Vehicle: Airplane: Black Box
runway cameras   (+9)  [vote for, against]

Occasionally, aeroplanes crash and a big crash investigation happens. Sometimes the crash is due to bodged maintenance, like someone not bolting the wings on properly, or due to some unreported damage, like from a catering truck reversing into something important.

This idea is to have super-high-resolution cameras mounted either side of runways, taking pictures of aeroplanes as they take off so that if they crash there will be photographic records of any damage they had when they took off. After the aeroplane has made another two or three successful landings and take-offs the photos can be deleted.

Of course this might already be happening, but the aviation industry might keep it quiet because a big sign next to the runway pointing out the "Making crash investigators' jobs easier cameras" might remind nervous passengers too much of their own mortality.
-- hippo, Jan 19 2021

Reasonable Aviation News
[bs0u0155, Jan 19 2021]

It could be like those cameras they have on rollercoasters... including the screaming and the expressions of stark terror on the passenger's faces.

-- 8th of 7, Jan 19 2021

//including the screaming and the expressions of stark terror on the passenger's faces//

Indeed, although it's probably not a very profitable airline if it only carries one passenger. Does the hideous spectacle of the passenger's multiple faces deter other people from travelling?
-- hippo, Jan 19 2021

Maybe said multifaced passenger is just another basic model Hindu God, and won't attract that much attention after all.
-- xenzag, Jan 19 2021

That's true - it could be a private jet being used by a Hindu god
-- hippo, Jan 19 2021

Interesting link, [kdf] - thanks
-- hippo, Jan 19 2021

For the Idea [+]. It's already happening to an extent, but it's surprising that full coverage isn't further along. Cameras on aircraft are also a good idea/on the way. For example, showing the trailing edge of the wing/landing gear.

One of the best ways to understand that the modern news media is in no way fit for purpose is to use aviation. The news covers my area of science in a horrendous fashion, but it's complex and niche, I'm willing to cut some slack. But aviation stories are just as bad. Take a headline like: "Passenger Horror as Jet PLUMMETS 15,000ft!". Alarming, but what actually happened here really? So an Airbus A320 develops a pressurization problem, probably just a warning light, the pilots dial in the routine altitude of 10,000ft, work the checklist and head to the pre planned alternate destination. There's no plummeting, the real story is "Checklist followed, everything fine, slight delay". But the story will have nearly everything wrong, usually starting with the picture of the plane at the top of the article. Journalists usually love adorning an article about an A320 with a photo of a Boeing 747-400, when the *runway camera* will provide a picture of the aircraft in question. Actually, they're almost always available anyway, plane spotters park themselves on runway observation areas and are usually happy to supply a recent photo of any aircraft you want to mention.
-- bs0u0155, Jan 19 2021

// modern news media is in no way fit for purpose //

Just don't go there. Even the sequence in "Airplane" where a 707-300 is overdubbed with the sound of a piston-engined prop aircraft is no longer funny ...

// I'm willing to cut some slack. //

No. Show them no mercy, for they deserveth it not.

// "Passenger Horror as Jet PLUMMETS 15,000ft!" //

"Passenger delight as titchy puddle-jumper nearly manages to get close to Vne in 5000' dive ..."

// the story will have nearly everything wrong //

Gr. "the story will have everything wrong" some of which is pure invention.

Journalists. Kill them all. Do it now. Go on, you know you want to.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 19 2021

It could be worth it to install one of those giant stabilized cameras like they use at NASA on each side of the runway. Electric focus changes can let them follow the plane up, down, or focus on airplanes that may be having problems. A lot of accidents happen right after takeoff and otherwise near airports.
-- Voice, Jan 19 2021

Aircraft cost millions of dollars. Flight recorders are not exactly inexpensive ...

Action cams are now quite cheap. You can buy dozens, if not hundreds, for the price of one certificated FDR.

