NTSB calls for weather cameras in Hawaii, mainland US

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In response to a string of aviation accidents, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) install weather cameras at "high risk" locations in Hawaii and in mountain regions of the continental USA.

The NTSB says real-time colour images from the cameras should be made publicly available, and recommends that ground staff be trained to provide pilots with in-flight verbal descriptions of the images, according a 15 August report from the NTSB.

Eventually, camera images could be transmitted directly to pilots in the cockpit, says the NTSB.

The board makes the recommendations after examining a number of accidents in which small aircraft, including fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, flew unexpectedly into adverse weather while operating under visual flight rules.

Many of those aircraft were operating sight-seeing flights.

In recent years the FAA has installed weather cameras at 185 of 221 planned locations in remote areas of Alaska as part of an effort to improve aviation safety there.

Installation of the cameras coincided with a 53% decline in the rate of weather-related aviation accidents, according to the NTSB, citing FAA data.