Skip to comments.FAA Considers Video Cameras Inside Planes
Posted on 10/03/2003 2:43:13 PM PDT by GeneD
Filed at 5:19 p.m. ET
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The federal government is looking into putting video cameras on commercial flights so people on the ground could monitor pilots and passengers and get an early warning of hijackings or other trouble on board.
The Boeing Co. demonstrated a satellite system to Federal Aviation Administration officials in two test flights early this year, showing how images could be sent from a plane to the ground, said John Loynes, an FAA program manager in Washington. A Boeing 737, equipped with seven cameras, transmitted images of the cockpit and cabin.
Pilots have fiercely opposed efforts to put cameras in cockpits as an infringement of their authority. Passenger advocates have supported cameras as a way to prevent terrorist acts.
FAA officials stressed that the tests, conducted in January and February, were preliminary. There will be further tests and the agency is far from deciding whether or how to use the technology, said Marcia Adams, an agency spokeswoman.
About 20 federal and Boeing workers, most of them engineers, were on board the round-trip flights from Seattle. Federal air marshals also tested Boeing technology that allows the use of hand-held devices to transmit video and to speak with and send data from the air to workers on the ground, Loynes said.
One camera showed the pilots from behind, one was in first class and the others showed the rest of the passenger area. Workers on the ground, at Boeing offices in Seattle and in McLean, Va., could choose which camera view to look at by touching a computer screen, said Joseph J. Tedino, a Boeing spokesman.
Loynes described the tests as successful, with a few glitches in which video images were briefly garbled.
``There were no insurmountable problems,'' he said.
The tests were part of Boeing's 2002 contract with the FAA to test various security technologies.
Boeing officials discussed the technology at a recent security conference in New Orleans. The city of Denver uses a similar video system to monitor part of its public transit system.
For more than a decade, the FAA has considered various plans to put video cameras in airplanes. In 2000, National Transportation Safety Board officials pushed a plan for cockpit cameras, saying they aid air crash investigators.
The proposal was dropped after stiff opposition from pilots, who were concerned that cameras could lead to a dilution of pilots' control over decisions made during flights. Pilots said workers on the ground could misinterpret video images and give orders based on incomplete information.
But advocates for air passengers say cameras would make air travel safer by preventing terrorism and hijackings.
David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said cameras would allow officials to assess the seriousness of a disturbance in the cabin. Officials on the ground could then talk about the problem with the flight crew members, who could learn about the situation without having to leave the cockpit.
``In the old days, one of the flight crew could come out and check things out, but they can't do that anymore,'' Stempler said. ``These days, we want to keep the cockpit impenetrable to terrorists or hijackers.''
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It is in the breaking news sidebar!
Suicidal Terrorists - drop your weapons. You are on our video camera now.
Maybe twenty years ago you would have been correct. I'm not so sure today.
I recall a story about a pilot that got in trouble for putting on a "Wookie hand" with which he pushed the throttles forward while the "takeoff cam" was running.
The idea is to see if the plane has been compromised because the pilot is not armed (thanks for nothing TSA and your boss, W), so they can send up a jet to blow it from the sky.
You see, in the dim minds of the Republicrats, a stray pistol shot is far more dangerous to passengers than an air to air missile.
This is the administration's idea of armed pilots:
First they refuse to perform logical profilling (just how many blond females over the age of 40 get the Full Monty at the airports) then cameras to spy on everyone, including the captains and co-pilots.
Probably will catch flight attendants napping or grabbing extra pretzels and soft drinks, but in the name of security (or just CYAs for ignoring the felons hired by this bunch of idiots) deny the public's right not to be treated like criminals until we can prove otherwise.
I would like to see videos made during elections to prevent voter fraud. Suddenly Democrats and the trial lawyers would lose 20 percent of their votes.
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