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Cockpit Video Recorder : A Possibility?  
User currently offlineAF1624 From France, joined Jul 2006, 665 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

Hello all,

I was browsing Youtube videos and I couldn't help but notice that the amount of videos shot with GoPro-style cameras has increased dramatically recently. These videos are of very high quality (Full HD for the most part) and the GoPro's wide angle provides a very good overview of what's happening in the cockpit.

Especially considering that one unit costs about 250$ which I think you'd agree isn't that much.

As most of you know crashes today are analysed by way of sound and data. Usually these two combined can provide a relatively good idea of what happened in the cockpit at a given moment. i.e. Crew ressource management, etc.

But having video evidence would be, I think, compelling in a lot of cases.

Here comes the question : don't you think that placing discreet and very small cameras (even smaller than the GoPro - which is doable because you can place the hard drive elsewhere) in the cockpit would greatly improve the way crashes and incidents are analysed ?

With the immense capacity of modern day hard drives and their flexibility (their capacity to be written on over and over and over again unlike a tape), something like this should be doable, IMHO.

What do you think about it ?


Cheers
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRubberJungle From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4243 times:

The technology was never the problem - there have been cameras available for cockpit recording for years, and investigators have long supported the use of video as an aid to accident inquiries.

The problem was always the resistance of pilots to being subject to video monitoring, as well as the possible leaking of video footage to the public in the same way that audio is leaked today.


User currently offlineAF1624 From France, joined Jul 2006, 665 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4218 times:

Quoting RubberJungle (Reply 1):
The problem was always the resistance of pilots to being subject to video monitoring, as well as the possible leaking of video footage to the public in the same way that audio is leaked today.

I understand that pilots would resist video monitoring.

However I think that most professions today are subject to video monitoring: bank assistants, policemen, taxi drivers, cashiers... all of them are on tape most of the times. Even large company open-spaces are video monitored nowadays.



Cheers
User currently offlinenonfirm From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 434 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4217 times:

A lot of Flight Crews feel it is an invasion of their work place. I myself don't agree with the installation of cameras on the Flightdeck.

User currently offlineEY460 From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 271 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4141 times:

CCTV cameras are installed on the navigation bridge on some cruise ships and they can really help an investigation. As a navigation officer I never had anything against being filmed while at work (the navigation bridge filming of the Costa Concordia was not from CCTV but it was from one of the ship's photographer). Of course there is issue of these recordings leaking to the press. The one from the Costa Concordia was first watched on TV and then obtained by the tribunal for its investigation.

User currently offline9MMPQ From Netherlands, joined Nov 2011, 316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4119 times:

It's been dicussed at length over the years. A search would probabaly yield some results.

I think the 3 main points have always been:

1) Doubts if camera's could sufficiently cover every button/dial that could be manipulated by the crew.
2) Usefullness as there have been few accidents in which only a camera could have revealed the cause.
3) Possible leaking of footage showing crews in their last dying seconds.

With points 1 & 2 the airlines would probably figure to just save the money across the whole fleet.

As for point 3... I've heard some voice recordings of last moments onboard a flight, it would be morbid to get some footage with that too.



I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.
User currently onlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4987 posts, RR: 40
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4077 times:
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Quoting 9MMPQ (Reply 5):
It's been discussed at length over the years.


Yes, it has.

I am all for it, but to have really added value the recording must be expanded by showing in detail what the instruments are displaying to the crew on the flight deck. Only then can you draw better conclusions on why a certain manoeuvre was made, or was not made.

So the concept of what needs to be in the recordings made on the flight deck must be agreed upon first. Then I am all for it.

Quoting nonfirm (Reply 3):
A lot of Flight Crews feel it is an invasion of their work place. I myself don't agree with the installation of cameras on the Flightdeck.


There many, less critical situations in work-spaces where video recording is done. I have no problem with it personally, but I am not working in aviation. But where I sit behind my desk also camera's are in operation. They do not bother me at all. The urge for even safer flying through better accident research and evaluations then we know today easily justifies imho the means.  .


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4002 times:

Quoting AF1624 (Thread starter):
But having video evidence would be, I think, compelling in a lot of cases.

I think it would be fascinating in a lot of cases, but not compelling. The number of accidents I can think of where video would make a difference to the investigation outcome seems to be very small (the CVR/FDR combination usually tells a pretty complete tale).

Quoting AF1624 (Thread starter):
don't you think that placing discreet and very small cameras (even smaller than the GoPro - which is doable because you can place the hard drive elsewhere) in the cockpit would greatly improve the way crashes and incidents are analysed ?

