Germanwings; co-pilot deliberately crashed aircraft, had burnout during training.

March 26, 2015, update 3: The Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin confirmed mid-day that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz 28, from Montabaur Germany, deliberately put the autopilot on descent in an act to crash the aircraft.

The prosecutors office has a full transcript of the Flight Voice Recorder’s recording on what happened in and around the cockpit of 4U9525 until impact with ground. He says the co-pilot’ breathing could be heard on the recording at all times but he did not say anything. He was therefore alive at the impact with ground.

Separately Flightradar24, which has a private receiver network for the aircraft’s intelligent transponder of type ADS-B, has now confirmed that they can read out that the aircraft’s autopilot was manually changed from 38,000 to 96 ft at 09:30:55 UTC.

The accident is now turning from an involuntary to voluntary manslaughter investigation says the prosecutor. He further revealed that calls from ATC and the Captains efforts to enter the cockpit could be heard as could the autopilots “Pull Up, Pull Up” as the ground proximity warning triggered. He said that passengers apparently did not understand what was happening until just before impact when screaming could be heard.

Research has failed to show any terrorist connections for Andreas Lubitz says Robin. French news is now analyzing possible reasons for this act by Lubitz, pictured here in front of Golden Gate bridge on mid-day news from BFMTV:

Copilot 4U9525 2015-03-26 14.06.33

Lufthansa/Germanwings had a press conference at 14.00 CET which we followed, here the key points:

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr  opened with “This is the worst that has happened in the 60 years history of Lufthansa”. 

Lufthansa and Germanwing press conference 2015-03-26 14.55.08 He then continued that he and his colleagues could hardly believe what they were told when they got briefed on what was on the recording and its consequences. He pointed out that Lufthansa sees this as a “tragical act of one person” and does not have any information that it is an act of terrorists or a group of people.

The co-pilot started his training at Lufhansas Pilot school in Bremen 2008 where he also made a break in the training in 2009. He finished his traning in 2011 and was then active as cabin personnel for 11 months before there was place for him in the pilots group. He was hired by Germanwings in September 2013 as pilot where he did type-training on A320. He did have an out also during this phase but returned to the training and was seen fit for the job as a First Officer in Lufthansa group. His suitability as a pilot was at all times without any doubt said Spohr.

There were many questions from the media re the psychological stability of Lubitz and if any personality checks are part of Lufthansa/Germanwing pilot procedures. Spohr answered that there are yearly medical checks and continuous valuation of their First Officers as commanders of an aircraft as they shall at all times be prepared to substitute for an incapacitated captain but there are no psychological checks required by the authorities and Lufthansa does not have them.

There were also questions around the outs by Lubitz. Spohr said the medical confidentiality is also valid for Lufthansa pilots and that no one in the company, also not he, has insight into the medical files of Lubitz. It is now a question for the criminal investigation to request this data and look into what it can reveal. There were no signs of any personal irregularities during his work for Lufthansa according to Spohr.

Breaking news says that friends to Lubitz talk of a burnout during his pilot training as reason for his break.

The families of the victims and flight crew was informed today before Lufthansa’s press conference by our personnel “as I and Winkelmann (CEO of Germanwings) had to be here. We met with the families yesterday in Dusseldorf and Barcelona but we did not have this information then.

Spohr could also answer why no-one could enter the cockpit. “Since 9/11 we have armored our cockpit doors so that not even small arms fire can penetrate them”. “If a pilot would be incapacitated while being alone in the cockpit the other pilot and the cabin crews has a code that can open the door if this is not blocked from the cockpit. At each request with the code to enter there is a tone in the cockpit, if the person in cockpit then press “Lock” on the door control panel he can block the entrance for 5 minutes.”

A320 door lockThis then repeats as we understand it so that the co-pilot can block the entrance to the cockpit as long as he waits for this signal and press Lock, the door is then blocked for another 5 minutes.

Spohr said they have no reason to change the rule that pilots could be left alone in the cockpits as Lufthansa sees this as a tragical “one time event” but what happened will of course be discussed with the pilots union and other parts of the company. He had had a long conversation with the head of the pilots union before the press conference he said.

