot or controller to cry for their workplace morale and/or privacy as an excuse to not do what we can cheaply do to help protect the Public. When MH370 happens again (and we all know that it could), we will have failed to prevent it.
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
The only sure thing Jeff is that technology will march on. I think it is a given that video will someday be in the cockpit. The possibility exists though that pilots will not have to worry about being watched because they will not be there.
AirBalance
Jeff Lewis 1
quick analogy: remember the Metrolink crash in southern Cal a few years ago? It was quickly discovered the engineer was distracted, texting on his device. Well, that example alone tells me, I want the engineers on MY train focused on the job, not texting. If a video system in the engineer's workplace existed and enabled someone else in his safety profession to identify his texting, and if it stopped another accident like MetroLink, well yay for that.

IMHO, pilots are no more god-like and no less fallible than the engineers who drive and occasionally crash trains. Those few of us who are locked onto this idea that it is offensive to pilots that they be on video from the rear of the flightdeck, ... well, we are being a bit paranoid, and have really lost touch with the safety mission under our wings. A good union will drive this point home, and use it to push for pay premiums in compensation for the high standards of professionalism these cameras can assure.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
If the A/C was automatically transmitting FDR to satellite rather than video still every 3 minute, the signal loss would still have occurred triggering the response you mentioned. Sounds like a case for at least regular uplinks on international flights over water at least.
flyingtiger11
That is rediculous to have cameras in the cockpit. The pilots get a check ride at least once a yr to review their procedures. I would not want a camera over my shoulder recording everything. Accidents will happen unfortunately whether the crew is being watch ir not.

I vote NO
smoki
smoki 1
While I'm personally opposed to video surveillance and wouldn't feel comfortable with it, I've no doubt that with time it would seem no more intrusive than a voice recorder which I don't give a second thought to until something happens that warrants it's examination by authorities and then I start to worry about what I may have said that could be misinterpreted, maybe something totally irrelevant but potentially embarrassing.

It's human nature however to be on our best professional behavior in a cockpit if there's a check airman or Fed on board observing us while conducting a line check. A video recording system that could be downloaded with ease could be used for unannounced spot checking of crews thus precluding to some extent the aforementioned having to ride. That will more than likely be the primary selling point for it with accident investigation a secondary benefit. Such an argument would be difficult to refute on privacy grounds. After all commercial ops hauling pax is a very public business.
we0209
My Dad was an "old school" pilot with TWA in the useta days & he knew the guys on Flight 841 (727 that flipped over near DTW & headed for the ground @ near Mach 1. The "black box" recordings were "inadvertently" erased due to the breaker being reset. The flight crew likely did that because they didn't want the NTSB to listen to their previous "private" conversations that happened before the event, let alone the likely interesting comments on the way down to 5,000 ft before they pulled it out of the dive.
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
I think they still figured that one out. The DLE breaker was the one played with. The CVR just needed the erase button pushed.
psychfred
Greg Smith 1
More cons than pros in my opinion. It is a great way for insurance companies, aircraft manufacturers, and other "interested parties" to misinterpret the crews actions for gain or to avoid responsibility.
JohnBrandt
How many bus drivers and cab drivers are being sued if they're just doing the job!and the videos would only be seen by the authorize people .
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
They wouldn't do that! Lol
psychfred
Greg Smith 1
Right, Wallace! haha
devsfan
ken young 1
I'm kind of on the fence here. However, I think this is going to become a reality.
j3jm
Joe Morris 1
We've all seen how tape recordings and other evidence end up on television later as "entertainment". It would be not different here, you can't trust the feds or anyone else not to let the really juicy parts leak out to the media. Face it, a lot of the trolls on this site would love to live vicariously through cockpit video tapes.
stevooz
I bet when the flight recorder were introduced years ago , pilots must have gone nuts about it . who ever disagrees with cameras in the cockpit now most likely are the same people who would have nixed the voice recorder back then , some people don't like change , its human nature .
preacher1
preacher1 2
Well, the 2 hrs on the CVR is per ALPA, not the equipment. I personally would hate the idea of somebody looking over my shoulder ever working moment. Had a painting contractor one time that just stood there and looked at his employee while he was doing a job. Not a word said by either but I couldn't work like that. Besides, most older pilots on familiar aircraft can get thru a checklist in half the time, just by having a big part to memory. I'd hate to be involved in something and have a tape reviewed by a non aviation type person looking at the book. Not a professional alive in any career field that hasn't found a few shortcuts along the way that save time, improve efficiency, and DO NOT lead to a safety decrease of any kind.
flightprofessor
preacher1 said: "I personally would hate the idea of somebody looking over my shoulder every WAKING moment."
FTFY.
Unfortunately, there is a weird, paranoid, authority-loving, Stockholm-syndrome-addled, conformist minority who thinks being watched all the time is the gnads, and not infrequently, seem vexed at NOT being watched all the time. Part of our new culture of narcissism, perhaps? Insecurity? Separation anxiety? Who knows what growing up addicted to texting every 10 seconds does to a person. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
stevooz
that's a bunch of crap .. when it comes to public safety and record keeping , I think it makes a lot of sense , they are doing there job , everybody else in this world is recorded including at your workplace , privacy has no place in the cockpit
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
And anyone disagreeing with you is guilty of Crimethink, right?
btweston
btweston -5
Fascist.
btweston
btweston -1
No, seriously. That's what fascism is, whether you vote my comment down or not.
cjoe071855
In other words, a radical and authoritarian dictatorship? Really? What are you smoking!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
The murderers will luv being filmed.
skykingsp210
If cameras were to be installed in the cockpit, the footage would need to be sent live, through a sat link to ground operations. Not another black box.

Go Live with cockpit recorders.
stevooz
if you can watch cnn live 24/7 all over the world , then don't tell me that cant be done in the cockpit, a rear mounted cam would have shown all that happened that night , not their faces but their actions .
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Do you mean watching CNN live24/7 on the flight deck? Yes one may be able to get a feed in there somehow. But if you are saying, since you can get CNN worldwide that it is feasible to monitor every flight deck of every aircraft flying, I believe you are mistaken. Who would pay for the technology, and the reviews?
preacher1
preacher1 1
Speak for yourself on watching CNN 24/7. If you can do it, you are the exception rather than the rule. Nobody has said the technology isn't there, BUT, who will pay for it and is it really needed?
ifbeggs
ian francis -5
No more BJ's
Topper1
W S Webb -1
Employee visual monitoring is a growing business.

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