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Germanwings Intentionally Crashed? Cockpit Door Locked Out One Pilot

Submitted
The New York Times is reporting the cockpit voice recorder indicates one pilot refused to allow the other back into the cockpit as he crashed the plane intentionally. (www.nytimes.com) More...

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chalet
chalet 6
A probable hare-brained idea: in a situation like this the pilot kept outised the cockpit agains his will will be allowed to send a message to the airline HQ which in turn will reléase the locking mechanism open.
paultrubits
paul trubits 5
Hello Onstar ....
preacher1
preacher1 1
The technology is there but we can regulate something to death. Couple of things here: Who is going to pay for it and #2. Most of us did not find out until the 214 crash that there was a different standard for Airlines coming in here. I think that if they fly into our airspace, they should adhere to our standards under part 121. Seem to me they are under part 192, but not sure on that number, but some of the standards are different.
wopri
Also, any technology might be used in an unintended way to down an aircraft, as the bullet-proof doors now show.
boughbw
Brian Bough 1
I think there is a communication system that allows flight attendants to do this. I seem to recall that on 9/11, flight attendants were communicating with their airlines as to what was taking place on at least one of the flights.
If they can do this for your car when you lock the keys out, I would imagine it would be possible to do it with an airliner.
preacher1
preacher1 1
It is probably doable but not in place. The communication on 9 1 1, I think, was by cell or sat phone
yr2012
matt jensen 2
cell phones don't work above 2000 msl.
preacher1
preacher1 1
On 9 11, they weren't much above that and were still over NYC. They didn't have a problem. I'm a thinkin' that there was only 1 that did and she was on the AA, and I think Todd called his wife over in PA on flight 97 but it was low too.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
Both, United and American Flight Attendants communicated with their company ground personnel by using the onboard "air-phone" systems, which were located in the seatbacks.F/A's and Pax used cell phones, in addition to the Onboard phones, to communicate to the ground thru loved ones who then called the proper authorities.
chalet
chalet 1
Since cell phone communications can not be executed inside an aircraft I was referring to the satellite phones that most airlines carry aboard but so far I learned that it is stored inside the cockpit so to make this a doable solution said satellite phone should be stored in the galleys or anywhere is well behing the aircraft.
usad
usad 1
I bet they could come up with an app that used Bluetooth to unlock the door. Not much chance in intercepting the signal as it would probably just be used in an emergency. Encrypted on the phone and password protected...yeah...that's the ticket.
lyonstom2003
Tom Lyons 1
Are the keycodes to open the hatch changed each flight or are they specific to the plane?
bgai
Bob Green 1
I notice news coverage showing a training video for typing in something on a keypad outside of the cockpit as a way to get in. However I am under the impression that this is not intended to be an entry as you might be able to force a staff member to enter the code.
Hopefully someone here can comment knowledgeably.
BigBadAssLou
BigBadAssLou 1
There is a deadbolt on the inside of the cockpit door to prevent any entry from the passenger compartment.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Time? First you have to reach the bureaucrat within the bureaucracy. How much time did it take to to fly this airplane into the ground? How much time does it take to reach the guy with the code and then have him/her engage it.
CaptainFreedom
I just read breaking new that Air Canada has just implemented the mandatory 2 people minimum in the cockpit at all times rule. This is prudent under the circumstances, and it seems to have worked for US carriers, however I am not sure how effective it really would be. Would it really be difficult for someone who is mentally unstable for whatever reason to quickly incapacitate this individual, particularly if they are physically much larger and stronger? This is not intended as a sexist remark, and there are exceptions, but, generally speaking, how hard would it be for a 6' 200 man to knock out a 5'5" 120 pound woman. My point is this may place flight attendants at unnecessary risk in an area where they are not really trained.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Well, Norwegian announced it today as well. You are probably correct in your thinking, about physical size. It may just be the thought of it. A suicidal person is generally thinking only of themselves and just another person in the pit there with them may turn those thoughts aside, at least temporarily.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
Hey Preach, I'm thinking any pilot can figure a way to bring down a bird if he really wants to. What happens when the pilot flying transitions to climb right after t/o, concentrating on the hsi, and the other pilot jerks the throttles to flight idle? I'm guessing something bad gonna happen even with 2 in the cockpit. BTW, I'm reading that the perp here may have been a recent Muslim convert. That may be hype to sell print.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I'm like you, it's just like a thief. A lock is only gonna stop an honest man. It will only slow a thief down for a few. I think you could have a cockpit full and if they wanted to take it down they could. 2 in there is just window dressing. It may help some as far as a deterrent but it wouldn't stop it if somebody wanted too. Ala the FedEx some years back. The guys plans changed as far as what he thought he would have to deal with crew size but he tried anyway. Had it not been a couple of Vietnam Vets, he'd probably have been successful. I haven't heard anything about the Muslim angle yet but I wouldn't be surprised if it came out, real or imagined.
wopri
There is nothing in the story about a terrorist angle and nothing about a conversion to islam. The guy was sick.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/world/Personal+life+crisis+Germanwings+pilot+under+investigation/10925014/story.html
preacher1
preacher1 1
The muslim angle has now come out
wopri
Do you have a source for the muslim angle?
preacher1
preacher1 1
It came off Facebook, put out by the Tea Party but no real news source link. He is that FB link if you want it. Some of the major news services apparently picked up on it as well.