He finished by pointing out that flight safety is the top priority of Lufthansa group and will continue to be. The further investigation of what happened is now in the hands of the criminal authorities.

German experts commented after the press conference that this and other recent events like MH370 will be as significant as 9/11 in changing the way that civil airlines operate. Before it has been a question of protecting passengers and flight crew from terrorists and hijackers, now it will be a question how one can protect the passengers from ill-willed flight crew members as well.

After the press conference Norwegian has let know they will change the cockpit rules to that of US airlines, i.e. pilots are not left alone in the cockpit when e.g. a pilot needs to go to the lavatory, a cabin crew will take his place. Ryanair has informed they already practice this rule.

62 Comments on “Germanwings; co-pilot deliberately crashed aircraft, had burnout during training.

  1. Tragic event. It is all very sad.

    US airlines have a rule that when a pilot leaves the cockpit, he or she is replaced by a Flight Attendant, preferably the most senior one. This is so that there is someone to react in case of a medical emergency.
    Is this not a requirement for Lufthansa too? If not, it would be a reasonable safety measure to consider.

  2. It’s ironic that heavier cockpit doors were meant to protect people from terrorists, and now one allowed the murder of 149 people by protecting a homicidal pilot from interference by the rest of the crew and passengers.

  3. “He said that passengers apparently did not understand what was happening until just before impact when screaming could be heard.”

    Newsfacts one can do without.. 🙁

  4. Everyone in the industry should be shook by this.

    While it may be a one off for Germanwings or Luft, it is not a one off for the industry and that comment about that is totally out of place.

    someone came up with the statistic that pilot suicide is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes (I forget where it fell but it was high)

    Industry and the AHJs need to re-think this.

    And its time to consider that it should be a male attendant who is emergency trained in the cockpit to replace a pilot is required as well as changing the access situation.

    3 man cockpits again?

    • I hope you are not suggesting that a woman would not be suitable. This should have been a gender neutral comment.

      BTW, a 3 person staffed cockpit is a thing of the past, get over it.

      • I am not gender neutral, I am a realist. There is a reason most women would not serve in ground combat. A man is going to be more capable in that regard than a woman, if it comes to a response needed its a brawns and testosterone issue. I know of one woman who could do it, that include my wife who is extraordinary capable, but not in hand to hand combat.

        And while the 3 person flight engineer cockpit is a thing of the past, when you consider all the losses to suicide pilots, doing something about it is not and two people in the cockpit at all times may be part of the solution. So no, I will not get “over it” .

        It may be a different mix of 3 person, but it damned well better be someone who can stop a suicide.

    • No 3 man flight deck, but a no-man flight deck. rip out the seats, install some nice windows and think of the premium an airline could charge for those few “seats with a view”
      Ever since we needed regulations about the minimum number of hours and TO/Landings a pilot must perform himself iso autopilot, the need for the man in the loop has gone.

      But because we still have someone in the front of an train – so I guess the fully automated pax airplane is still a long way off.

      • In Staline times, militia always moved around in groups of three : one that could read, one that could write, and a third, to keep an eye on those two dangerous intellectuals …
        but seriously, the introduction from the cabin of some third FA ? to man the cockpit during an absence of either PIC or 2ndP poses in itself a new and much more open, exposed safety issue, because clearly, whilst flight crew members are being monitored routinely by expert psychiatrists, this is not so for the remaining cabin crew members. Furthermore, this third intruding new player knows where the hand-axe is strapped up, he or she is free on his or her feet and at full ease for foul play, whilst the remaining flight crew member is forward-looking and strapped to the pilot seat, vulnerable if not unable to fight back if attacked ? This to illustrate that somehow, there must in the first place be total confidence in ANY individual entering the cockpit during flight, or the situation will always stand the risk of becoming critical.

