Cameras in the Cockpit

By J. Gerry Purdy  |  Posted 2010-03-18 Print this article Print

Cameras in the cockpit

The first thing we need to do is install cameras in the cockpit that can be turned on in justified situations to see if there is something wrong. Or, the cameras could be on all the time and have the images recorded in the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

The most important thing we need to do is add technology to allow the FAA to take over the control of any flight over United States airspace if there are indications of problems onboard that would interfere with the safety of the flight. Humans make mistakes. Worse, they do bad things.

Look at what happened on Oct. 31, 1999. EgyptAir Flight 990 was flying from Los Angeles to New York and then on to Cairo, Egypt. At around 01:50 E.T., the plane plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, in international waters, killing all of the 217 people onboard. [Note: I had a friend that was onboard this flight and I subsequently raised money for a scholarship in his name at Stanford University].

An FAA investigation concluded that first officer Gameel Al-Batouti was suffering from depression and decided to commit suicide and take the entire flight with him into the ocean. The captain had gone to the restroom, then noticed the problem and tried to re-take command of the plane-but the copilot proved stronger and the flight went into the ocean. The flight deviated from its assigned altitude of 33,000 feet and dived to 16,000 feet for over 44 seconds, then climbed to 24,000 and began a final dive, hitting the Atlantic Ocean in about two and a half minutes.

J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC.
Dr. Purdy has been covering mobile, wireless, cloud & enterprise for the past 20+ years. He writes analysis and recommendations each week in an easy-to-read manner that helps people better understand important technology issues and assist them in making better technology purchasing decisions.

Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in a column. If that situation happens, then IÔÇÖll disclose it at that time.

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