The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended the compulsory installation of cockpit video recorders in turbine-powered aircraft which at present are not required to carry flight data recorders (FDRs).

The NTSB recommendation springs from its investigation of a 1997 Scenic Airlines Cessna 208B Caravan crash in Montrose, Colorado. All eight people on board were killed.

Since no approved crash-survivable video device is available, the NTSB has recommended that the US Federal Aviation Administration draw up a technical standard order based on a proposal by the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment. Video installation should take place within five years of the order, says the NTSB. The purpose is to give investigators a record of aircraft instrument readings and pilot actions.

The primary cause of the Scenic Airlines crash was judged to be the pilot's failure to maintain adequate flying speed while manoeuvring near maximum gross weight and with an aft centre of gravity. The NTSB reported, however, that "during the past two years, [its] investigation of several accidents involving Cessna 208s and similar aircraft have been hampered by the lack of FDR and cockpit voice recorder information."

Source: Flight International