Back to Squawk list
  • 29

NTSB Challenges FAA’s Cost Estimate, Urges 25-Hour Cockpit Voice Recorder Mandate for All Aircraft

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is advocating for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require all aircraft equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) to have the capability to record 25 hours of cockpit audio. This push comes in contrast to the current standard, which allows for only two hours of recording before being overwritten. The NTSB’s recommendation aims to preserve critical flight information, highlighted by the recent… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

jwmson 12
Seems like the FAA always tries to downplay NTSB recommendations.
EMK69 5
You are correct but sadly its usually at the expense of people's lives.
Troy Kimmel 2
Correct... unfortunately...
dkenna 6
Not saying they are the same at all, but my dash cam records 30 hrs of HD video on a mini SD card and it’s pretty cheap. What am I missing here? How is this even an issue of cost? I understand it is a lot of data to be stored, but it can’t be much different in size of current black boxes. Someone please educate me here…
Colin Seftel 14
Isn't it time to also have a video record of the flight deck? That's already commonplace in heavy-duty road vehicles.
Rpger Jones 3
As a member of flying public, YES!
Myron Oleson -2
Absolutely not! AS an airline pilot, there is no need for cameras in the cockpit.
Colin Seftel 5
I can’t think of anything that could be captured on video that I would not want an investigator to see. Additionally video evidence can protect crew members from incorrect accusations of pilot error.
Myron Oleson 1
Let's have the State Highway Patrol install video recorders in everyone's car. Yes, that's a great idea. And these recorders can and will be used as evidence against the car owner.

Or better yet, let's have the Federal Government install these devices. I can't wait!
Edward Bardes 5
There are plenty of things that only a video recording can provide to investigators.
The Dude 5
Kind of ridiculous that this is even a discussion point.

As far as cameras in the cockpit go, I would be for it if appropriate privacy safeguards are guaranteed. For example, limit the time the video is kept (unless there's an accident), footage is handled by a third party, no publishing of the footage if no accident, etc.
With the number of older aircraft having to continue operations you would think all regulatory agencies would be on the same page. You would think that there would at least be enough recording capacity to begin when the pilots begin the takeoff briefing and run until engine shutdown at destination. That would be critical information on long international flights over water. It always seems the FAA reacts when blood is shed.
Edward Bardes 2
I agree that CVRs should have at least 24 hours of memory.
The cost of this upgrade compared to other mandates and DEI requirements is negligible if required for a NEW aircraft or when existing equipment is REPLACED. Upgrading existing storage may be more difficult in existing devices due to space and technological limitations.

Learning from the video would help FAA and others with design and upgrades to warnings and systems.

In addition, video would have been helpful in many investigations exonerating the crew more often than not.

The video and hardened storage upgrade would be an expense.
Randall Bursk 2
Technology supports 25 hour loop. Pulling the C/B was necessary on 30 minute loop. Every part of my time, follow SOP’s. Recover the data for investigation.
jordan keck 2
It appears that the FAA has not included in their estimate the cost of life loss vs. an investment intended to avoid future life loss.
21voyageur 3
Current technology allows for many options. However it would appear that the game will be played in the political arena with gov't agencies, manufacturers and unions going at each other. Let's hope that the passenger voice is also present.
nf45 3
What about real-time video only when SOS is triggered?
rob strong 3
It would cost a couple hundred bucks to have a cockpit recording and a small camera viewing out the front. All digital to the black box. Storage is so cheap it's almost free. They're all stuck in their ways and pilots would not want to be filmed all the time.
John Taylor 2
There are some who are still opposed to the CVR.
Stefan Sobol 2
Lots of accidents don't trigger SOS until well after the triggering event occurs if at all.
Joe Keifer 1
I wonder if the unions care one way or the other?
rob strong 1
It's all digital now. It should cost pennies to make it 25 hours or even 25 days. But because the govt pushed their snout in, it will require some new tax or fee to get rubber stamped. Zero common sense with govt. And last I heard the pilots do not want this.
dkenna 9
As a pilot, I’m all for it. Anyone against it has motives that should raise some eyebrows. Do your job, follow company procedures, use your checklists. If that is a problem, then find another career.
rob strong 2
Totally agree.
Sheldon Lang 1
Another example of 2 many chiefs and not enough Indians. Overlapping agencies results in too mach talking and not enough doing.
Well they mandated retrofit 406 MHz ELT's to make finding aircraft easier and that seems to have worked. I would think you can use the existing wiring, power and pickups so it should just be a box change. But it has to be incredibly tough to withstand the rigors of a plane crash. The FAA may have included EVERY aircraft in their estimate and to just retrofit air carriers might make it far more reasonable. Perhaps a phased approach with a drop dead date like flammability reduction implementation would make it more acceptable.
Joe Keifer 1
Also make it a crime to intentionally pull the breaker on the CVR and FDR.
joepre 4
That makes no sense. Let’s say there’s a fire or the unit is malfunctioning. You can’t pull the breaker to protect the crew and passengers? That’s why they have the capability to pull the breakers.
People with no aviation experience should not have input into safety features or functions in aviation!
Steve Hoffman -1
Why should anything in the cockpit of a public airplane not be available to the public, even in real time? What are the pilots trying to hide? As a matter of fact, passengers that pay to put their lives 100% in the hands of a couple pilots, should morally have the right to see what these pilots are doing, even in real time.

