This week my country Indonesia just had an Airplane crash accident Sriwijaya Air SJ182.

I'm getting sick with people speculating why or how the plane crashed. Well, we can wait for the black box analysis, but that will took quite a long time before we know how the plane crashed.

And the visualization of the crash accident will always end up the same. Speculating how it crashed based from data in the Black box.

Why can't we just put several cameras in the body of the airplane? I know there are clouds, rain water, lightning strike, and thunderstorm (can't we protect/shield the camera?)

Basically I wanted to ask the same as this question here : Why don't airlines have in-flight video recordings like buses do? (but I mean more like "record the flight from outside instead from the inside")

Now look at SpaceX Falcon9 rocket launches that had become very routine. They always have cameras. I'm sure Falcon9 Rockets also passing through Clouds, rain water, Thunderstorm and lightning strike just like the Airplanes... SpaceX cameras just works fine even to the outer space.

So, I was thinking, like the title suggest, "Why didn't the industry start copying SpaceX method of putting a camera on the body of the Airplane so we could see how an airplane crash??

If there is an airplane accident, we can visualize how it crash more faster with "real evidence (video footage)" instead of speculating with Black Box recordings

I think it's time for Aviation Industry to add more innovative ways how to record a flight instead of just using Black Box (no visual)... They didn't want to spend some money to buy cameras and for its maintenance?

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    $\begingroup$ Many Emirates planes have external cameras that passengers can view on the inflight entertainment screens. However, I don't know if they record the footage. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ A couple things I can think of - how is the safe operation of the aircraft improved by having a camera, are you going to transmit the video stream to some earthbound station or record it locally, how much would you say is reasonable to spend to certify and install theses systems on aircraft? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @selectstriker2 well, Aviation Company should be ashamed.. Then why Military Aircraft has camera recordings (like in cockpit) while Commercial Airplanes didn't have visual recordings $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ Your understanding of a black box is deeply flawed. Modern black boxes (they're actually orange) record much more data than a camera could. The visualisations based on that data are not speculation. They're accurate reconstructions of the behaviour of the plane and include instrument and control position data that you simply couldn't capture with a camera. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 22:47
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    $\begingroup$ This is a rant, phrased as a question. At best, answers will be opinion-based. Since Av.SE is not a platform for users' opinions (there are plenty of other forums for that), I'm voting to close this question. (It's quite clear from the discussion in the comments above that the OP is far less interested in answers explaining the world as it is, than in voicing his opinions.) $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


The question is a bit of a rant and unfortunately this answer will be too. I apologise in advance.

Suppose there was a SpaceX launch and the camera showed the explosion of the vehicle. How would that camera's footage help determine the cause? It wouldn't tell you if it was a leaky valve, a burst fuel pipe or a failed pump, for example.

A camera on the outside of an aircraft is unlikely to give you any information about why the aircraft crashed. It may show damage but it won't show the cause of the damage. It won't tell you how high the aircraft was, what the engine settings were, how the control surfaces were being operated. Also, all aircraft would need to stream or record their video for that to be available to accident investigators.

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder provide detailed and extensive information about the state of the aircraft before, during and usually after whatever incident occurred. They provide real evidence and they are used to create an accurate and detailed represenation of what went wrong and why, it's not 'speculation'. If a SpaceX rocket failed, the investigation would examine the pressurisation of the fuel pipes, the valve settings and the load on the pump, not the video footage.

As far as transparency is concerned, the International Civil Aviation Organization regulates commercial aviation and airline operators who fly between countries sign up to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), article 26 of which concerns the investigation of accidents. Notice that the investigation is carried out by the state where the incident occurred, not the manufacturer or the airline.

There are many reasons why commercial aviation is the safest form of transport, not fitting cameras to the outside of an aircraft isn't one of them.


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