Not "greatly improve"...in a few cases it would provide some missing data but, for the majority of crashes, I don't think we'd learn much. The press would *love* it, which is probably an argument against it.

Quoting AF1624 (Thread starter):
With the immense capacity of modern day hard drives and their flexibility (their capacity to be written on over and over and over again unlike a tape), something like this should be doable, IMHO.

As noted, it's not a technology problem, although for crash survivability you don't want to use a hard drive. It would be a far more expensive device than you think.

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 6):
I am all for it, but to have really added value the recording must be expanded by showing in detail what the instruments are displaying to the crew on the flight deck. Only then can you draw better conclusions on why a certain manoeuvre was made, or was not made.

If we really want to go down this path, I think the better thing to record is the displays and a rear-looking shot of the crew so you know where they're looking. That's the one big piece that a CVR/FDR doesn't yet tell you...what was on what display/panel/gauge at the time the crew was looking at it.

I do think the display thing is a bit of a red herring though...with modern digital-format flight decks, I've never heard of even a theoretical case where what was displayed was different than what was recorded on the FDR. The really interesting part is where the crew is looking at a particular time.

Tom.


User currently offlineTCASAlert From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3889 times:

The resistance has always been by the pilots. I myself think it is an excellent idea and would help immensely. You probably wouldn't need to see exactly what is seen on the instruments, the FDR records all of that data anyway. Just to be able to see what the crew's reaction to those was, and an idea through the window of the issue they experienced.

I don't see why pilots should be so resistant to it, after all what do they have to hide? They are in a workplace and in any other workplace employees are monitored constantly (including trains, buses etc), so why not pilots? If anything happens they have CVR anyway.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 7):
As noted, it's not a technology problem, although for crash survivability you don't want to use a hard drive. It would be a far more expensive device than you think.

SSD would probably be the way to go. My £100 camcorder records in 1080P to an SD card, however the main expense would be getting the devices certified for flight. Your £100 camcorder could easily turn into several £1000 by the time it has been certified.


User currently offlinenorcal From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2459 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3764 times:

Quoting TCASAlert (Reply 8):
I don't see why pilots should be so resistant to it, after all what do they have to hide? They are in a workplace and in any other workplace employees are monitored constantly (including trains, buses etc), so why not pilots? If anything happens they have CVR anyway.

Inevitably this would get leaked to the press and the last thing I'd ever want my family to see is the moment of my death.

The press truly has no respect what-so-ever for victims families. How many inappropriate videos have been released over the years of brutal crimes taking place? With you-tube, 24 hour news, etc. it would be unavoidable.

Could you imagine if for example a hijacking type scenario was recorded? Would we really want video of the hijackers slitting the throats of crew members?

There is just a potential level of gruesomeness that simply isn't needed. As others have said it doesn't really add to the investigation. The only thing it might identify is signs of fatigue, (assuming the video is high enough quality) but investigators can usually establish that anyways when they look back at the previous days of the crew members life.

Take the Colgan crash for example, the FDR and CVR established that the inexperienced and poorly trained crew responded inappropriately to the stall. What more would a video tell us?


User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9826 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3692 times:

Depending on the Flight Data Recorder, virtually every switch, control, setting as well as status, alert, caution message are recorded. There's no need for video with the level of detail. As someone who has read through DFDR data it usually provides more than you need although a video would make things a lot easier and quicker to piece together rather than thousands of lines and columns in an excel spreadsheet. Afterall the majority of the time when DFDR data is analyzed, it is not because of a fatal crash. It is used quite frequently in troubleshooting erroneous, nuisance or intermittent messages.


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offline71Zulu From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3088 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3685 times:

I remember when AA had cockpit cameras on the DC-10 but I believe they just pointed out the windshield and you couldn't really see anything the pilots were doing. I don't see much of a problem with this and could show weather, runway hazards, collision or other things not recorded by current equipment.


The good old days: Delta L-1011s at MSY
User currently offlineAF1624 From France, joined Jul 2006, 665 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3620 times:

Quoting norcal (Reply 9):
Could you imagine if for example a hijacking type scenario was recorded? Would we really want video of the hijackers slitting the throats of crew members?

Well I don't see the difference between this and the various murder/beating/theft videos that are available on the internet related to mere cash machine robberies or local store robberies or gang fights, etc. It has a sensationalist feel to it, I do agree, but then again controlling leaks is quite easier in the aviation world as well. Or so it seems.

If it actually helps the investigation, I honestly don't think the idea is bad.