On this note, since most airlines are so proud of their DEI programs and even proud-fully declare that they're hiring pilots based also on their skin color and gender rather than solely based on merit, then they should also proud-fully publish the color and gender of the specific pilots in advance of flights so that the passengers that share their values can be proud too, and the rest of can avoid their flights due to the unnecessary added risk of not having the best pilots.
dkenna 8
It isn’t a public cockpit. That airplane is owned by a private company and you agree to fly according to the policies of that airline. If you violate those policies, you don’t fly on that airline.

And it isn’t that the pilots are trying to hide anything. You trust the uber driver that drove you to the airport, in between tokes on his vape pen? Did you get a detailed report on his performance?

Pilots go through a ton of training and have earned the trust we’ve put in them. I don’t think putting a camera up there is going to do anything other than make Karen complain after the pilot took his hands off the yoke while on autopilot.

As for the rest of whatever DEI hiring nonsense you are saying, I haven’t seen or heard about that. Every Captain and/or co-pilot I have flown with has been a professional and skilled pilot. Skin color and gender has never mattered.
ScottCurtis777 5
Well Said. Only competence and character matter, not gender and color.
Colin Seftel 3
If we ever have cockpit cameras, the recordings will be for the purpose of accident investigation only, like the CVR, and not to entertain the public.
The point that everyone seems to have missed is that a video record can also protect the crew from wrongful accusations of pilot error. For example did the crew of the Yeti Airlines ATR72 really pull the prop feather levers mistaking them for the flap lever? We’ll never know for sure, but that’s what the accident report says.
Steve Hoffman 1
dkenna, I don't think you understand the legal definition of a "public space". So you know, any place, even a privately owned business or building that is open to the public (i.e. a shop, a taxi, an Uber car, or a common carrier airline's airplane) is a public space. As a public space there are limits on the rules that airlines are allowed to make and there are a ton of rules that they must abide by, just because their space (airplanes) is open to the public. Trusting an Uber driver to do what almost every 15 year old can do with minimal training is not even remotely comparable with an airline pilot. As a pilot, I can assure you that although flying a large airliner may not be too difficult for a properly trained pilot, it becomes extremely challenging and extremely dangerous when something goes wrong. This is why when people are asked whether they want a qualified pilot or the best qualified pilot, the answer is always the best qualified pilot. No body cares what the color of their skin is, not there gender. Unfortunately, when skin color and gender is a criteria in hiring, then by definition, merit is not the only criteria. This results in more harm to the very same people of color and gender you are trying to help in that it creates legitimate doubt as to whether they are the best or just hired due to their skin color and gender. It also serves to further divide our society.
dkenna 3
Ok. Just because the public flies on an airplane doesn’t mean they have the “right” to anything special. You purchase a ticket and agree to the contract of carriage. Or the terms of usage with uber or whatever. If you don’t like it, you have other options. No one is forcing you.

As for me not knowing what a public space is, I suggest you yourself do some more research. If you think an airplane cockpit is public space; and you say you are a pilot, I think you need to check again. My taxes didn’t pay for that airplane and I have no right to enter that aircraft without the airline granting access- By purchasing a ticket and agreeing to their terms. (And there is never access to the flight deck aside Jumpseat privileges which do not extend to the general public)
Myron Oleson -1
I know of multiple examples at one major airline where skin color and sexual orientation played a major role in individuals getting hired. This airline actively promotes this, saying that at least 50% of new hire pilots will be people of color, women, or LGBTQ types.
I spent the last 6 years of my career flying 777's at this airline. And you know who I'm talking about.
dkenna 1
I really don’t know what airline you are referring to. All major airlines have DEI hiring policies. My point is simply it should not matter and I do not understand why it is an issue. Each and every person in the cockpit has been trained, passed extensive checkrides, and has shown the ability to operate safely. If they do not; they get retrained until they can. Then IFE, probation, more check rides…. You know this.

The individuals I have flown with have been skilled and qualified to be in the cockpit, skin color or whatever other factors people seem to have issues with weren’t a factor. I feel like this is just another made up problem or excuse to justify ignorance somehow.