  5. Perhaps it’s time to develop a reverse override system, where a locked out flight crew member can contact “ground control” and request a transfer of aircraft control from the aircraft to the ground. For example, a pilot — or the purser if there are thow rogue pilots — who would be denied access to the cockpit, would open an electronic locking cabinet located outside the cockpit. In that cabinet you’d find the Master Switch: Arm it, and “ground control” would reverse override all of the aircraft’s flight control systems and safely land the aircraft at the nearest available airport.

    NB: I’m not talking about a pilotless airliner, but perhaps something like halfway there?

    Here’s a link to more info on pilotless airliners (i.e. no longer unthinkable?)

    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/learmount/2013/08/how-long-to-the-pilotless-airliner/

    • Correction:

      For example, a pilot — or the purser if there are two rogue pilots in the cockpit…

    • It doesn’t need to be that complicated. The door needs to be openable when more than a few people try together (eg 5). Yes this could be used by bad guys, but they would need to get at least that number of people on the plane, and the remaining passengers/crew would have to not fight back.

      You see this kind of approach in nuclear arms where multiple people have to use keys or codes simultaneously.

      • Well, that’s just fine and dandy if you’ve got the time. In this case the co-pilot knew that the captain wouldn’t be able to re-enter the cockpit before it was to late, hence the seemingly “sedate” descent. However, a rogue pilot can quickly disengage the flight envelope protection by switching to Direct Law, roll the aircaft rapidly either to to the right or to the left and enter a high dive attitude, before anyone manages to re-enter the flight deck.

        • Your scenario of a rogue pilot immediately turning the plane into a roller coaster also means the crew wouldn’t make the quorum to activate your system. Plus it is complicated and requires changes on the ground, the control systems, the planes, and is an especially high value target for bad guys.

          Requiring a quorum of people to open the door is far simpler.

          • You would only need to open the door on the electronic locking cabinet using a simple code, and then flip the “Master Switch”. Two simple actions.

            Turning an aircraft into a roller coster where all of the crew-members are either free floating or pulled down into the floor, the sidewalls or the ceiling, is not an instantaneous occurrence

            Furthermore, a pilot should only be allowed to leave the cockpit when the aircraft is in straight-and-level flight. An additional safety system could, for example, be that the pilot leaving the cockpit would have a personal paging system in order to be immediately informed of control inputs to the flight control system that causes a deviation from straight-and-level flight. Of course, such actions might might be wholly benign, but the pilot leaving the cockpit should be fully informed anyway.

            In the event of the “Master Switch” being armed, the reverse overrided flight control system would be programmed, so as to ensure a first order of importance that would immediately maneuver the airplane back to straight-and-level flight. Only then, would the aircraft be cleared to descend and land at the nearest available airport using the steering actions operated independently by “ground control” (i.e. no other actions would be allowed but to land ASAP).

          • You might want to read the attempted FedEx suicide and how they subdued the person.

            Yes it can be instantaneous (less violently so in an Airbus due to envelope protection)

            Almost any release situation is going to require precious time and there will be little of that.

            time to rethink this.

          • Well, in that case the culprit was deadheading* and boarded carrying a guitar case loaded with several hammers and a speargun. I’m not sure if such an event would be plausible today.

            As for having enough time to open a secure cabinet located just outside the cockpit area and flip a “Master Switch”; I’m not sure if that would be such a hard thing to do even under the most extreme circumstances.

            * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadheading_%28aeronautics%29

    • you are starting into Rube Goldberg maschines.
      KISS. Keep It Simple,Stupid!

      • Well, the technology for pilotless flying is already here — and I’m not talking about fully pilotless flying, just the ability to override rogue pilots in control of a civilian airliner.

        However, plane makers clearly believe the problem can be cracked. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus recently released its view of the future of aviation towards 2050 and beyond, and one of the things it stressed was the benefit of planes that can fly themselves. In an extreme proposal, it suggests passenger planes might fly together in flocks, which can result in huge energy savings. They would keep in sync by constantly monitoring their position relative to one another.

        While everyone seems confident that the technical challenges of such visions can be overcome, there is perhaps one more significant hurdle to overcome – persuading the general public that a plane without a pilot is safe.

