The introduction of a video recorder in addition to the current audio and flights parameters recorders used for crash investigation (CVR and FDR) is suggested by this article (published in the New York Times in 2004) citing officials of the National Transportation Safety Board, and called image recorder in a most wanted list (published in 2012) of the FAA. Those two references shows the introduction of a video recorder is taken seriously. I don't want to debate whether this is usefull neither what should be recorded (wide angle of the whole cockpit, close view of switches and screens, black & white or color, ...).

Given the answers of this questions, the video track record's requirements should be very close to the one of the CVR, thus adding this track to the CVR seems reasonable.

If we add this video track to all tracks recorded by blackboxes, will this records to an existing blackbox (either the FDR or the CVR) or will we create a dedicated blackbox (resulting in three blackboxes)?

related questions :

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't think it's possible to answer this question clearly because in the end it's a matter of technical opinion and design. The 'best' answer might even be different for different aircraft models. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 11, 2014 at 15:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ while your attempts to salvage this question are laudable, so far it has remained, in all its declinations, opinion-based: you are asking for an opinion about what might be done if and when a video track will be needed. Since no documentation is available, everything that can be produced as an answer is speculation and thus not a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Oct 20, 2014 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico OK, I didn't understand. Given the only answer, I thought the opinion issue was on the necessity of adding the video track. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Oct 20, 2014 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


Before answering, let's look at these terms:

FDR - Flight Data Recorder

FDRs record all flight data, every button pressed, every control input etc. They record throughout the duration of the flight.

CVR - Cockpit Voice Recorder

CVRs record all voice communications through the radios and the chat pilots have between themselves. They record only the last 30-120 minutes.

So what benefit will adding a camera bring?

After an accident (God forbid) the investigators are not interested to see what was the color of pilot's shirt or was he picking his nose before he pressed a button. In addition, you would need several cameras to record every single action of the pilots, and even then it would be hard to figure out as some buttons are placed very close to each other.

FDRs solve this problem as any input from the pilots are recorded. CVRs capture all communications so the motive or reason behind any input from pilots are be found out.

I suggest you to read some NSTB investigation reports (here or here) to get a detailed idea how in-depth knowledge the investigators can get by these two instruments.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ FDR's don't record all flight data, only a limited set and at a limited rate. IIRC, currently 88 parameters need to be recorded in new build planes. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Sep 11, 2014 at 14:41
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Your answer focuses on whether or not it's useful and practical to have cameras in the cockpit, but that's not actually the question that the OP asked. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 11, 2014 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ I do not agree. It could be very informative to see that a pilot was distracted by something, or was looking at his charts when something happened. Even if a pilot was in the seat at some point in time (or is there a sensor in the chair?) $\endgroup$
    – Emile
    Mar 26, 2015 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ The NTSB disagrees with you, at least insofar that, for the past couple decades, one of their recommendations has consistently been for the FAA to require image recorders in aircraft cockpits. $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Oct 10, 2018 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Sean 1) Please provide a reference about NTSB recommending FAA. 2) I did not say that cameras are not needed. I stated that there won't be much value in capturing data elements which FDR and CVR are already capturing. 3) Yes, there will be value in adding cameras, but there several cameras will be needed to capture all motions in a cockpit. $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Oct 11, 2018 at 12:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .