The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has renewed its call for mandatory video cameras in commercial aircraft cockpits, despite fierce resistance from pilots unions.

During hearings last week at the agency's headquarters in Washington DC, the NTSB reiterated its long-standing recommendations that the US Federal Aviation Administration require video-capturing devices as an additional aid in accident investigations. Cockpit video recording devices have been on the NTSB's "most wanted" list to the FAA for four years.

Carol Carmody, chair of the NTSB hearing, says: "We are frustrated by the lack of action on this. We need to light the fires." She says cameras would have saved time and money in solving previous accidents, including the September 1998 Swissair Boeing MD-11 crash near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cameras could have helped investigators understand how the fire started and what the crews did to control it, says Carmody. Pilot groups are opposed to the plan, citing privacy and legal concerns. "Far more effective and efficient tools exist to obtain the safety data necessary to investigate an accident," says Paul Rice, a vice-president of administration with the Air Line Pilots Association.



Source: Flight International