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Airline crews, your opinions please

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Airline crews, your opinions please

Old 7th Sep 2005, 08:13
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Airline crews, your opinions please

As part of a case study for my engineering course I am looking into CCTV/videophone communication and surveillance systems for airliners.

Some airlines have already fitted systems to look into the cabin from the flightdeck using conventional and IR cameras without having to leave your seat. Some make use of a retrofitted screen in the centre console, some are integrated into the EFB.

As you are probably aware, the cabin crew of the fateful Helios flight took over two hours to find out that both flightdeck crew had been incapacitated, enter the flightdeck and attempt to resuscitate the crew and/or make an emergency landing. While the investigation is still under way and it is probably not all that straightforward, my view is that if the cabin crew had the ability to "look" into the flightdeck from the cabin this tragedy could have been avoided.

Such a system might incorporate an expansion to the existing interphone system to integrate cameras and screens. If there is, for whatever reason, no response to a call from the cabin, the cabin crew would be able to see what the deal is and take immediate action.

I have in the past read fierce arguments against cameras on the flightdeck on PPRuNe, that's why I'm asking for your opinion. So:

- Do you think a way for flightdeck crew to look in the cabin using cameras improves safety?
- Vice versa (cabin to flightdeck)?

Note: Some airlines might choose to go one step further and use this system to record flightdeck crew performance. As this goes beyond the scope of this case study the system will probably not be designed to include recording capabilities, but please feel free to discuss.
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 09:53
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Do you think a way for flightdeck crew to look in the cabin using cameras improves safety
Yes because thats where the terrorists are likely to be hiding. It also allows us gauge how close to securing the cabin the crew are.

Vice versa (cabin to flightdeck)
Not at all. Unless they happen to be trained and rated on the aircraft type and have been watching us for a long time they'll have no idea what we're doing so whats the point? If they don't get a response from us within an appropriate timeframe then there are perfectly satisfactory back up procedures in my company.
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 10:05
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The point of the vice versa question is not so much to allow the cabin to monitor everything the flightdeck is doing, but rather to provide the cabin with another tool to ascertain any suspicious activity, or lack of activity altogether.

But if there are insufficient reasons to warrant the presence of a camera on the flightdeck (for whatever reason), what would be the arguments against it?
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 10:12
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Cost. If they want to know whats going on in the flight deck then they can pick up the phone and call. If there's no response then there are means to allow them access to the flight deck. Installing an expensive cockpit surveillance camera is simply spending money for the sake of it as perfectly adequate procedures already exist.
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 10:17
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Point taken, thank you

Any more?
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 10:20
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There will always be resistance to anything that to some smacks of a spy in the cab (Sir, I am indebted to be called a glorified bus driver, however did he know?). But surely the critical factor is the "golden time" i.e. how long does it take before suspicion of incapacitation is transformed into certainty? If the pilots are most likely to be beyond resuscitation by the time "other procedures" have been exhausted would a camera, properly used, have prevented this? If the answer is yes, even a qualified yes, it bears thinking about.
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 10:47
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I am one of the seemingly few airline pilots who wouldn't mind cameras in the flight deck, as long as they were properly used (ie NEVER by the management and only for accident investigation or viewing by the CREW THEMSELVES for personal debriefing).

I think cameras in the cabin to look for incapacitation are a waste of money. The cabin crew can call and if unanswered can apply the "other procedures".

You have to look a bit further beyond the cameras too. What happens if say both pilots have passed out due to lack of oxygen - what would the cabin crew actually do to remedy the situation?

A number of the things reported by the media about the Helios accident have since been discredited (the text message especially) and I think there is a lot of supposition around. The likelihood that cabin crew were conscious and the flight crew not, in what little I know of the situation looks unlikely. It is also such a low possibility that both pilots will be unconscious and the rest of the aircraft OK. Sleep is a different matter and is easily remedied by current procedures.

Secondly, what happens if the system is unservicable? Can you still fly, and if so, how long before it needs to be repaired? What about passengers, could they see it too? If so, they could easily overpower the cabin crew and look and wait until one of us was ready to use the loo.

Also, why spend zillions on a camera, when a spy hole would do? No need to worry about whether the camera records or not. If it is just a device to see whether the pilots are still alive or not, then why make it complicated? To go super high tech, it could be fitted with a wire locked cover and used for emergencies only.

I wouldn't like to see a screen where we could be watched. Many crew don't suitably understand what we actually do, and I would be loathe to be critiscised by what someone saw on the "telly".
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 10:49
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Well speaking as a mysoginist, they are only useful if there area bevvy of young lasses in the kitchen, bit of ogling and all that.
Your bird major.
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Old 7th Sep 2005, 13:23
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nail, head, when I nod.... hit it

Well said Carnage Matey!

