Ask the pilot: Outside cameras on passenger aircrafts?
Why don’t passenger aircraft have outside cameras installed to let the pilots monitor flight controls, flaps and landing gear?
In general, there is no need for installed cameras to monitor the aircraft’s flight controls, flaps and landing gear positions. All positions of an aircraft’s system are monitored and visually displayed in the cockpit. We can easily see or get warnings if a position does not correspond to the requested position. If we are still uncertain about the position of the flaps and slats we are always able to do a visual check from the cabin windows. For example, in the Airbus, there are small marks on the cabin walls notifying us where we will have the best unobstructed view of the leading edge and trailing edge of the wing (the front and back sections of the wings). For the landing gear, there are two independent systems to confirm that the landing gear is down and locked. A visual check is not possible from the cabin windows, but if we’re still uncertain about the position we’re always able to get help from the air traffic control tower, which can visually confirm the position of the landing gear before landing.
There are some aircraft with cameras installed – for example the giant Airbus A380 and our brand new A350. The camera is located at the top of the vertical stabilizer overlooking the aircraft. This camera is primarily used while on the ground when maneuvering the aircraft to and from the runway, to help pilots to stay clear of obstacles.
Published: November 26, 2019