http://www.tpnn.com/2015/03/27/breaking-germanwings-co-pilot-was-muslim-convert/
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I read it on a pop up of some little known (to me) publication. Said the conversion took place during the 6 months he was off.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Yeah, I think that what this says too. I really don't think they know. It all fits though
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
The outcome is the same whether you're mental or a kool aid drinker with a cause.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Yep, including him, 150 people dead.
wopri
Does not seem to be a trustworthy source.
royhunte92
Roy Hunte 1
What they are referring to is having a check pilot on board in case of emergency.
JD345
JD345 1
With a little planning and the right timing, how hard would it be to strangle the guy in the other seat? Hands, eyes, and mind all occupied, focused on doing something with the plane, and BANG, cord around the neck, whatever else.

Having someone else in the cockpit is an implicit security measure, not an explicit one. It wouldn't deter some ISIS sicko, but for some one like this where the lights are on and no one's home, it's all about the path of least resistance. The abstraction of flying a plane into the ground so indirectly with the autopilot, not just nose diving into the deck or doing something similarly sensational, tells me this guy wasn't going to physically overpower someone in the process -- it was him getting to be alone without confrontation that allowed it to happen. A 10-year-old girl sitting in the cockpit would have been just as good as having a green beret in the cockpit.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
There is no such thing a the perfect defensive plan and I don't think anyone has proposed one. As preacher said above, 'locks only keep honest men out'. A 97 pound female F/A would qualify as a second in the cockpit. Her only advantage would be fleeting and then if she were standing. But she may be able to get the door opened to let the pilot in. It may all come down to the intuition you use every day.
bbullock
Bill Bullock 4
I'm on the other side of the pond. Y'know where they used to say on maps "Here be Dragons". Oh! no, it was your side wasn't it.
preacher1
preacher1 1
kprichter
kprichter 4
Looks like suicide committed by PIC: Once at altitude, the other pilot gets out of his seat, closes door. PIC changes willingly the altitude setting on autopilot, leaving throttle and course as is. He does neither react to calls from ATC, nor to the knocks on the door. He was not incapacitated. If so, the autopilot would have kept FL380 till the cows come home. Then he just waits.
BaronG58
BaronG58 8
No not suicide...pilot-murder. Suicide means "to kill oneself"..this co-pilot took 149 innocent lives with him.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 2
This was CFIT. Controlled Flight Into Terrain. Might as well just say this "event" was a Controlled Murder Into Terrain.
simakperrce
Simak Perrce 1
Looks like. Though why commit suicide through a normal descent which takes quite some time and might have given the pilot or others opportunity to re-enter the cockpit? Why not autopilot off, engines off and nose down. Much faster. Then again, maybe he wanted to let fate decide. We'll never fully know...
preacher1
preacher1 1
That is a question.
BigBadAssLou
BigBadAssLou 1
If he really cared to do it fast, he would have firewalled the throttles and pushed the nose down to overspeed and overstress the airframe.
As has been already pointed out: we will never know what he was thinking.
Then again, do we really want to know what crazy religious nutcases are really thinking? *shrug*
preacher1
preacher1 3
Nutcase I'll agree with. Easy on the religious as it ain't part of this conversation.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 4
I would think that the passengers would have panicked and started sending text or tried to make phone calls if something like that was going on. Eight minutes is a long time, there would be tweets, emails, texts etc. and I haven't heard of anything like that.
latteju
latteju 10
About texting / cell phone:
Yes, there are villages and most probably there is cell phone coverage in the area of the last part of the flight.
But the plane was flying at 400 kts. GSM phone cells are small (few km diameter and the plane flying at 900 km/h, leaves only 10-20 seconds per cell) and it takes a while for the phone to register with a base station. Most passengers are non-French so mobile roaming is involved, which takes even longer to register.
Because of this, they were most probably not able to get a lock on a base station.
If they tried, I would assume that the phone operators could check the logs and see if people tried. That could help to indicate whether or not the passengers were incapacitated by hypoxia.

