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Pilot's-eye viewscreen

See where you're going
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When flying on a commercial airliner, I am always annoyed at only being able to look out the side windows. It would be great if there was a viewscreen on the back of the seat in front of me (or the back of the tray table) that showed the view from the cockpit, out of the front of the plane. That way, I could see where we were going. It would be especially interesting to watch during takeoffs and landings.
PotatoStew, Jan 08 2001

Flight Tracking http://www.thetrip....0,2096,1-1,00.shtml
This is the coolest site I've ever linked to a HB entry. For any commercial flight in U.S. airspace, it shows heading, speed, and altitude, and shows a moving airplane on a map, just like the in-flight displays. I once tracked my wife's inbound flight from Holland and was able to see that it would be passing over my office. As the animation put the plane over my position, I went outside and saw her flying over me. [beauxeault, Jan 08 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Jet Blue http://www.jetblue.com
JetBlue flies to destinations in the US for pretty cheap. They have personal viewscreens at every seat (no first class at all), plus they don't even front: they don't serve any (crappy) meals in flight. But the TVs show live satellite TV. They've got 4 ESPNs, 3 news channels, Toon Network, etc. All they need now is the front screen view. [MuddDog, Jan 08 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Instrument Relay http://www.halfbake...0Instrument_20relay
Should be combined with this idea. [8th of 7, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Aloha Airlines flight 243 http://4.bp.blogspo...irlinesdisaster.jpg
The "Queen Liliuokalani" [AusCan531, Jan 15 2013]

Delta Debuts App With Interactive 'Glass Bottom Jet' Map http://www.cnbc.com...s_Bottom_Jet039_Map
The app allows fliers to view points of interest on a Google map. The interactive map lets a user tap icons, which bring up static, existing Wikipedia pages and photos for the landmarks they're flying over [Sunstone, Jan 22 2013]


       Often wished they would show that instead of the in-flight movie.
thumbwax, Jan 08 2001

       Yeah! Seeing landings and takeoffs like that would be excellent. It could even show some of the instruments in the cockpit, and of course you could listen in on the radio traffic with the towers on a channel (they already do that sometimes.)   

       In between movies, I'm used to seeing a simulated map (with the path of the airplane in it), cycling through different scales and views.   

       One of the views on my last flight was a "flyover", although at a very large scale. On a day with few clouds, that really worked for identifying geographic features one sees out of the window.
jutta, Jan 08 2001

       Um, why not? At least then you might manage to assume the "crash position" in time.   

       I think the limiting factor here is that most airlines don't (yet) have a private video screen per passenger (outside of first class, anyway), and that it would be terribly boring for most of the flight.   

       I have this uncomfortable feeling that when they do offer a personal screen, it will offer only catalog shopping (at ridiculous prices), canned entertainment (lame airline movies) and other institutional entertainment horrors, instead of the cockpit video feeds, entertaining puzzle games and (low bandwidth if necessary) Internet connections (300 baud would suffice) that I'd like to see.
egnor, Jan 08 2001, last modified Jan 09 2001

       I was thinking of that as well, waugsqueke... maybe there could be a kill switch that one of the crew could flip to replace the forward view with that of a soothing image or a blank screen. Or a computerized system could monitor the instruments and controls, and if any sudden or unexpected changes occurred, the view could be turned off automatically.
PotatoStew, Jan 08 2001

       egnor: I'd bet that personal viewscreens aren't necessarily too far off in the future. Most planes already have a phone in every row. During the boring times, you could watch a movie of your choosing.
PotatoStew, Jan 08 2001

       Virtual Reality Long-Haul   

       Paying passenger watches the forward view on their screen. Gets bored Mid Atlantic. Flips a switch, a controller drops down and hey presto, you have control! The front view on the screen is replaced by a Flight SIM program. You take control of a Sidewinder armed 747 cruising the skies to the sound of the 'Top Gun' soundtrack. Find your market competitors on the AirSuperHighway and eliminate them!! Then cruise to the nearest Airport for your best attempt at an Airplane landing (extra power-up for collateral damage). When finished, replace the controller and the viewer reverts to Pilot's Eye.
Kettch, Jan 10 2001

       One view I would have liked to have seen (which the pilot could see, as could the passengers on the other side of the plane) was a **WESTERN** sunrise. The plane was taking off for a westbound flight just after sunset, and consequently its westward travel combined with its upward motion were enough to bring the western sun back into view.   