Plus, there's the fact that it would ADD one more source of data for analysis during an investigation. It gives three sources total, instead of two. A video usually comes with sound so that would give investigators :

FDR
CVR
Cockpit Video Recorder + Voice Recorder

I do think it would make the investigations easier. You wouldn't have to listen to some precise seconds of the CVR over and over and over again just to understand who's in the cockpit, who's flicking what switch, who's looking at what gauges, who's yawning, etc.



Cheers
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21876 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3585 times:

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 12):
Well I don't see the difference between this and the various murder/beating/theft videos that are available on the internet related to mere cash machine robberies or local store robberies or gang fights, etc.

Those are crimes. Aviation accidents are not crimes (though things have been moving slowly in that direction - a trend that needs to be reversed).

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20358 posts, RR: 59
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3585 times:

Quoting RubberJungle (Reply 1):

The problem was always the resistance of pilots to being subject to video monitoring, as well as the possible leaking of video footage to the public in the same way that audio is leaked today.

ATC audio is freely available online and by sticking an antenna in the air.

Here's my question: in which accident investigations would cockpit video have really added that much to the investigation? If you know what they crew are saying and what control inputs they are selecting, what does actually seeing them add? Even a low-res video feed adds a lot of bandwidth to the existing FDR/CVR data. Is it justified?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21876 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3492 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
ATC audio is freely available online and by sticking an antenna in the air.

But you're not hearing (unless there's a stuck mic, which has happened with some embarrassing consequences) the cockpit conversation that the CVR picks up.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinevirginblue4 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 916 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3459 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Those are crimes. Aviation accidents are not crimes (though things have been moving slowly in that direction - a trend that needs to be reversed).

But he was quoting hijackings and slitting throats. That IS a crime.



The amazing tale of flight.
User currently onlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3594 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3415 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
Here's my question: in which accident investigations would cockpit video have really added that much to the investigation? If you know what they crew are saying and what control inputs they are selecting, what does actually seeing them add? Even a low-res video feed adds a lot of bandwidth to the existing FDR/CVR data. Is it justified?

Take a look at the recent UPS accident in the Middle East:

How much smoke was in the cockpit?
How rapid was the smoke buildup?
Where did the Capt go?
Did the Capt find the O2 bottle he was looking for?



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User currently offlineAF1624 From France, joined Jul 2006, 665 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3322 times:

Quoting virginblue4 (Reply 16):
But he was quoting hijackings and slitting throats. That IS a crime.

Indeed.

I can think of some flights where video would have been very useful:

Fedex 705 (1994)

Pacific Southwest Flight 1771

AF447 (the crew actions remain relatively unclear - the exact position and actions of the captain when he came back to the cockpit are also unclear)

Etc.



Cheers
User currently offlineRebelDJ From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3072 times:

I think this report - http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%20762.pdf - does a pretty good job of summarising the arguments.

User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5162 posts, RR: 43
Reply 20, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2944 times:

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 18):
I can think of some flights where video would have been very useful:

Fedex 705 (1994)

Pacific Southwest Flight 1771

Useful, how?
In that you would have liked to see what happened out of morbid curiosity, or it would solve the investigation. As both of those crashes have been "solved".

I am sitting here thinking if there has been any unsolved crash whereby a cockpit video would have shown what did happen.

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 17):
Take a look at the recent UPS accident in the Middle East:

How much smoke was in the cockpit?
How rapid was the smoke buildup?
Where did the Capt go?
Did the Capt find the O2 bottle he was looking for?

Yup, I'll wager this would have been really really really cool to see, but in no way would have aided in solving the accident. The cause was pretty apparent right from the start.

And that is the battle going on right now.

In today's "I want pictures" instant gratification age, everyone wants a video of the occurrence within seconds. A cockpit video would be great for CNN, and YouTube, but likely wouldn't aid in the investigation at all.

I recall very shortly after the Alaska MD-80 went down off of LAX, CNN was airing the final seconds of the CVR. The news reporter was bragging that the Millions spent in bribing the FAA Inspector for a copy of the CVR before it was publicly released was worth it in ratings alone!

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 12):
Well I don't see the difference between this and the various murder/beating/theft videos that are available on the Internet related to mere cash machine robberies or local store robberies or gang fights, etc.

The difference in these cases, and the other non-aviation ones mentioned above, is that there is no alternate means of solving the "crime" like there is in the cockpit of an airliner in the FDR and CVR.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinethreepoint From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 2188 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2905 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
Here's my question: in which accident investigations would cockpit video have really added that much to the investigation?
Quoting longhauler (Reply 20):
I am sitting here thinking if there has been any unsolved crash whereby a cockpit video would have shown what did happen.

Egyptair flight 990. Deliberate action by the FO or not?