I'm a telecoms engineer, but not in the mobile business. So anyone, feel free to correct me.
antokalaz1
Excellent response.
mschacht44
Mike Schacht 3
Unless there is wifi on the flight and its actually working, making a call, sending a text, email , etc is completely useless. Also there is probably no cell towers in the French Alps so even when the plane gets down to around 10k there is still no signal for any passengers to work with. The best thing anyone with a phone can do is record a good bye message to their friends and family and maybe take some pictures of what is going on around the plane. There is a slight chance that the phone memory could survive a crash and maybe help in the investigation on what happened to cause the crash.
birtsjoe
Joe Birts 1
Considering how mangled the FDR and Voice recorder were, I doubt any cell phones would have survived the impact ; maybe the memory card but doubtful.
AONeal79
AONeal79 2
Also, the pilot would have hopefully enlisted other people to try to break the door down. For all we know, that's what happened and the door stayed intact.
paultrubits
paul trubits 8
The law of unintended consequences. This never would have happened pre 9-11.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Well, unless I am mistaken, U.S. Carriers are required to bring another flight crew member into the cockpit.
AONeal79
AONeal79 1
Yep. Two unrelated circumstances (possible incapacitation; impenetrable cockpit) that aren't tragic independently, but combined....
khaiduk
Kevin Haiduk 1
Weren't they in a remote area in the mountains? Probably no cell coverage. Also, at that decent rate is that what you would be doing?
pilot62
Scott Campbell 12
And this is why US airlines have a FA GO INSIDE THE FLIGHT DECK if one pilot comes out !!!
SWEATINTHSWAMP
That's good policy in theory but if a pilot is deranged enough he can easily overcome a cabin attendant one would think.
CaptainFreedom
You're right. For now this is an OK stop gap measure but is certainly not a long-term solution. If you are going to have armed marshalls on the plane (like El Al), then do it....properly.
AONeal79
AONeal79 4
No idea why this is downvoted. It's true.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
This idea will never "fly" with the Airlines. It's all about cost.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
There is no sure fire permanent solution. A deranged man could over come a mature male as well as a slight built F/A. The guy would have to get out of the sitting position first and with no warning. I don't think airmarshalls are on every single flight yet.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
Mark- So true. You know, I don't think there is an answer to this. It's really unfortunate.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Preacher said it well when he said "locks only keep honest people out" and someone else mentioned early on that all the money and time devoted to keeping people out of the cockpit kept the pic out of it as well. We have so many examples where bureaucracy has only added to the problem. I.m not sure another law or regulation will help or hinder. I'm inclined to think that more rules, regulations and laws will hinder on site solutions and cost more lives and equipment.
wwharris
Bill Harris 1
With countries now rushing emergency rules to address this issue, I'm seeing many media outlets claiming that "two crew members in the cockpit at all times" is the rule for US operators. However, I'm not finding that rule in the FARs.

