Many international airlines equip their long-haul airliners with external cameras that provide forward and downward views. These external views are available to all passengers in real time on their personal inflight entertainment screens.

This is a belly camera video of a Finnair A350-900 takeoff on Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL) Runway 22R on a foggy night in October 2022. At the end of the video I switched to the tail camera. To make the post truly “silent” in accordance with the title, turn off the sound, or leave it on for the full effect.

United, Delta and American fly the same type of planes as European and Asian carriers that have external cameras. To my knowledge, U.S. airlines have never equipped planes with external cameras.

There are situations in which having a view from external cameras could be very helpful. Pilots could get a view of the flight surfaces, landing gear and fuselage without leaving the flight deck. Furthermore, some places on the outside of a plane are not visible from any location inside the cabin. All passengers could have good views of takeoff, final approach and landing no matter where they are sitting.

Irrespective of any safety benefits, would you appreciate it if your flight was equipped with external cameras? Any ideas why U.S. airlines refuse to put them on their planes?

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Cheers!