Sir - I would like to clarify some statements attributed to me in the article "Caught on camera" (Flight International, 1-7 January, P35).
DM Aerospace is concentrating on the use of internal and external video cameras as airliner-safety enhancements. We have developed an aircraft video flight recorder in co-operation with British Aerospace (Systems & Equipment)
Eurocae is to publish a minimum operating performance specification for video cameras used on commercial aircraft by 1999, and the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch position is that "-cockpit video recording is potentially the most powerful investigative tool for the future".
External video cameras can give the pilot of a commercial aircraft information which is unobtainable by any other means. Airlines recognise that cabin crew can often see and assess external damage and fires which are invisible to the pilot. The most senbible approach would be to present the flightdeck crew with the information, allowing the cabin crew to carry out its primary duties of passenger care.
Executive-aircraft owners are interested in cost-effective improvements to their flight safety. Video systems can be used for in-flight safety checks, for final ground checks by the flightdeck crew and for ground-security checks. The provision of video links to the cabin is incidental to the main purpose.
The system aboard the private Gulfstream IV described in the article was installed some five years ago by another company, although DM Aerospace has the contract to update that system.
The article took no account of the advances in video-camera and recording technologies. These have resulted in much higher light sensitivities in the camera, with wide-ranging electronic shutters coping with the highest light levels while maintaining the full sensitivity of the camera at night. High-resolution digital video recordings produce high-quality results without the degradation experienced in re-recording magnetic video tapes. High-reliability video systems designed for use in aircraft are now available from many manufacturers.
Source: Flight International