Is this actually a FAR requirement, or is it policy implemented by the individual airlines? I realize that FAA probably has review and approval over many of the operational procedures of individual air carriers, so it may effectively work as a regulatory requirement without actually being published as a rule. Can any of the industry professionals here clear up where the authority for this "rule" really originates?
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, I can't call it chapter and verse but I don't think it's just the 121 gang. I flew 135/91 for a lifetime and it was applicable to us. I was director of flight ops as well and I remember it coming down. We took most of our stuff thru Jepp. and I generally didn't question the stuff. Besides, it made perfect sense, especially at the time
AONeal79
AONeal79 3
Hoping for hypoxia, not homicide.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 5
It would explain the lack of communications with controllers -- they didn't answer repeated calls and sent out no distress calls during the eight minute descent. They may not have been flying level, but they were flying straight, so they probably weren't fighting with the plane.
AONeal79
AONeal79 1
And if not hypoxia, something along the lines of heart attack, aneurysm, etc... I'm sure they're diving into medical records right now. Hoping they find a body to examine.
evbutler
Ev Butler 1
I don't think it was lack of oxygen. In the crates I have flown, the flight deck had the same environment as the cabin. Airbus may have a sealed cockpit. If so, it is different from a Boeing or MD-80 series. Lose oxygen on the fight deck and the rest of the craft loses atmosphere also. It is not a cocoon with its own atmosphere, is it? Thus, I dismiss the hypoxia theory.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Doesn't appear to be, and Ed, if, if you are wrong on the Boeings, I have been too for years
wdoyle1
Bill Doyle 3
Sorry if this is a stupid question (forgive me) but couldn't flight decks be extended to accommodate a flight crew toilet? That way they do not need to leave the deck.
Wayne47
How about they just issue the pilots "Depends" and require pilots to stay in the cockpit for the entire flight unless the plane requires 3 crew in the cockpit....then 1 could leave at a time.

Even if the Captain had been in the cockpit the outcome may not have changed because the copilot could have easily incapacitated the Captain without warning any number of ways.

Basically if a pilot wants to sabotage an aircraft from the flight deck there is little that can be done to prevent it. In this case however being allowed to single seat an A320 with only 600 hours of total flight time seems risky...requiring more flight time for such a responsibility could ensure a higher level of pilot maturity and provide an increased window of time to weed out pilots who may have potentially problematic mental or personality issues.
yr2012
matt jensen 1
He didn't need more than 600 hrs to crash it
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, single seating at cruise is not a big deal if there is a qualified officer in charge, which there was. As far as the incapacitation, I think it will just depend on the individuals and how an attack comes about. Granted, it was 3 instead of 2, but the FedEx md11 from a few yesrs back almost didn't make it. Probably with a lesser crew, he would have succeeded.
jimp9106
N306FE DC-10 Still in the air , I think you are correct , If they only had 2 crew they would have been screwed.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I think they have all been reconfigured into a morphidyte MD11. They just had 2 crew. The 3rd man in that meelee was the perp. Suicidal with and axe up against 2 Vietnam vets. Neither are flying today as a result of disabilities in that deal
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
There's not that much space on most birds. Have you looked at how tight a space a 737 flight deck is?

And, I don't think any birds have crew quarters accessible from the flight deck. They must leave the cockpit for multicrew rest periods.
wdoyle1
Bill Doyle 1
Thanks guys, but if the security door to the cockpit was 6/7 foot further back there would be room. Wouldn't you think?
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 4
On new construction, sure. But that's a lot of real estate on an airliner, i.e., a lot of space that is not producing revenue.

