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Cameras to monitor engine fires?

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On a "National Geographic" TV show entitled "Crash Investigation" a crash was depicted in which the pilots had mistakenly closed down the wrong engine.Passengers could see flames that were impossible for the pilots to see.Can aircraft be designed to incoporate cameras that would supplement the cockpit instruments and allow the pilots to visually scan their engines?Cliff

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I believe the A380 has a camera in the tail that allows the pilot to view the whole aircraft, but I'm not sure about others. I do know that some aircraft have a gear camera that they patch into the A/V system that allows passengers to watch the outside of the plane.As far as that accident, it was back in the early 90's I believe and resulted in better communication between the flight crew, passengers and the flight deck.Ian.

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The A380 has a camera on the top of its tail, and a camera that looks behind, so that the pilot can see behind the aircraft during taxi. I can't think of any good reason why small cameras could not be placed in safe areas of a passenger jet to look at equipment. The camera would have to have its own lighting if it's in a compartment or some such. It sounds to me like such a good idea, I would imagine that it will become commonplace soon enough. Computerized storage media have come a long way, I would think that there soon would be "black boxes" that could store video information about a flight. Now, as for putting cameras in the human areas of the aircraft, there might be objections on the grounds of personal privacy issues, but that's another topic.Black boxes as they are now can hold a lot of information as it is, and are sensitive to things going on in an aircraft that might not be visible anyways. A camera may or may not help, but on the other hand, I don't see how mounting small cameras for safety would be a bad thing. It's helping with the space shuttle, so it should also help for aircraft as well.This is just my opinion, and may or may not represent any opinion AVSIM.COM could possibly have (if any) regarding this topic.Jeff ShylukSenior Staff Reviewer, Avsim

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An iteresting subject and I thank you both for your replies.Cliff

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Is this the BMI flight that crashed just short of the runway at East Midlands? Saw the same program.I too wondered why in such advanced aircraft, something so simple as a camera had been left out. With so much emphisis put on safety, it would seem a basic step and would hope it becomes common place soon.Although I watch most of the Air Crash Investigation Programs and Seconds from disaster programs, its amazing how many air crashes are caused by human error and a lack of training. The above accident involving the BMI 737-400 happened because the two pilots had a total of about 80 hours on the 737-400 (which was only a year old) and only 1 day training which didnt include any simultor training. They were didnt understand the engine vibration guage on the aircraft and chose the wrong engine. This would seem to be a very basic step before putting and pilot in any new aircraft! and its a touch worrying too!

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Yup, that's the BMI flight I meant.I share your concern.It's both surprising and worrying. It would be interesting to pose this question to an experienced airline pilot.Cliff

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Part of the NFP's, none or not flying pilot, duties is to monitor aircraft systems during a flight. He/she is responsible for noticing any abnormalities in instrument or systems displays. This way in an emergency the FP, flying pilot, can rely on the information from the NFP and not have to divert his/her attention away from flying the aircraft. In the case of an engine problem the FP should only have to ask the NFP, "which engine?", and then respond (fly the aircraft) accordingly. This, of course, requires full knowledge of all the systems and corresponding instrumentation so that one knows what is normal and what is not.John M

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>Yup, that's the BMI flight I meant.>>I share your concern.It's both surprising and worrying. It>would be interesting to pose this question to an experienced>airline pilot.>>CliffFrankly the idea is insulting. The BMI pilots made a mistake and shut down the wrong engine because of their inexperience with the new digital gauges and the fact that they were in a hurry. They did not VERIFY by BOTH pilots the problem and corrective action.Besides the way a camera is mounted could easily cause more confusion as the view may instill in the pilots mind that they are looking at the right engine when in fact they are looking at the left.This accident simply enhanced the CRM process into what it is today. The idea of a camera system is not needed, imho. As a direct result of this certain actions are now mandated by SOP to be verified by both pilots doing an emergency checklist including: throttle movements, fuel shutoff, hydraulic switches, fire handles, etc.

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Surely pilots should be able to tell the right side of the plane from the left side!Dave

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ISTM there are two possibilities:1. the camera sees something that the instruments don't. Have no idea how likely that is, but other than a fire or burst pressurized fluid line, both of which should also be seen by instruments, I'm not sure what a camera would reveal.2. Confirm engine instruments. But if a crew can't correctly determine the affected engine using instruments, I'm not sure how likely a camera would correct their mistake.scott s..

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>ISTM there are two possibilities:>>1. the camera sees something that the instruments don't. >Have no idea how likely that is, but other than a fire or>burst pressurized fluid line, both of which should also be>seen by instruments, I'm not sure what a camera would reveal.>>2. Confirm engine instruments. But if a crew can't correctly>determine the affected engine using instruments, I'm not sure>how likely a camera would correct their mistake.>>scott s.>.>Yeah, i guess instruments will give most of the details, but in aviation every bit of information that can be given to the crew should be.So in the BMI crash, the crew would have been able to see which engine waas on fire and shut it down - not the good engine by mistake -at the cost of mounting a camera.Dave

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>Surely pilots should be able to tell the right side of the>plane from the left side!>>Davejust as surely as they don't shut down the working engine in a stressful situation.

