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Mandated Cockpit Video Recorders, Pilot Suicide And Why Cockpit Cameras Are A Terrible Idea That Will Probably Happen Anyway

The NTSB, in its usual way, wants every kind of data on every moment of flight. One of the last frontiers is video.

Mandated cockpit video recorders made the NTSB's annual list of highest-priority safety improvements in the transportation sector.
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The NTSB, in issuing its annual list of highest-priority safety improvements in the transportation sector, has included something that it points out has been suggested to the FAA for years—requiring cockpit video recorders, which they refer to as cockpit “image” recorders, in commercial airliners. The NTSB cited crashes in Texas (a Boeing 767, Atlas Air flight, which crashed near Houston two years ago), and Ethiopia, presumably Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa in 2019. They could have referenced a few others, as well.

As we all know, commercial aircraft are required to have both flight data recorders (FDRs)—which capture what’s happening with the airplane and its systems every fraction of a second—and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs), which, just as the name suggests, record what’s going on, noise-wise, in the cockpit at all times. In both cases, the technology is designed to record to media that is protected by incredibly strong shells, so that even after a crash, the data is most likely somewhere for investigators to find. And in most cases, they do.

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