Carriers won't go for that.
wdoyle1
Bill Doyle 1
Good point, thanks Ken
yr2012
matt jensen 1
And take away revenue seats? Not a chance.
evbutler
Ev Butler 1
It is possible but not practical. RyanAir wanted to eliminate the toilets altogether on their planes. They can add more seats where the toilets are. More seats, more revenue. Also, less toilets, less weight. It would certainly be more convenient for the pilots. It just ain't gonna happen.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
I don't think that's a stupid question, Bill. I'm sure there are engineers "noodling" on that concept right now. While they're at it, incorporate a galley. A sterile cockpit during flight. That might be a bit extreme. Maybe not.
wayne007
Wayne Jeffrey 3
Here's a simple (sort of) solution...
Pressure switches in both seats that detect when someone is seated. Only when both seats are occupied can the keypad override be used. Whenever a seat is unoccupied, regardless of the setting of the override switch, the keypad will work.
natfilippini
Nat Filippini 2
I foresee the day when flight control software will prevent a plane from destroying itself, whether on autopilot or not.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Like I have said in several comments here, the technology is probably ou there in some form but who will pay for it?
clandel
I'm not even sure that having 2 in the cockpit is a failsafe. For example, in the Egyptair 990 suicide crash the pilot re-entered the cockpit but was unable to correct the situation in time. As pointed out by others, somebody in the cockpit determined to bring a plane down can probably work around any safeguard. The best thing you can do is try and screen out people who might do this. It's been pretty successful if one considers the number of pilots through history in contrast to the number of times an event like this has occurred.
preacher1
preacher1 1
As you say there is no fail safe when somebody is determined. You cannot protect from everything. 2 in the cockpit might be a deterrent at best.
n6fb
Press is reporting the co-pilot set the autopilot to full descent mode How can they possibly now this since the FDR has not been recovered???
jmilleratp
John Miller 2
To my thought, the most important aspect of what's happened is depression and its stigma. The FAA has done little on this issue. Allowing a small number of medications is it so far. If those don't work for someone, they just have to suck it up and fly if they want a paycheck. There is little safety net, as Disability Insurance is mostly useless, with those companies fighting like hell to deny claimants. People are mostly scared to engage anyone with depression issues, and are likely to run from anyone with psychiatric issues. So, pilots who are dealing with depression and other psychological and/or psychiatric issues are going to mostly be left untreated or not properly treated. So, it would be best for attitudes to change to address pilots facing these issues.
flygirl620se
John, I am going to play Devil's Advocate here. There are different types of depression. The depression one gets from a traumatic event such as a death or loss are rarely long term and are easily treatable. True Clinical depression is chronic, recurring and can last a lifetime and there can be a genetic component to it. The drugs used to treat this type of depression have numerous side effects that can interfere with ones judgement and skill set. I don't know about you, but I don't want to fly with someone who has a long term mental issue like this. I won't even get into untreated bi-polar disorder. Perhaps someone with true and chronic psychiatric issues should not pursue a flying career where the trust of the general public is put into their hands. It seems very selfish to me that someone would be willing to risk the lives of others for their own interests. I do understand where you are coming from. Chronic depression runs in my family and can be very difficult to treat. I am one of the fortunate ones who did not inherit the gene. Perhaps there does need to be a psychiatric evaluation at the ATP level.
preacher1
preacher1 2
I remember that USAF had a psychiatric screening for pilots and high stress/security clearance positions. Best I remember from back in the day, it was a joke. Questions were leading and if you answered them wrong you wouldn't get the job and hence there went any chance of a career. I guess the doc could look at body language but most didn't. Flight Surgeon, or in this case civilian AME, is probably best line of defense, aided by co-workers. I personally think self reporting is useless, due to needing a paycheck but I don't have all the answers. Even if someone did report and get treatment and was brought back, there would be the trust issue as that would spread like wildfire.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
Maybe he was just a kool aid drinker doing what kool aid drinkers do.
Quackers
Quackers 2
Not saying it is what we are all thinking in the back of our heads, but remember, the PIC did crash a E-190 (LAM Mozambique iirc) about a year or two ago
AONeal79
AONeal79 3
Also, SilkAir 185.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Let's don't forget EgyptAir.
Quackers
Quackers 1
Yeah. Although if I remember right 990 they weren't locked out... disgruntled employee has done it before too... that PSA BAe, and unsuccessfully, the fedex cargo jet....
dupre
roberto dupre 2
Just may be, a repeat of Egypt Air B-767 with a psycho pilot that ditched the airliner in the name of Allah...
preacher1
preacher1 3
May be but there were 149 other folks on there that may not care about Allah or not want to meet him this quick if they do.
pilot62
Kicking in the bathroom bulkhead or the Galley
Would be easier then breaking down the the Ammored
Door - just future A320 operational information
JD345
JD345 2
Are we that afraid of terrorism that we'd rather have something like this than take the tiny risk of having someone take a key from the captain's cold dead fingers, or beat a passcode out of him?
fedexman2
Eric Schmaltz 2
A pilot who has the intent of crashing a plane could easily overtake a FA. How do we solve this? An armed air marshal supervising the PIC while the other pilot uses the restroom? How could you be certain that an ARMED marshal might not try to bring down a plane. This event is going to have far reaching effects. We put our lives in the hands of these pilots and we assume they love their jobs and have our best interest/lives/safety at heart. Sadly, this is apparently not the case here. There will have to be some type of system whereas a pilot can "lock" the autopilot on while he steps away from the controls and that input can only be unlocked with 2 passcodes/inputs/thumbprint scan/retinal scan..whatever,from BOTH pilots for the control to be reinstated to both pilots. A sad day for aviation to be sure.
JD345
JD345 3
A pilot could kill the guy next to him in his seat, too. How do we protect against that? An air marshal in the jump seat? The marshal could lose his marbles and shoot both of the pilots. So an air marshal to watch the air marshal...
...there is no way to fully protect against the lone psycho.
McDiver
Reminds me of Dr. Seuss - the Watchers watching the Watchers watch the Watch Watchers. Same thing for all the layers being proposed on equipment and SOP.