        On that point, Professor Cummings says the data is increasingly in favour of unmanned systems. “About three years ago UAVs became safer than general aviation, meaning that more general aviation planes are crashing than UAVs, per 100,000 flight hours,” she says. “So UAVs are actually safer than a weekend pilot, flying a small plane.

        That may not be a huge surprise. But what is perhaps more telling is that last year UAVs became safer than highly trained military fighters and bombers. “I knew that was coming, and it’s one of the reasons I jumped into this field and left commercial piloting and military piloting behind,” says Prof Cummings

        http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130502-pilotless-planes-plan-to-take-off

        • You have it in one! Technology has proven that we don t need pilots in aero planes Drones operate military missions daily without pilots After the last few months Granny might now feel safer if she knows her flight has no pilot in the cockpit No strikes Lockouts Sickins and all the other associated costs her flight might actually be cheaper too!

  6. Leeham: “The co-pilot started his training at Lufhansas Pilot school in Bremen 2008 where he also made a break in the training in 2009. He finished his traning in 2011 and was then active as cabin personnel for 11 months before there was place for him in pilots group. He then was hired by Germanwings in September 2013 as pilot where he did type-training on A320. He did have an out also during this phase but returned to the training and was seen fit for the job as a First Officer in Lufthansa group.”

    There appears to be a pattern of instability in the professional life of this young pilot. He also possibly had financial problems since he was coming out of flying school and that can be very expensive. If we add to this the fact that he was flying for an LCA with a meagre salary we can imagine the mental stress he was going through. Still, that is no reason to murder 149 passengers.

    The way this unfolded makes it appear as well planned in advance. It does not appear to have been improvised because the descent was initiated as soon as the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit. But why take eight minutes? Why would someone want to prolong a situation where someone is banging on the door, alarms are flashing and audio warnings are telling you repeatedly to pull-up? This looks like a deliberate act to inflict maximum psychological pain to others, including oneself.

    • As it appears he seems to have had a readymade plan.
      Executed at the first change ( alone in the cockpit at cruise ).

      Would be interesting to know how many flights were made
      until a chance opened.

    • “There appears to be a pattern of instability in the professional life of this young pilot”

      There is certainly a pattern of him looking for help with issues.
      How many pilots suffer from work and money related stress, how few pilots are you left with when you exclude them all from flying.
      How will pilots react when seeking help is punished…

      • Yes indeed, if a pilot seeks help that itself can be a ‘suicidal’ move, for it means the end of his career. And if a pilot is treated by a doctor the first thing the doctor will do is to prescribe drugs to his patient. But we all know that you can’t fly when you have taken medication. And if you don’t take your medication you can fall into a relapse. So it’s a vicious circle.

        Any sign of mental instability has to be dealt with promptly and this has to be incorporated into training and become a standardized procedure of Crew Resource Management (CRM).

  7. For the benefit of those who did not have the opportunity to read the previous thread on the same topic I would like to bring to your attention a previous tragedy that has the exact same characteristics as this Germanwings crash. I am referring here to the crash of Flight TM470 in Africa in 2013. The aircraft, an Embraer ERJ190, descended from an altitude of 38,000′ and impacted the ground a little less than eight minutes later. Both aircraft started at the same altitude and impacted the ground after approximately the same amount of time. So there was a precedent for Germanwings Flight 9525.

    http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20131129-0

  8. Ive noticed that a lot of european carriers dont employ a ‘two at all times in the cockpit rule’, ryanair do though, and their machinery is much newer. does this mean that the scourge of the euro elite are a safer prospect to travel with than say lufthansa (germanwings)?
    I think its a no brainer that all carriers employ the two rule from now on, we canot allow another disaster like this to happen again.

    • So is a pilot not allowed a restroom break in your scenario,
      Or is there a cabin person there that knows nothing of flying,
      Or do you train your cabin crew to fly the aircraft

      and how do you assure the replacement is not the suicidal one ?

      fake security

  9. I’m unclear on a point:
    Friends of Lubitz, said he took a break from pilot training due to a burnout is this term explaining what is more commonly known as a breakdown.