A diverse workforce is not a bad thing by any means. People have bias and prejudices and will act on those if given an opportunity, so putting policy in place to ensure that doesn’t happen isn’t somehow going to destroy us all.
Steve Hoffman 3
dkenna, you are obviously uninformed as you admit you do not know which airline CEO recently stated that 50% of their new hired pilots will be non-white-male - without regard to merit. You seems to avoid recognizing the difference between a 'qualified' pilot and the 'best' (obviously also qualified) pilot. Unlike those pushing DEI, I do not care what the color of the skin, nor the gender of the pilot is, so long as he or she is the best qualified and obviously available pilot. Do you not mind a lessor qualified pilot as long as she is not a white-male? Do you not see that by using race and gender in the hiring process white men are discriminated against? If the legal system was functional, this discrimination would be prosecuted and it is obviously illegal. Why do you think basket ball team owners don't declare that they will only hire white players? Obviously, they will lose the game as generally white people are less interested in this and thus less good at this game. Finally, even if I was a black man, I would still have the same opinion as (as a black man), I would also want the 'best' qualified pilot, as I also want the best chances in case something goes wrong. Fair?
dkenna 2
Umm, lots to unpack there. First, please forgive me for not know what the CEO of an airline said. I must have missed it. And to clarify what you are saying, you don’t care about race or gender or sexual preference or how someone identifies or whatever. You just want the best person for that job! Excellent! I agree. I want the best pilots too without regard to anything other than skill and ability. But here is where we differ. You seem to think DEI is taking jobs away from white men who are the “best” and it is discriminatory. You are twisting a narrative to make yourself feel better, because you do care about their race or gender or whatever. You fail to realize diversity is a good thing and there are people who didn’t have an opportunity to prove they are possibly “the best pilot” because they were passed up based on bias. The issue isn’t; Sorry, your white. NO job for you! There are no shortages of white male pilots at any major airline. I don’t see the discrimination. I have no idea what your getting at with the basketball thing. And Last, I am a white male and I am not going to say how it feels about anything for a black male because I will NEVER know! To say otherwise is foolish.
hwh888 0
I’m not so sure 24 hrs recording is necessary. I think a better ides is after every flight the CVR be automatically downloaded and saved for a period of time. How long is to be determined, maybe 36-48 hrs then deleted from database-automatically.
dkenna 2
Kind of defeats the purpose. After a 10 hour flight, 8 hours of data have been overwritten, then the remaining data is downloaded to the cloud and saved? Still doesn’t help out with all the lost data. There is no reason reason they cannot be extended to cover multiple flights. Data from a previous flight could shed some light on a cause of an accident.
Frank Barrett 0
Given the choice, the average passenger wouldn't even notice an extra $5 tacked onto their ticket price, and even if they did notice, they'd feel good that their safety has top priority. Who is dragging their feet here, the pilots' unions? And why?
Ronnie Falgout -1
As a commercial pilot, I don’t understand what information they would gather that would be at all relevant 20 hours before an event,, more less over 2 hours before an incident or accident.
Edward Bardes 2
There have been a few accidents where the pilots became incapacitated by hypoxia and the plane flew for hours before crashing.
Ronnie Falgout 1
Two hours of no talking, and the flight data recorder showing a cabin altitude high enough to cause hypoxia would be all they need to figure that out. Not 20 hours of no talking
Colin Seftel 2
But not enough data to figure out the root cause.
Chris Dansereau -3
Let’s just make everything so expensive so that nobody can do anything in pursuit of the almighty safety. Just mention safety and everyone is brainwashed that it needs to be done. We are still killing about the same every year in autos before seatbelts and airbags and crumple zones were mandated. If the NTSB really cared it would not take two years to come to a conclusion in accidents, and they rarely make a recommendation worth doing besides the obvious.
Gary Holden -4
The NTSB drags it's feet determining the cause of accidents. In most cases the cause can be determined in a few hours. Airline tickets are high enough already without the airlines having to spend billions in new recording equipment which ultimately gets passed on to us.
zuluzuluzulu 7
They don't drag their feet, they are thorough. Airlines found a way to provide unnecessary wifi and onbaord entertainment without raising ticket prices. They can do the same for CVR's which may simply be done by replacing a memory chip.
Gary Holden 2
You're saying ticket prices haven't increased.....they have, plus now you have to pay baggage fees. Except Southwest. I agree with the unneeded wifi.
Rpger Jones 2
I call bull shit. As a member of the flying publicI would welcome 24 hour CVR, data, and video recording. It a fought costs a few dollars more, so be it.
J Nicho 1
Why? How would it increase safety?
Steve Hoffman 3
It would obviously provide the investigators much more information as to what happens in a cockpit before and during an emergency, instead of just trying to decipher noises. With more information, they will have better understanding and be able to provide better advice as to how to reduce the risks of further accidents.

Now please explain why are some pilots so afraid of the camera?
What are they so afraid the public will know?
Are some of them less qualified than the industry represents themselves to be?
The absence of answers to these questions raises more questions and certainly legitimate cconcerns without placing any blame.

Now it's up to the pilots that don't want cameras to explain why.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.