       Too bad I couldn't see it, except for the way shadows were cast inside the plane.
supercat, Jan 11 2001

       justme: I kind of see your point about crashing; however, like I said, I think some sort of instrument-linked kill switch would mostly take care of that. Besides, in the event of a crash, the various other sensory inputs around you would probably be enough to make you completely forget about the viewscreen. I think the only time it would make things worse is if another airplane suddenly flew in front of your aircraft.   

       And regarding the boredom factor: as mentioned before, during the dull parts (ie: nearly the entire flight other than takeoffs and landings) movies could be shown, or even games, as suggested by egnor.
PotatoStew, Jan 11 2001

       About four years ago I flew with SAS (the Scandanavian Airline, not the British Special Force) from London to Stockholm / Oslo / Helsinki (I forget which. Oddly enough I remember that it definitely wasn't Copenhagen). Anyway, as well as the normal views of a small cartoon aircraft crossing vast expanses of water, etc. when the plane was landing the monitors switched to show the view from a camera that was obviously positioned above the front landing gear thingy. As I'm not that happy about take off / landings at the best of time this scared the willys out of me. But it was certainly an interesting view.   

       As to the original idea of seeing what the pilot sees, I have no confirmation of this, but I get the impression that most of the time what the pilot sees is "not a lot", due to a number of factors including small windows, the nose of the aircraft blocking a lot of the view, and there not being a lot to see once you're above cloud level anyway.
mark_t, Jan 11 2001

       Well baked idea I'm afraid. I've just been on a Sri Lanka Air flight on an Airbus A340 where the seat back telly had channels not only for the movies and the map/stat screen but also a channel with a forward and another with a downward facing camera. Take off and landing are the best, at cruise altitude mountains are interesting if the visibility is ok but of course a lot of the time you only see cloud. What is surprising is the number of other aircraft you see.
Gordon Comstock, Jan 23 2001

       1) In the 1980s a friend of mine told me of an Eastern Airlines flight to Dallas that showed the cockpit view of the landing. Since then, I've always wondered why it's not a common thing.   

       2) I don't see why personal video screens are needed. Why not just show it on the main screen for the entire cabin where individual screens are not installed?   

       3) I'd also like to see a "bombardier's view" i.e., from a camera in the plane's belly, pointed straight down.   

       4) The inflight view we are normally given, with the cartoon plane positioned on a map, is also available on the web for commercial flights in U.S. airspace (see link). Even international flights are viewable once they enter U.S. airspace. You enter the flight number and the site portrays the map with the little plane (which moves every minute or so), as well as dials indicating heading, speed, and altitude. Pretty cool!   

       Now if this site would also offer live cockpit video...
beauxeault, Jan 23 2001

       Cool link, beauxault! I can hardly wait until someone I know takes a trip somewhere now...   

