Cockpit Video Cameras...The Issues

The National Transportation Board has recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration that all FAR Part 121, 125, and 135 passenger-carrying aircraft be equipped with cockpit video recorders, cockpit voice recorders and digital flight data recorders (Rimmer, 2000). The use of flight data information has been very useful to the National Transportation Safety Board for solving countless aircraft accidents and mishaps. The recent surge for the upgraded equipment, especially the cockpit video recorders, stems from the crashes of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades, Swissair Flight 111, which crashed off the coast of Halifax, and more recently the EgyptAir 990 crash (?Safety Board Favors Cameras For Cockpits,? 2000). The current equipment used in the aircraft today is the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder. The cockpit voice recorder records the radio transmissions between the pilots and the air traffic controllers who guide the planes to their designated areas in the air and on the ground. The cockpit voice recorder also records the sounds inside the cockpit between pilots, stall warning signals, engine noise, landing gear extension and retraction, weather briefs, and any other abnormal noises (Barker, 1999). The flight data recorder monitors certain parameters of the actual airplane such as the altitude, airspeed, compass heading, vertical acceleration and time (Maharry, 2000).
The National Transportation Safety Board wants to upgrade existing flight data recorders and implement cockpit video recorders for safety reasons and to help solve commercial airline crashes. The airline pilots are against the idea of the cockpit recorders due to the fact that they will be on camera at all times and feel that this is a breach of privacy and the film could be leaked to the media (Sher, 2000).
Affected Principles
The National Transportation Safety Board has cited that with the help of the cockpit video recorders accidents can be solved more quickly (?Safety Board Favors Cameras For Cockpits,? 2000). Pilots oppose the use of the cameras stating that it is a breach of privacy into the pilots workspace (Sher, 2000). Unions such as the Air Line Pilots Association think very much the same as the pilots do. The unions think that today's technology is sufficient enough so that cockpit video recorders are not necessary (Mann, 2000). The victims and the lawyers representing the victims want to be active participants in the National Transportation Safety Board investigation (Richfield, 2000). The upgrades and the cockpit video recorders can be beneficial to the airlines themselves. The cockpit video recorders may determine if there were flaws in the manufacturing of the aircraft or pilot error. The passengers who board the aircraft everyday will stand to benefit from the information emotionally and economically; confidence in the government to solve these issues is paramount (Hall, 1999).
How Principles Are Affected
The National Transportation Safety Board wants the cameras to show the whole cockpit to include all crewmembers. The NTSB has stated that the faces of the pilots will not be necessary in the implementation of the video cameras. Two hours of color video will be in constant use in the cockpits. The cameras need to be color due to the color coordination of some of the flight screens in the cockpit. The use of the camera can show the actual settings of the instruments also. The video can be compared to what the flight data recorder indicates. This information can be critical if both recordings show different readings (?Safety Board Calls For Cameras In The Cockpit,? 2000). The National Transportation Safety Board has indicated that the circuit breaker to the camera will be inaccessible to any of the crew during flight. This decision arises from the idea that the pilot from SilkAir737 pulled the circuit breaker to the flight data recorder before allegedly crashing the plane. (?Safety Board Calls For Cameras In The Cockpit,? 2000). The National Transportation Safety Board, along with taxpayers, will also be affected economically with the implementation of the recorders. Currently, the National Transportation Safety Board has spent more than 13 million dollars and 2,400 workdays trying to solve the crash of EgyptAir 990. Economic projections for this crash may run as high as 17 million dollars before the investigation is either solved or unsolved (Mann, 2000).
The pilots of the airlines are concerned that the