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>>just as surely as they don't shut down the working engine in a>stressful situation.That's the key here,..."stressfull situation". It's amazing how time seems to speed up when you're under great duress or stress. Decisions need to be made fast. Adding another step to the event, like cross checking your instruments with a camera display sounds logical if you had the time, but in a real life emergency (especially one concerning fire) that time just isn't there.John M

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Actually, the blame for this can be shared by the airline and the pilots, and not on the lack of a camera to see the engine.It should have been apparent to the crew from the instrumentation where the issue lay (that is why the instrumentation is there), and it would have been apparent if they had bothered to familiarise themselves with the aircraft instead of assuming it was the same as an older variant they knew. And if they were not totally confident in their abilities with the aircraft, they should have bloody well said so. That they didn't, I find a remarkably haphazard way to go about a job where people's lives are in your hands. And as it turned out, their incorrect actions and lack of familiarity compounded the problem during the final moments of the flight too.The airline is to blame for allowing such poorly qualified pilots to operate a flight and then making this worse by suggesting a diversion that was clearly for the airline's convenience rather than the safety of the passengers and crew, and then failing to provide engineering support to the crew with regard to the problem, which the pilots should have asked for, given their lack of experience with the model they were flying. The pilot and co-pilot were under no obligation to abide by the company's suggestion however, and given their unfamiliarity with the aircraft, their decision to go with it displayed an appalling lack of common sense and good judgement.Further to the pilot and co-pilot's poor decision making, the cabin crew also failed to report to the cockpit their observations about which engine was faulty (not that they should have really needed to, since one would assume a pilot could read his instruments properly, considering it is his job), which is again demonstrative of poor crew interaction and communication. The cabin crew are not mere trolley-dollies, they are responsible for the safety of the passengers and I daresay they should have taken that responsibility a bit more seriously.What makes matters worse is that the crew were well aware of a problem whilst in range of several airports capable of handling the Boeing 737 - the initial fault occurred whilst they were at 28,000 feet climbing up to cruise, and they could have probably glided a 737 to France from that height, let alone a nearby airport, but at the suggestion of British Midland Operations, they elected to divert to East Midlands, instead of worrying about the prime area of concern, which is to get the thing down in one piece safetly, and not to see if you can wing it back to one of your main bases of operation because you think it will make life easier from a maintenance point of view.Any pilot unfamiliar with an aircraft that detects a problem and decides to push on to anywhere other than the nearest available runway is asking for trouble, and many people ended up paying for those poor decisions in the resulting crash. All of this clearly inadequate crew survived this crash (albeit with some injuries), but both pilots were sacked, although personally, I think they should both be in jail for such a display of criminal stupidity and 'get-home-itis'.I live in a town where another British Midland plane crashed many years ago, my father actually being one of the first people on the scene and rescuing some of the passengers. That one was caused by negligence too. And I can assure you that because of British Midland's appalling displays of safety in the UK, they are the last airline on earth that I would choose to fly with, and I don't care how many CRM courses they claim to have instigated and how many cute little BMI Baby adverts they put out, I'll never fly with them.

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>Surely pilots should be able to tell the right side of the plane from the left side!Ah, but the angle between the camera and the engine could lead to a misleading image. CRJ700FO makes a valid point, so far as it goes. However, this possibility would be very easy to quash, with the correct user interface, something the eggheads are very capable to figure out, which my reading of a Falcon 7X pilot report has made abundantly clear.In fact, even I can imagine how to do it, a display which shows both engine cams side by side, right on the right, left on the left, in a display that could easily fit in a standard 3" mount. Of course, those mounts are fast disappearing in modern cockpits, so that would be a moot point. 3-engine, 4-engine, just widen the display or make it modular, probably. There would be no possibility of mistaking which engine was shedding flaming bits, vapor, etc.

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Oh Really?!:-hmmmI've never seen the fan shrouds attached to the aft end like that. Must be a new engine concept! I haven't seen a reverse swept wing on that large an aircraft before either

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>Oh Really?!>:-hmmm>I've never seen the fan shrouds attached to the aft end like>that. Must be a new engine concept! I haven't seen a reverse>swept wing on that large an aircraft before eitherThat is a view from a 747, looks ok to me:-hmmm All i was trying to say is that if the screen shows the engine, with the wintip on the right hand side, that is obviously a display of the right hand engine.I probably should have used a better picture..doh.Dave

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Yep, i realise i have made a mistake.Sorry guys.I will be enjoying my humble pie now.:-)Dave

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You'd have crashed and burned with your cameras on;-) John M

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>You'd have crashed and burned with your cameras on;-) >>John MYeah, i would have been able to watch the whole thing from different angles.Well, we all make mistakes...dont we?;-) Dave

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It wouldn't change things one iota. So long as there is a pilot up front mistakes will be made. There is more than enough instrumentation in the cockpit for the pilot to identify a malfunctioning engine. There is no instrument that can tell a pilot which is his left hand and which is his right hand. That has to come from his brain and in an emergency situation it is very easily misinterpreted. Automation is generally considered as the best answer to eliminating pilot error.Roger

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