The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the FAA require manufacturers to equip large airliners with onboard, externally mounted cameras to offer pilots a clear view of the airplane’s wingtips while taxiing.
The September 5 recommendation is a first step toward ensuring clearance from other aircraft, vehicles and ground obstacles. Currently, the only sure method of avoiding another aircraft during taxiing relies on the pilots’ opening a side window and watching the wingtip directly, actions that are often impractical.
The NTSB wants the anti-collision aids installed on newly manufactured airplanes and retrofitted to aircraft already in service. The recommendations follow a number of recent ground collision accidents (all currently under investigation) in which large airplanes collided with another aircraft while taxiing.
In May this year the right wingtip of an EVA Air Boeing 747-400 struck the vertical stabilizer of an American Eagle EMB-135 while taxiing at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). In April last year the left wingtip of an Air France A380 struck the horizontal stabilizer of a Comair CRJ700 at New York JFK International Airport (JFK). The NTSB sent a similar recommendation to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for comment.