Huge amounts of useful data *might* be obtained in case of an incident just by scattering dozens of cheap, commercial-grade action cameras around both aircraft and airports.

In the event of an accident, most might (will) not survive. The benefit comes from the multitude of possible images that could potentially be harvested.

No flight certification is needed. These are off-the-shelf units. If they survive, that could be a huge bonus to investigators.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 19 2021

Not responsible for injuries caused by flying cameras.
-- Voice, Jan 19 2021

Can we put the "hot stewardess" cam on pay per view?
-- Voice, Jan 19 2021

Of course ... yet another money-making opportunity ...
-- 8th of 7, Jan 19 2021

(+) I misread the title as Runaway Cameras, and then your fist sentence; " Occasionally, aeroplanes crash and a big crash investigation happens."

Made me think the idea was for a series of drones to be sequentially launched from failing aircraft to film and begin broadcasting a distress beacon for as long as their power held out... and built to float when only enough power remains to run the beacon.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 20 2021

// and then your fist sentence //

Is that what's meant by a "punchy" writing style ?
-- 8th of 7, Jan 20 2021

//they deserveth//

gr. they deserve: -eth is a third-person singular ending.
-- pertinax, Jan 20 2021

Intentional use of the archaic for literary effect; c.f. "Letter from Archbishop Warham to Sir Thomas Boleyn" etc.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 20 2021

The problem is not that it's archaic. The problem is that it's wrong.
-- pertinax, Jan 20 2021

What's the archaic plural suffix?
-- Voice, Jan 20 2021

Depends how archaic you want to go
-- pocmloc, Jan 20 2021

A fair bit ... earlier than [xenzag]'s world view, so pre-Neanderthal maybe ? Before the knowledge of fire and how to make edged tools from flint, certainly.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 20 2021

In that case I think the suffix you need is "ugg"
-- pocmloc, Jan 20 2021

xen and hippo, I once sat next to Ganesh on a flight to...oh wait, that wasn't an actual flight, that was a different kind of trip altogether. Hahaha
-- blissmiss, Jan 20 2021

// I once sat next to Ganesh //

Dd he just have carry-on hand luggage, or did he have his trunk with him ?
-- 8th of 7, Jan 20 2021

Hahahaha, very funny. I have a statue of Ganesh on my altar. He removes the obstacles that sometimes get in my way that I can't move for myself. 2 times I have looked to his guidance, and 2 times he has answered. (Him and Shiva).
-- blissmiss, Jan 21 2021

Four armed is forewarned.
...wait, that can't be right.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 21 2021

//What's the archaic plural suffix?//

The usual standard for "archaic" among English-speakers is the early-modern English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible. King James was slightly later than Shakespeare, but the committee who translated his bible deliberately chose a slightly old-fashioned style, because ... well, because that's a common feature of religious texts, at least as far back as pagan Roman hymns.

Anyway, in that early-modern English, the suffix for the plural was no suffix.

In The Merchant of Venice, Portia says "They have o'erlookd me and divided me [...]". This is a plural, and "have" is just "have", not "haveth". Then, later on, she says "It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven [...]". This is the singular. Shakespeare doesn't always use -eth for the 3rd singular. Sometimes he uses the more modern form, -s. But he never uses -eth in the plural.

Meanwhile, in the Book of Zechariah, we have this:

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and [from] your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD."

"The LORD" (singular) saith. But "They" (plural) did not hear. Note no suffix.

{peers severely over pince-nez spectacles towards [8th of 7]'s pew}

Here endeth the lesson.
-- pertinax, Jan 21 2021

... and there wath much rejoifing.

