Back to Squawk list
  • 33

The pilots of Instagram: beautiful views from the cockpit, violating rules of the air

The pilots of Instagram are internet famous. Their stunning photos of the skies, captured from their unusual perspective inside the cockpit, garner hundreds, sometimes thousands of likes from fans. But taking photos, or using most any electronic device, while piloting a commercial aircraft is prohibited by American and European regulators. Pilots for airlines large and small, flying planes of all sizes, seem to be violating the safety rules, taking photos with their phones as well as GoPro… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Mark Richards 23
“Someone holding a camera or a device, is a big no-no.”

Even the suction-grip of a go-pro? Even by the jump seat ride-along crewmember? Hell, before everyone started panicking and flailing about "terrorists" and "bombs", I rode with crews as an ordinary passenger and had many good conversations, took lots of photos, and in every case was briefed on (a) supplemental oxygen and (b) sterile cockpit.

This regulatory nonsense is going too far. So what else should be prohibited.. eating? Blowing your nose? No crew would endanger themselves or the airplane for a photograph. The dweebs pushing this panic should be called to account for such mistrust in such a fundamental as this.

Next, flight crews will be required to wear helmets lest one of them bumps the overhead!

While the FAA and other authorities continue to strive for safety (allegedly), taking the low-hanging fruit is not a good solution. Rather, clean your own house of the continued collusion between the industry and its regulators, which is still problematic, and then return with the nitpicking... how might I put it best.. distractions once the bigger problem (aka: you) is solved.

Photographs, stories, and videography from the flight deck provide a reassuring window into this overly-restricted domain. I think most viewers would be amazed at the views and marvel at the discipline and skill of these crews, inspiring to say the least. What's not inspiring is the usual from governments: job justification, expansion of authority, and of course more money. Message: Do your job, or get a real one.
ken young 5
LOw hanging fruit....BINGO.....And just who runs these regulatory agencies? Bureaucrats. Not people in the regulated industry. Not anyone who has "been there"...No outsiders who's job it is to make sure they can keep their job. so they invent silly things with which we must deal. Of course the regulations ALWAYS make things more difficult, costly and are put in place for the purpose of creating more regulations.
Gabriel Hoag 26
Apparently a slow news day for "Quartz". This guy needs to get a life.
jmilleratp 9
This article has so much that can be gone over. But, I personally most liked: "Landing at Reagan is notoriously complex and unusually difficult due to its proximity to the National Mall and the Pentagon." Yes, it is "notoriously complex and unusually difficult," if you don't know how to fly a Transport-Category Aircraft! It is challenging on the first approach to 19, but planning ahead, and using your resources, makes that easier. And, subsequent approaches should be non-events. But, what gets me most is that the video is showing an approach to 1, which is a straight-in with no hazards, unless you don't proceed appropriately in a missed approach!
joel wiley 7
There have been a number of videos of Lufthansa flights including contemporaneous interviews with the flight crews on final approach. How do these differ from the Quartz report? Is it because the computer is the captain?
Andrew Stagg 4
Foreign Air Carriers do not need to comply with FAR 121.306. As well this regulation was only effective since April 14, 2014. Before that, crew could use PEDs above 10,000ft.
Andrew Stagg 24
This guy is a hack who's looking at getting sued. Most of these photos are taken by jumpseaters or non-121 pilots who don't have a prohibition on using electronic devices in flight.
Muchits 9
Jeremy Chen 10
Get a life... It is both safe and legal to have a non-pilot in command or jumpseater to take photos... At cruising altitude with autopilot on its not like snapping pictures with your phone is going to get the airplane falling out of the sky...
Philip Clifton 10
Whoever wrote this seems to have taken notes from USA Today's GA smear article a couple months ago.
Hopefull David Yanofsky uses the money from this article to move out of his mother's basement and get a real job.
linbb 5
He uses peoples names without permission accusing them of illegal acts? Anyway consider the source, Quartz is a rock of some kind as I remember from something I read once back in grade school so that says it all. This post and poster need to go away.
Brian Mortin 5
Many times in my career on the line a digital camera in the cockpit provided needed detail of a maintenance problem indication or malfuntion. Real time evidence to show a line mechanic at next line station to further understand the maintenance issue. Came in handy down south of the equator to send pictures back to airline tech center. Talking about pictures, not communicating via txt or emailing in flight, but still on duty.

This article from Quartz is the new world baby, a little information and slam, a mountain of innuendo and accusations of perceived wrong doing out on the line by this self styled practitioner!

His selfie bio: "David Yanofsky is a reporter creating data driven and visual stories for Quartz. He uses the principles of design and the power of development to try to tell stories in the best ways the internet can allow. A self taught practitioner of Javascript, Processing, Python, and R he previously worked for Bloomberg creating interactive stories for its web sites, television stations, radio broadcasts, and magazines. Prior to Bloomberg he was a freelance graphic designer, screen printer, and book maker. He obsesses over appropriate representations of information and an empty inbox. He's on Twitter @YAN0"

