A group of British Airways pilots are suing their bosses for more than £250,000 claiming they strained their necks repeatedly turning round to check cockpit security cameras for terrorists.
The 16 veteran fliers, spearheaded by Cpt Jonathan Parry, say they were left with painful neck and spinal conditions caused by constantly swivelling round to check a CCTV screen at the rear of the cockpit showing air crew buzzing to be let in.
The three-camera security system was brought in after the 9/11 attacks to stop terrorists invading the plane’s cockpit, giving pilots a clear camera view of anyone wishing to gain entry before buzzing them in.
Captain Jonathan Parry is suing British Airways after he claimed his neck was injured because of the constant need to twist around in the cockpit to review CCTV footage of people trying to access the flight deck
He is among 16 pilots who are claiming the CCTV displays should have been located in the front of the cockpit to allow them to view the footage without having to twist awkwardly
The British Airways pilots complained the monitors were not viewable from the pilot’s seat, pictured, left
But lawyers for the 16 say screens displaying those outside the cockpit should have been positioned at the front of the cabin, preventing fliers from having to crane their necks around.
They are now claiming compensation payouts ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 – and lawyers say there could even be health and safety issues if a pilot was to suffer an injury mid-flight due to twisting their neck.
The aviation giant denies liability for the pilots’ injuries, claiming it did not breach its duty to keep them safe from injury, as well as contesting the size of their claims.
The case is being spearheaded by Cpt Parry, 57, of Camberley, Surrey, who joined the airline in 2006 following a stint in the Royal Navy, and spent years flying Boeing 757 and 767 jets up to 2014.
In court documents, his barrister Christopher Edwards says Cpt Parry claims to have been strapped so tight into his cockpit chair that it was awkward to switch his whole body round to check the cockpit door security surveillance system (CDSS) monitor.
Instead he had to twist his neck up to five times each hour before operating the flight deck door release, which he has totted up amounted to a total of around 5,000 ‘neck twists per year’.
‘CCTV enables a pilot to see a screen mounted behind him or her on the rear wall of the flight deck,’ the explained barrister explained in papers filed at Central London County Court.
The pilots were flying either the Boeing 757 or the Boeing 767 pictured here in New York
The pilots claim the location of the CCTV screens forced them to twist uncomfortably up to 5,000 times per year causing an injury
‘When the buzzer sounds, the pilot twists his neck to look at the image from the first camera and he then turns forward again to use the controls positioned in front of him to cycle to the second view from the camera.
‘The pilot then twists his neck again to look at the CDSS screen to see the image displayed by the second camera.
‘Then the same process is repeated for the third camera. Finally he operates the controls to open the door.
‘The pilot is strapped into a large high-backed chair which doesn’t swivel. It’s therefore very difficult to swivel the body round rather than twist your neck.
‘Mr Parry’s best estimate is that he twisted his neck to use the CDDS 5,000 times per year. ‘
Cpt Parry says he suffered a slipped disc and spinal damage due to his repeated neck twisting, and had to undergo spinal surgery to treat his condition in 2015.
He and his 16 colleagues are now suing BA for compensation, alleging fault by their bosses in not positioning the screen at the front of the cockpit.
But the aviation giants deny all fault – as well as disputing the amount of damages claimed.
The case reached Central London County Court last week as lawyers hammered out pre-trial issues involving legal costs and quantifying the 16 claims.
No date has yet been fixed for the trial, which will focus on whether BA breached its duty of care towards its pilots and the precise causes of their conditions.
After the short court hearing, a lawyer for the group said some of the pilots suing had been forced to transfer to flying different jets due to the effects of their injuries.
And he said there was a more general concern about the flight risks linked to the neck strains, with the potential for health and safety issues if a pilot sustained an injury while in the air.
MailOnline has approached British Airways for a comment.