// removes the obstacles that sometimes get in my way that I can't move for myself. //

We have that too. It's called HMX ...
-- 8th of 7, Jan 21 2021

//It's called HMX//

and there was much re-joisting...
-- bs0u0155, Jan 21 2021

As airplanes have proven quite capable of crashing in a wide variety of inconvenient places it seems right to include the cameras on the aircraft itself, shirley? A couple facing forward and some facing aft, perhaps a few looking downish, with the feeds stored locally and perhaps collectively uploaded to a repository once per flight and more frequently if there's some sort of distress or if the tail falls off.
-- whatrock, Jan 21 2021

<Bestows sorrowful look of reproach on [whatrock]/>

<Points meaningfully at Jan 19 anno./>

Even [Voice] pays more attention that you do. Please, do try to keep up ...
-- 8th of 7, Jan 21 2021

A recording of exactly what happened and when inside the cockpit might give an extra level of information that the CVR and FDR don't convey; even when both are retrieved, sometimes the actual events have to be inferred.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 21 2021

<peers at indicated anno>

Goodness me, will you look at that. A similar anno, and days before mine. I blame wormholes. Or perhaps just worms.
-- whatrock, Jan 21 2021

I would of thought it would be better to put the cameras in the //wide variety of inconvenient places// that the aeroplanes are planning to crash in.

If the pilot were to file a flight path in advance of the crash, the camera could be pre-installed to record the end of the flight.

If this is impractical then millions of cameras and storage devices could be dispersed by airdrop all over the wide variety I'm sure a camera can be got on alibaba for £0.02 and a storage device for £0.03 so ordering a hundred meelion will only cost a meelion squid which I'm sure is worth it.
-- pocmloc, Jan 21 2021

// If the pilot were to file a flight path in advance of the crash, //

Interestingly, careful review of an admittedly small and unrepresentative collection of General Aviation flight plans show that on no occasion has any of the flight crew signified their intention* to end the flight by anything other than a boringly conventional landing.

This would present significant challenges to the effective pre-placement of recording devices, though your masterly cost-benefit analysis should be more than sufficient justification for proceeding without further discussion. After all, what could possibly go wrong ?

*Cross-referencing to the appropriate log books does show that on very rare occasions, the flight has ended with something other than a boringly conventional landing - but it is also clear that said deviation (in one case literally, off the runway, across the grass and very nearly straight into an inconsiderately parked shed) was never in the mind of those involved until it happened.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 21 2021

What about creating a series of Airport Flight Data recorders? These would be sealed boxes positioned at strategic locations about the airport order to observe such things as landing, takeoff etc. Their access would be restricted to use by the NTSB. You could have them setup to record on 24hour loop or something and then in the event of an incident the video could be acquired and analyzed.
-- jhomrighaus, Jan 22 2021

//a series of Airport Flight Data recorders?//

There is a tendency in this direction, take the new NATS digital control tower <link>. Much better views via cameras than a standard control tower might have on a full video wall. Digital schematics of aircraft movements Vs the old wooden blocks with paper stuck on. But, it is a surprise that runways haven't had high-quality cameras covering the runway from both ends and both sides for at least a decade.

I did recently learn that "high quality" cameras should be treated cautiously. Take those Ring camera doorbell thingies. the 1st gen was 720p, 1080p is more common now. Can you see someone's face stealing your bike from 35 ft away? Absolutely not, you need 5MP minimum, 12 for preference. Is a garden variety camera streaming 1080p going to see anything other than the hugest parts falling off at 1500 metres? No.

If you wanted high quality images of aircraft taking off/landing back in 2002 for example, and you haven't got a person aiming a zoom lens, then you'd need something like a large-format film camera triggered by light beams at intervals down the runway. For hundreds of flights/day and the relative rarity of major incidents, it's not worth it.
-- bs0u0155, Jan 22 2021

I would love a camera that would let me photograph events that were happening in 2002. Presumably it has some kind of dial on the top to adjust for time?
-- pocmloc, Jan 22 2021

Just get a really big camera and place it 18 light years away.
-- Voice, Jan 22 2021

[voice] aren't there optics problems with resolution &ce.?

Apart from the small issue of getting it there and getting the film back to be processed
-- pocmloc, Jan 22 2021

random, halfbakery