The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
User currently offlinedfambro From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 346 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2879 times:

These conversations about cockpit monitoring really whipsaw around. In the AF447 threads there was extensive discussion on how hard it is to interpret CVR data, how experts need to pour over it with expensive specialist equipment for days trying to decipher noises, etc., but as soon as video is brought up it seems many folks can fathom that there would be any usefulness because the CVR plus FDR so easily tells you everything you could possibly want to know. I don't see how both those views can be correct, and since the first one is correct, that would rule out the second view.

To me it seems clear there should be video monitoring, probably from multiple vantage points.

As for the argument that there might be morbid curiousity in the videos, I think that's irrelevant to the discussion.

For those arguing that they can't think of a crash where video data would have helped, please remember that you don't know all that you don't know about what was going on in the cockpit. Video could suggest a completely new dimension that you, and the investigators, hadn't previously considered.


User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5162 posts, RR: 43
Reply 23, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2843 times:

Quoting threepoint (Reply 21):
Egyptair flight 990. Deliberate action by the FO or not?

That was the only example I could think of ... until I looked at the DFDR info. During the "battle" one elevator was full up, and one was full down. For those that know the B767, it is pretty apparent what was going on in the cockpit.

Quoting dfambro (Reply 22):
To me it seems clear there should be video monitoring, probably from multiple vantage points.

Believe it or not, AF447 is probably a bad example, as with the very sophisticated DFDR of the A330 just about every switch position and system function is known. Perhaps on an older aircraft, with a lesser FDR, a video recording would be more useful.

Quoting dfambro (Reply 22):
As for the argument that there might be morbid curiosity in the videos, I think that's irrelevant to the discussion.

Says you. But ... for those that oppose, that is 99% of the reason. It is very relevant, and until the governing bodies can guarantee the security of these videos, it is not likely to happen.

Quoting dfambro (Reply 22):
Video could suggest a completely new dimension that you, and the investigators, hadn't previously considered.

Accident Investigation is my area of schooling and expertise. I have participated in many investigations where all information is welcomed. I have also participated in many investigations where there has been "too much" information, but I have never seen an investigation whereby the result was not immediately apparent after reviewing the CVR and DFDR information.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineTCASAlert From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2806 times:

Quoting threepoint (Reply 21):
Egyptair flight 990. Deliberate action by the FO or not?

Also (controversial, I know), but UA93. Video footage would be able to be released showing exactly what happened - was it really a case of passengers overpowering the hijackers in an act of mass heroism or the result of military force as the conspiracy theorists would claim. If there were video footage it would be one in the eye for the conspiracy theorists.


25 RubberJungle : Sadly, I disagree. Conspiracy theorists don't use evidence to form a conclusion. They form a conclusion, and then cherry-pick the evidence, dismissin
26 threepoint : I certainly don't know the B767, but I do suppose that 'disagreement' between elevators (I assume you meant one yoke was full forward while the other
27 longhauler : Yes, that's right. On the B767, and in fact most transport aircraft, the left control column controls the left elevator, and right control column con
28 dfambro : Well, the best people to tell us whether image recorders would help for AF447 are the investigators themselves. Let's see what they say about it. Fro
29 longhauler : And yet ... the cause of that accident is pretty well known, 100% What additional information do you think could be gained by a cockpit video? I rece
30 Post contains images EPA001 : I completely disagree with this. You might want to read this report: I think the video can always be helpful in solving cases. Maybe we know the most
31 dfambro : It comes down to what you mean by "cause". Sure, we know 100% that AF447 stalled, which caused it to fall out of the sky. But we don't know what "cau
32 longhauler : On every investigation in which I participated, in either an active or passive role, we have made many recommendations. This is a part of the process
33 Post contains images EPA001 : Thanks for your extensive reply. . Though I am no expert on the issue, my gut feeling tells me it can not hurt to add video. The costs do not have to
34 threepoint : The costs in this case may be offset by the removal of the navigation systems and requirement of a First Officer, as Siri the iPilot could likely per
35 tdscanuck : The two views aren't incompatible, you're just misstating them. FDR is hard to interpret because there's so much data...a huge amount of synthesis ha
36 ghifty : Exactly. People think the Moon Landing footage is fake. People believe what they want to believe... unfortunately, that goes both ways. LOL.
37 9MMPQ : It's been a while but didn't that crew already report visibility problems within the cockpit due to the smoke, so much so that they required ATC guid
38 Mir : But that's not what the video would be for. You don't need cockpit video to establish that the pilots didn't slit their own throats. Video footage sh
39 Hypoxik : Won't happen. This is a huge violation of the cockpit. I can't think of a situation that video would give answers that the CVR and FDR couldn't. Espec
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