Bart, I think your remarks award you the clap (is that not the same as applause?), my English fails me or do I mean words fail me? And why is a misogynist leering at a bevy of ladies? Have you had too much to bevvy?

J_R, a peephole is looking from the back to the front and is not very expressive. May your camera not be mounted overhead looking down and to the rear (smile please!)

Peephole and camera not mutually exclusive. Camera fails we still fly but are more attentive to the "other procedures".

But C_M is probably correct. William of Occam (he must surely be French) thought that given a choice, the simplest is probably nearer to truth and beauty.

Ah!! I see bart o'lynn at the peephole and now I understand.

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Old 7th Sep 2005, 18:02
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A peephole.... now why didn't I think of that?

Reminds me of this anecdote I keep hearing about the space race... of course one needs to be able to write in space, so the Americans spent millions of dollars engineering a ballpoint pen that would work in the weightlessness of outer space, and what did the Russians do?

They brought pencils.

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Old 7th Sep 2005, 19:29
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Graphite pencil flakes = havoc in weightlessness amongst electrics.
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Old 9th Sep 2005, 08:48
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RJ100 has quite a large peephole into the flight deck, which can enable cabin crew or passengers to look in, provided we haven't used the cover on the inside of the flight deck door to block access.

But even if cabin crew could look in to see us slumped, how would they be able to in through our locked door?

Maybe the Helios jet had a differnt access system, but our door is always locked, and can only be unlocked from inside the cockpit.
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Old 9th Sep 2005, 09:35
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I don't see any necessity for viewing the flight deck from the cabin. In fact it would be a disadvantage in these days of heightened security.

IF the official report on the Helios turns out to be what we all suspect happened then better CRM may have been their only saviour.

I've put a scenario to various Cabin Managers over the last few weeks to see what manouvre that they'd expect to "feel the aircraft do" immediately after mask deployment. I've asked what time frame they would expect this to happen in, how long they'd wait for the descent before calling us, what they'd do if nothing was forthcoming etc.
Most of the CMs were right on it, but others hadn't considered this past the usual drills.

Ask your crew what they would do - it's an excellent CRM discussion.

PS. Mike Jenvey - I'd suggest descent in 30 secs not 5 mins!

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Old 9th Sep 2005, 10:27
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A-FLOOR: http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
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Old 9th Sep 2005, 13:14
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As for the cabin crew not knowing how the cockpit was. Easy you need better cabin crew. Gee that long and no calls to check if drinks or service was needed??? Cameras are fine but common sense and a crew that comunicates well is a better.
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Old 9th Sep 2005, 23:26
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Mike J,
I had similar responses to my survey.

it's not that 'better CC are required', just that the CC SOPs should consider 'what if, how long' etc. This is one for the Cabin Crew managers in our airlines.

Remember, useful consciousness is for a short time only without the O2: they may have just 'served drinks' and have started passenger service.
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Old 10th Sep 2005, 02:33
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As an experienced No 1 (for want of any common title) I would like to think that had i not begun to feel the aircraft descend after the masks had dropped that I would think to try and initiate contact with the flight deck. However, it has always been stressed to us that in an event such as this the flight deck will be very busy dealing with the aircraft itself and that we shouldn't disturb them and therefore I may find myself reticent to initiate an interphone call / request access using the door code. I would personally find a "peephole" beneficial to be able to look in and see if the flight deck are slumped or busy. I would by no means be judging what was being done rather whether any action was being taken. Of course, in the days when it was possible to just open the door and look in then there was no need as it was possible to quietly observe without interrupting.

Last edited by Captain Stable; 12th Sep 2005 at 14:45.
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Old 10th Sep 2005, 06:59
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Thanks for all your comments and advice, you've been a great help so far

henry crun I'd appreciate if everyone would just keep quiet about that so engineers around the world can keep sneaking this one in under the radar
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Old 12th Sep 2005, 11:07
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Mike Jenvey

Thought the -300 (Helios) had a continuos flow O2 Systyem for pax...nt an OCG System...

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Old 12th Sep 2005, 11:38
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What do you expect the cabin crew to do when they see both pilots dropped dead in the cockpit through the camera? Force entry into the flight deck and land the plane or give an announcement to keep the pax informed?

IMO, the destination airport should have instruments to log onto the a/c FMC,communicate with the navigation system for speed control,STARs, arrival sequencing and autoland the plane when required. Which is basically replacement of today's verbal radar vectors. Helio's a/c would not crash if this is here.Perhaps this can happen not too far future.

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