    • In my industry (IT) we see people getting burnout, but breakdowns are rarer. Burnout is roughly speaking where someone has been working hard, but their productivity declines because long hours and concentration can’t be sustained forever. Eventually the productivity can become negative – eg they cause more remedy work than they did in the first place.

      Breakdowns can have many different contributing factors, and are more typically several different things combining to overwhelm them – emotional, physical, family, etc. There is a tipping point – the breakdown.

      In this case we don’t know exactly what happened, it will have gone through translation, and people may use the term that seems less or more severe depending on their agenda. The treatment is both cases is pretty much the same. Take a break, get some breathing room, relax, do something unrelated etc.

      • In Germany, “burnout” (yes, the English term) can colloquially refer to anything from a simple “I need a holiday” to a full-blown breakdown with the sufferer unfit for work for months or even years.
        In medical circles in Germany I believe this is different, in that “burnout” would usually refer to a serious breakdown.

        We can’t be sure which it was in L.’s case until the public prosecution have gone through his medical records and released some information about them.

        PS: I say L. because it’s considered good, ethical standard in reporting in Germany to not give full names of victims or (alleged) perpetrators. Sadly, especially with this accident, a lot of media forgot all about these standards.
        Additionally, I don’t see any benefit whatsoever in publishing the co-pilot’s full name – but it does give idiots something to work by that allows them to hunt down his family (as has already happened), as if they weren’t already suffering enough.

  10. Unlikely in the foreseeable future, but perhaps it’s time to consider some kind of ground control to aircraft overrides for cockpit entry?

    Or, perhaps even more further into the future, consider the ability for ground control to takeover the aircraft and “drone fly” it to safety….

    • Having someone not on the plane take over controls will be the most scary scenario of all.
      It is best if the Captain has full and final control of the plane.

    • So a bright kid ( or any less harmless entity ) hacks the interface and now has his own full size model RC plane available for playing around.

      Remove all that unKISSable security stuff.
      Good riddance.
      Up to now they seem to have only brought losses.

      On a global scale try to be fairer to others. That would reduce the need for (real) terrorist action. No idea what to do about state terrorism though.

      • I’m not talking about ground controllers seizing the operation of an aircraft’s flight control computers if the crew veers from its planned flight path and refuses to explain its actions. What I’m talking about is that the people aboard and who’s life is at stake have the option to hand over control to the ground as a last resort, by physically flipping a switch. I’m not sure how a wiz kid would be able to override such a system.

        • Where do you put that switch ;-?

          Most of the “duh, obvious” solutions have in hindsight “duh, obvious” failure modes with automatic or easy activation 😉

          • You put the “switch” in a secure locked cabinet located on the outside the cockpit, on the cockpit wall or in its immediate surroundings. The door to the cabinet would be opened by way of a secret code — for example, it could consist of 4 letters, then 4 digits and then 4 more letters (i.e. like the secret code for a bank vault); or biometric identification; or a combination of both code and biometrics.

          • And you expect this to work under stress and duress
            _and_ be foolproof in all other respects ?

          • I agree with Uwe. Way too complicated and not fool-proof enough.

          • Frankly, I can’t see why it would be such a hard thing for a crew member to do opening a secure cabinet and flipping the “Master Switch”, even under the most extreme circumstances. Of course, nothing can be guaranteed, but at least it would give the passengers and crew — i.e. those that are locked out of the cokpit — a chance to survive.

            As for being 100 percent “foolproof”; well, nothing is, of course, but the fact of the matter is that UAVs are already safer than general aviation and military fighters and bombers flown by highly trained military personnel. Using this technology, modified and used for what would only be a last attempt of survival should IMHO not be too controversial.

            Pilot suicide/massmurder is a freak occurrence and no whiz kid or any less harmless entity would not have readily available real time information as to the occurrence of such an event; or much less time to actually try to sabotage a safe descent and landing.