       Regarding showing the pilot's-eye view on the main screen of the airplane: the problem I see with that is that not everyone would appreciate seeing it, and it might be unpleasant for those folks. Of course, that can be said about some of the other in-flight entertainment as well, but that never stops them from showing it.
PotatoStew, Jan 23 2001

       The last time I took a plane between US and UK (maybe three summers ago), every seat had a personal TV which played movies, allowed to watch a real time map of our flight, and play nintendo games. It was quite clever, the dialing buttons on the phone next to the TV doubled as the game controller.
LittleBitONothing, Mar 28 2001

       and why not a view of the person seated behind you? no need to zoom in or out, just recline the seat. And imagine the entertainement value when you suddenly move the seat back, and have a close-up of his/her face contorting in sheer agony when you grind their knees with their folded-up table! I am aware of the health problems this may pose, such as premature arthritis in the knee area, but hey! imagine the large-scale battles that would ensue as row upon row reclined to inflict PAIN unto their followers! wow
pipp, Apr 19 2001

       If you want to fly in a vehicle were you can look out the front window during takeoff and during landing then we need to bring Hughes HK-1 flying boat back to life, Ofcourse the only thing you would be looking at is water. Otherwise send funds to the Hamilton corporation the first to build a longitudanal girder airship. The passenger promanod will be along the entire hull and on front. Comercial airships fly at low altitudes so they give a great view even while in flight, where as Jet liners fly above the clouds, they get you were you wanna go fast but not much of a view.   

       As you can tell by now I am a Zepplin nut. long live the airship.
wood2coal, Aug 28 2001

       Three words: Glass-bottomed plane.
phoenix, Aug 28 2001

       [phoenix] Two words: Explosive decompression

bristolz, Aug 29 2001

       Glass-bottomed plane? Yes very useful to check up on your luggage every now and again. A better idea would be a flying wing, where everyboddy sits inside a transparent leading edge. Great for the nervous fliers to watch the ice build up.
Gordon Comstock, Aug 29 2001

       [mark_t] is correct - the pilot's view isn't that good. I went up onto a 747 flight deck last summer on a flight from San Francisco to London. There was a mass of instruments with a 6-inch-high slit window along the top which was actually surprisingly hard to see out of.
Those personal video screens are very welcome on 11-hour flights. The best thing ever though for long flights is on Virgin's 'Upper Class' where they have a little bar area with barstools, bar snack etc. - it's so good to be able to move from the normal position of lying back in your seat to sitting on a stool leaning on the bar for an hour or so. And the food's good too.
hippo, Aug 29 2001

       After the World Trade Center/Pentagon stuff, I think I'll pass. I would NOT want to see the view from those cockpits.   

       Besides, the airlines would just charge ya for the privilege of watching, eh? :)
arghblah, Sep 24 2001

       I think a "nose cam" would be better than a cockpit cam. You would get a better view than out the cockpit window. You couldn't see the instruments or what the pilots are doing, but they would like that better anyway.   

       While we're at it, since we could have lots of channels on our personal screen:   

       Galley cam: See what those stews are up to and where dinner is.   

       Luggage cam: See your bags bouncing around in the turbulence.   

       First Class Cam: See what they are having for dinner.   

       Tail Cam: See the world zoom away.   

       Lavatory Cam: ... never mind.   

       I could be wrong, but I think American Airlines actually did have the forward looking camera on some of its DC-10s back in the 70s.
willatlguy, Mar 31 2002

       Yes, AA did have forward looking (cockpit) cameras in some of their DC10's including one that was running for the takeoff of flight 191 (O'Hare). I'm sure the passengers enjoyed the view.
bristolz, Mar 31 2002

       I would also want to be able to choose from being able to see the view from either wing tip, as the views you could get when taking of from some airports on a clear day and doing a banking turn would be stupendous.
kaz, Mar 31 2002

       Scandinavian Ailines actually have this feature on some of their planes. During takeoff you can choose the "cockpit view" and after take off you could choose the "look down view" and watch the landscape you're flying over. Since this is on your personal screen I think it's neat, 'cos I noticed that there are people who like to pretend that they aren't 'really' on a plane.
Heragalles, May 13 2002

       Great idea [PotatoStu]. Everytime I fly I'm glued to the window, I can never get tired looking out. Even better that it is baked.
mcscotland, May 13 2002

       A fewe years ago I flew with Garuda Airways to Indonesia, and they did have such a camera. They mainly used it during take-offs and landings, which was very attractive.
BartJan, Nov 03 2002

       It's already been pointed out that many Airbus' have cameras mounted behind the nose wheel. Originally for taxiing, these are sometimes displayed on the AV system.   