Need we say more: consider the source!
ken young 4
Data deriven stories....Yep, welcome to journalism waterloo. Where the importance of a story is not the content or the significance of the even, but the number of "clicks" it can attract.
It's total garbage.
Not one of these so called 'reporters' gives a rat's behind about facts.
All they care about are the number of views. The interesting and sad part is these jerks are compensated based on the number of clicks.
linbb 4
Working for Bloomberg is a red flag anyway and to even let this stay on here is something that needs to be removed. He knows nothing about flying an AC let alone being in control of one.
btweston 4
Bloomberg is a widely respected news source. That being said, every news and media organization, from Fox News to the New York Times, has someone hired to write douchey little tidbits to lure in the maroons.
Fred White 6
I happen to like maroon; distant cousin to the color red. It's the morons that bug me.
yonian 2
What a shameful and dishonest reporter this hack is. He insults the subjects of his story by implying they are reckless and he insults his readers by assuming that they are too dense to realize that his amateur legalistic objections are just silly.
SmokedChops 2
apparently the author used 'Airplane' the movie as a de-facto textbook. (I picked the wrong day to quit drinking...)
I can tell you something else, cockpit area seens to be the forbiden place, but for most flying feared people those pictures work like unveiling the unknown, it could even be called the aircraft brain, where decisions are taken and everybody safety is ensured, and bringing this out for people afraid of flying for sure creates on them a deeper feeling of safety. Congratulations for those pilots out there. Brazil on line.
Dave H 2
Just to piss them off hang some fuzzy dice right in the middle of the cockpit window!! Lol
rhagan 2
I don't believe digital cameras and iPhone cameras which neither emit or receive signals are "portable electronic devices" as contemplated by FAR 121.306, so no regulations are being violated. Sterile cockpit governs conversation between crew members, so no luck finding a violation there, either.
It may be a breach of a particular airline's op specs, and would be a hazard if a flight crew member were preoccupied with shooting video vs flying the airplane, but mounting a GoPro in the cockpit before a flight and turning it on before descent, or snapping an iPhone pic of a pretty view is no more of a distraction than taking a sip of coffee, which pilots have been doing safely for years.
Daniel Gless 2
You guys outta try working for the railroad! The rails have gone to the 'sterile cockpit' concept...utter carziness!!! Fixing problems that don't exist...and NOW WITH CAMERAS TO WATCH YOU TOO! Yeah, can't take a leak out the back door anymore. Gotta stop the train first. Guess that nude train running has gone to the wayside also...DAMN! The list goes on and I can't even begin to imagine what the airline industry has to go therough. We have the FRA and NTSB and the bosses breathing down our necks and they get rewarded by the amount of trouble they can get anyone under their watch into....hearings for EVERYONE!
And does anyone wonder why I retired at 61? I SURE AS HELL DON'T.
Daniel Gless 1
And you know whats so insane about all of this? YOU CAN TAKE PICTURES WITH A FILM CAMERA ALL DAY LONG!!! I can no longer use an electronic adding machine to do up my wheel reports but if I had an abacuse on board THATS ALL RIGHT! If I work everything out with a pencil and paper THATS ALL RIGHT! If I use my 30 year old Texas Insturment digital adding machine thats rather primative by todays standards the ON BOARD CAMERA will catch me and I get FIRED. DUH!!
"Yeah its all quite insane you know..." my fav line from the movie Is Paris Burning?
joel wiley 1
and with sufficient regulation volume, if you do anything or even nothing at all, you will violate one or more of them.
Daniel Gless 1
YOU GOT IT! Checkmate! If you move you're in VIOLATION. If you sit, YOU'RE IN VILOATION. They even have a term for following the rules too closely...malicious rules use....yeah believe that one cause they use it...
Sorry, this crap gets me cranked up. Its why things are falling apart, slowly but surely.
Ok I'm coming from instagram and possibly many of you know me (I'm V1_avphotography) and in the last 24 hours we have been trying to get this article down. Many famous IG pilot shave left due to this and many people looked up to these people. 99% of the time they aren't doing anything bad. The man who wrote is going to be removed from quartz. Im sorry Mr. Baker but I'm going to have to report this due to it being so hurtful to many people.
ADXbear 2
I agree with Andrew above... the FAA needs to lighten up here and allow fixed camera's such as Go Pros to be used without pilot interaction.... maybe they want them to stop using the head as well.. Pilots all know when its time to focus and when they have time to take a break.. Jump seate'rs and non revs should be able to do this unlimitedly as long as no distraction and keeps flight deck steril
Michael Smith 1
Most photos I saw were taken at flight levels above 10,000 or pre/post flight. Those below 10,000 obviously you can't tell who took the photos or if it was even a 121 operation.
Steamjet 1
Geez....I remember years ago when the FAA demanding cameras be in the Cockpit !!!
ken young 1
So NO videos allowed? Even from fixed or mounted cameras on the flight deck?
Ken Lane 1
I saw that earlier. He's reaching with a pair of tweezers for someone who has never been in in the business end of the an airplane.
Uh ! Bottom line is you can leave the cockpit to use the bathroom, and leave a flight attendant in the seat. So FAA !! You've been weighed and measured and found wanting, ... for any logic.
El Thirtynine 1
It's all the rage now, "alarmist" journalism. It borders on yelling FIRE in a crowded theater.
TWA55 1
I see no problem w/ photography as long as it is someone other then the two crew members flying or is of a remote device doing the photography. As of yet, I have seen nothing that would cause issues w/ me. Keep up the good work, to all who provide an insight to this "private work place".
Remember the Northwest Airlines commercial after the Twins won the World Series in 1991?

I'm sure it was shot in a simulator....
Ron Burgundy 1
This joker should be yanked off the air.
siriusloon 1
"Off the air"? It's a website, not a TV station.
pirahna432 10
Ron Burgundy doesn't know what the Internet is.
Dave Mathes 1
I don't worry about the sterility of cockpits...I usually get out at the outer marker...

[This poster has been suspended.]

joel wiley 1
That is not an aviation safety issue, just a CEO safety issue.
john mcdonald -1
"Off the air", a bit dated, but with a clear meaning, play nice, and give others a break.
what a dum rule i see how the view looks from uup there i see the problem with below 10000 why cant thay do it when at cruising altitude how stupid of faa
emanwingnut -3
This is a lie I hate the author of this article.


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.