            Look, whether one likes it or not, locked and fortified cockpit doors are here to stay, so the achilles heel is unfortunately not potential hijackers, but the flight crew themselves. For instance, a pilot determined to crash his plane could quite easily attack or overwhelm a flight attendant who is sitting in for the captain/co-pilot that has left the cockpit — and flight attendants (i.e. usually women) would have a much harder time fighting back, while the (pilot) perpetrator would have the advantage of surprise as well. Hence, I’m not sure if the flying public would not want some sort of a dead man’s switch capability on board civilian airliners in the future, in order to prevent being stuck in a flying coffin that’s controlled by either hijackers or rogue pilots. 😉

  11. While I believe it is a tragedy, I do not agree with all these voices requiring remote controls and other high tech super complicated devices is the way to go.

    There is no way, total control and total safety will ever be reached. It’s just an illusion. And with remote controlling an aircraft or similar solution, I’m convinced we just open a whole box of Pandora with new problems (hi-jacking the system, losing connection in the worst moment, etc.). Besides, the costs for that will be horrendous.

    I think the two person in the cockpit rule is a simple approach and will reduce the risk to a certain extent. Though even that will not guarantee 100% safety, as a malicious pilot can still act quickly enough to bring an aircraft in a situation that cannot be recovered from. I would assume in the worst case that could even happen if the second pilot is in his seat (senior captain knowing what he’s doing, a junior F/O having little clue how to fly an aircraft manually, less so to recover it from an out of the envelope situation).

    Let’s just accept the fact, that life is dangerous and there are situations, that cannot be prevented.

    • Live with the risk? Maybe even reduce pressure by being less assertive in unfair ways?

      Completely unacceptable for the proactively incompetent problemsolvers of selfacclaim.

      wheel of life.

  12. Very true, two people in the cockpit is better than one obviously and there is no 100%

    However, how the public perceives it is another matter and enough lack of confidence and people quit flying. Psychologists tell us its not the risk its the perception and 150 people dying at one time beats out 150 auto accident that kill that many people. but make no more than local news.

    What also needs to be added is that the second cockpit person needs to have some piloting skills and they need to be trained in hand to hand combat (unarmed fighting though the US in a fit of insanity and stupidity does allow certified pilots to have guns in the cockpit, one of which immediately proceed to shoot himself of his aircraft as I recall). Pilots are like all of us, they come out of the same gene pool and there are some very good, many in between and there are some real bad ones.

    And this is worth reading not so much for MH370 but the statistics

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/11/just-how-common-are-pilot-suicides/

    • with two people in the cockpit you double the chance one of them is suicidal…

      • only when both are suicidal you loose the mediating power of the second person. Thus it is a gain and not a loss.

  13. “Other work conducted post-9/11 could take on new relevance. Honeywell developed an automatic recovery system for fly-by-wire aircraft, proving the concept in a Beechcraft King Air and United Airlines A319 in 2005. Rather than providing a pilot with an audio or visual warning, as is the case with terrain awareness and warning systems, the new system would automatically take control of the aircraft to avoid obstacles—at the time these were presumed to be buildings with high political value.”
    http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/pilot-proofing-cockpits-takes-center-stage?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20150327_AW-05_100&YM_RID=`email`&YM_MID=`mmid`&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1&elq=88374fa187ed4340a68bc7cf1aeba857&elqCampaignId=1523&elqaid=6749&elqat=1&elqTrackId=eeb7ff75bdfc44468ea67c421b7d9474

    • what happens when the system malfunctions. It sees a building where there is none…

  14. I think there’s more general issue that needs addressing: How can other crew (most likely the other pilot) stop the pilot in control doing something stupid? It’s not just suicide/murder attempts but it includes rookie mistakes like the junior pilot on Air France AF447 who did the wrong thing on a stall.

    It covers the need for continuous monitoring of colleagues, company policies, seniority issues and training.

    • What is the other crew is the one committing the criminal act? – how do you decide who is right?

      • Massive container ships run by companies like Maersk effectively now have their routes programmed in. Every deviation from the program has to be notified to HQ and agreed by them. The idea that the captain’s word is the law is only nominal. Of course things happen a lot quicker on an aircraft than on a container ship, so quite possibly nothing would have prevented this particular crash. But I think there will be or should be more of that real time monitoring, involving crew, company policies and HQ staff.