       What I really want is a true pilot's-eye cam. Replace his/her left eyeball with a mini camera. Then you could see:   

       * Closed eyelids, when napping at the wheel
* What (s)he's eating, while we suffer in economy
* What part of the stewardess he's observing
FloridaManatee, Mar 06 2003

Lobster again?
thumbwax, Mar 06 2003

       Both Boeing and Airbus offer cameras for inflight entertainment as options. It's up to the airline to whether they exercise the option or not. Some airlines that have them are ANA, JAL, Condor, Airtours, Air Europe, Austrian, Lauda, Britannia, Emirates, Saudi Arabian, China Air, Air China, Egyptair, Finnair, SAS, Vietnam and quite a few more...no US airlines though. Usually is a two camera system - one forward and one looking down. The down camera is a zoom camera but either the flight attendant has to operate it or in some cases, like Emirate, they automatic adjust depending on altitude. There are three companies that build this equipment - Thales, Latecoere and Securaplane - in order of increasing quality and performance. Securaplane does a lot of high-end VIP/Head-of-State aircraft with camera systems - including cameras mounted on the tail tip looking forward! Only airline to ever do that was British Airways, and then only on one B747-400 for a short trial period.
melvin_j, May 19 2003

       [melvin_j]: I fly a lot with Emirates. Looking at the forward/down cameras is great, not only can you see some amazing scenery but they are very useful in making a quick judgement into how successful the landing will be... on a particularly windy day coming into Birmingham the runway was not visible on the forward camera until the wheels hit. To say I was holding on tight would be an understatement.   

       Coming into heathrow is a bit scary... you can see the six planes in front of you land on a clear day (one every 40 seconds, same runway). Ooer.
Jim'll Break It, Jul 23 2005

       Cool idea, but what drives me crazy is not knowing what we're flying over, and I don't feel like bothering the flight attendants who probably have no idea either. What can we do for this? Also a swivelling chair so my neck doesn't hurt from looking out the window most of the time.
goober, Jul 23 2005

       Wouldn't you have to disconnect the camera when the plane is approching the ground - whether the plane is crashing or not? You might get some loon who thinks that they're all gonna die can cause panic amongst everyone else...
froglet, Jul 23 2005

       Get a blue piece of paper, tape to seat, done. now you see what they see.
Brian the Painter, Jan 15 2013

       I flew on American Airlines Flight 191 on May 24, 1979. As we took off, the image from the front of the plane was displayed on a large screen, for all to see. So, this was baked in 1979.   

       The following day, I could not help but wonder what the passengers thought when they watched the plane going down on that same screen. The thought still sends shudders through me to this day.   

       I'll pass on the cockpit view, thank-you.
Klaatu, Jan 15 2013

       Klatuu your kidding right? I hate being the gullible one. Were you seriously on that flight?
Brian the Painter, Jan 15 2013

       //Were you seriously on that flight?//   

       I was on that exact flight 24 hours before it crashed. I was originally booked on United, but they messed up and put me on American 191. Needless to say, I about shit my knickers when that same flight crashed the very next day. Missed turning into fertilizer by ][ this much.
Klaatu, Jan 15 2013

Brian the Painter, Jan 15 2013

       Not as dramatic as [Klaatu's] story but I was on the Aloha Airlines plane called the "Queen Liliuokalani" about 3 weeks before the roof blew off. Didn't need a screen to see everything from what I hear. [link]
AusCan531, Jan 15 2013

       In the crash my wife experienced, the wing ripped off. I bet the pilots would have liked her view as it was much better that theirs.
Brian the Painter, Jan 15 2013

       I love it when we see our ideas come to fruition.
Sunstone, Jan 22 2013


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