        • When you dont have that, you have the situation like that of Costa Concodia when he took an unusual course close to shore.

          Something similar happened in the 80s with a russian cruise liner, when the captain took the ship through an impossible channel between a lighthouse and a peninsula.

          There is nothing to stop them doing so of course, but it would alert other crew that its a no no who might refuse the change

          In the early 90s there was a Korean pilot who ignored cockpit messages the undercarriage hadnt been lowered for landing, he actually pulled out the circuit breakers.
          We all know pilots ( or captains of ships) arent infallible

  15. The problem with this incident is that whatever solution you device will create new vectors for deliberate abuse.
    Ground override, multi-people door opening techniques, Autopilot override for collision avoidance. It can all be gamed and/or creates potential hazardous situations.

    I think the LH boss’ comment about this being a one off is not wrong. This is a case where a trusted individual deceived many people for a long time. There is no adequate defence against that.
    So yes, we should try nothing, because nothing is wrong.

    149 people died that day -tragic as it may be, it’s about the death toll over a weekend on the roads of Europe.
    (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/statistics/index_en.htm)

    Of course we should look into the medical history of the pilot, but should be ban all people with metal issues from flying? It may solve the pilot abundance, but would also motivate not trying to find help (go to a doctor, you lose your job…)

    No, his is a tragic incident, and a criminal one – but I don’t see a solution.

    • I somewhat disagree. I don’t think there is a simple solution to a single problem, but as I said above, I the issue of errant pilot behavior generally is something that needs to be focused on, with closer monitoring and a greater willingness to step in when he goes off the rails. These incremental changes may not prevent every tragedy like the Germanwings one, but it reduces the chances of each one happening.

    • Again, and as I’ve outlined above, the implementation of ground override of a civilian airliner would not be decided and acted upon by any other people than authorised personnel that’s already onboard the aircraft in question (i.e flight and cabin crew). I’m talking about a dead man’s type switch used as a last resort of survival for those aboard. That’s IMHO an entirely different concept than the ones you’ve outlined — and I’m still waiting for a good explanation on how such a system could be “gamed”. 🙂

      • in your mind it is used as a last resort. I don’t know of anything that could prevent it from being used differently.

        The 9/11 assholes were trained in flight deck operations – what would prevent anyone from learning how the switch and using it to their advantage, your disadvantage.

  16. Since the end of the 3 pilots era, we can’t have a decision majority in the cockpit to vet out a failing pilot.

    If we need common sense back, let’s give that power to the other persons in the cabin, namely ‘the passengers’ !

    Argument between pilots ? ATC taking over control of the aircraft ? Let the passengers vote who has stick authority !

    A pilot locked out of the cockpit ? Terrorist trying to enter the cockpit ? Let the passengers vote if the door shall open !

    Fish or Chips ? Vote again !

    We already have all the tools in place :
    – locks / system : ok,
    – vetting process : through the IFE (ala ‘Who Want’s to be a millionaire’)

    I think that’s best than all new secret key code, lock or procedure.

    +++

    • That’s a good suggestion with all of the passengers having the ability to vote both easily and instantaneously.

  17. It is with suicidal pilots as it is with the isolated, autodetermined terrorist : the danger is close up, takes you by surprise, leaves seconds only to take abortive action … all in all, the chances for determent are thin or nil. Professional Intelligence (psychiatric monitoring, team drills, group empathy …) is the only hope for prevention. Some changes to the pre-flight Check-List could seem appropriate : you check the aircraft’s functions, but you also check the state-of-mind of your colleague in the opposite seat, oder ?

  18. “Some changes to the pre-flight Check-List could seem appropriate : you check the aircraft’s functions, but you also check the state-of-mind of your colleague in the opposite seat, oder ?”

    No doubt Andreas Lubitz would have passed that check, like he passed all checks before. The conversation before the crash was informal and friendly. Like the guy himself..

    Maybe not leave pilots alone in the cockpit with less then 4 yrs experience, as a compromise. Gives everyone more time to identify possible problems.

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