A lot of overhead, but not a lot of gain in the system.
flyingcookmosnter
Agree with JD. This type of incident along with face-palm human error incidents, are just ammo for the pilot-less aircraft lobby if you can call it that. I think everyone knows in the back of their mind that pilot-less is where civil passenger aviation is going eventually . . . hopefully WAY down the road. Once computers can be reliable enough and the system able to accommodate, we will start seeing passenger flights without a human pilot. From 3 to 2, from 2 to 1, from 1 to none.

What the pilot-less lobby doesn't get is that the next generation of psycho can bring ALL of the pilot-less aircraft down if he is a good enough hacker.
FrankHarvey
Frank Harvey 1
The more secure features we install the more difficult we might make it for a flight crew attempting to resolve an emergency from making essential deviations from the computed "standard" permitted protocols. Airbus already seems to have gone a long way towards having computers override humans.
In Papa X-Ray's case it seems that the bypass-proof locks we installed on the door to prevent the "bad guys" from gaining access prevented the "good guy" from trying to save the a/c.
If we require two passcodes or keys to "unlock" the autopilot what happens if one of the keyholders deliberately dumps his key in the head ? Does the a/c keep flying at 38000 until fuel is exhausted ? No, we need a bypass procedure. So, what stops the "bad guy" from using the bypass procedure to unlock the autopilot in the same way that the "bad guy" used the door lock system to isolate Papa X's flight deck ?
JD345
JD345 2
The problem is, fancy or not, a cockpit door is a door, and there's no door in existence anywhere on the planet that can guarantee absolutely 100% of the time that it will let the right people in and keep the wrong people out.

Unless they just get rid of the door entirely and make the pilots climb in through the window like a NASCAR then put a few layers of battleship armor between the cockpit and the rest of the cabin, they can't guarantee the cockpit is going to be 100% secure keep the wrong people out. And if they make a way for someone to always be able to override it from outside, there's a human factor and that can always be manipulated in some way or another, whether it's taking a key, stealing a code, holding his amputated finger up to a print scanner, or what not.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Hello onstar
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 2
I notice that when the descent started, speed increased, as expected. However, about half way to the ground, the speed is reduced. Can someone proffer an explanation for this?
royhunte92
Roy Hunte 1
Maybe the idiot had second thoughts too late.
WtfWtf
WtfWtf 3
Pilot 1 goes to bathroom, Pilot 2 starts descent in VS mode.. Has a heart attack and dies before entering the level off altitude. Pilot 1 tries to get back in but it's too late?
MMPilot
MMPilot 3
Why Pilot 2 should have started descent mode before becoming incapacitated ? It shows up no reason leaving level (human action) without informing ATC. Sequence looks more like suicide with controlled flight into terrain.
jeremyhanna
jeremyhanna 1
One important factor you're missing. Why would he lock out the other pilot. The captain tried using his code entry, but that can be disabled from the inside.
AONeal79
AONeal79 1
Not sure about the descent part, but the rest seems plausible.
TonynWichita
Tony Wilcoxen 0
28 year old has heart attack.... 28 year old killed 149 people!!!
twincessna
If it's hypoxia why is the 1st or cap. Knocking then banging on the door.
AONeal79
AONeal79 5
Hint: The guy banging on the door isn't the one with hypoxia.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 5
I thought I was hypoxic when I read that...
pilot62
lmao /
latteju
latteju 1
Too early to jump to conclusions. But it is normal that everybody is thinking about possible scenarios. Can somebody with more knowledge than myself comment if the following could be a possible scenario?

* One of the pilots goes to the bathroom
* At that moment oxygen levels get low
* person in the cockpit is too slow or doesn't realize and is incapacitated by hypoxia. However, he still starts the descent to a safer altitude.
* person in the bathroom realizes and can grab a 'portable oxygen device' for cabin crew
* the plane keeps descending, but nobody is in the cockpit to terminate the descent.

Questions to that:
* explosive or rapid decompression: should be audible on the CVR, isn't it ?
* slow decompression: would that sound any alarms in the cockpit. I'd hope so, but then it would also be audible on the CVR.
* if the person in the cockpit started a descent. Would that be on manual flight controls? Or is that also an automated procedure?
* If it is an automated procedure. Would that level of at a certain altitude or just fly down at a certain angle?
TonynWichita
Tony Wilcoxen 7
28 year old Co pilot with 630 hours killed 149 people.... That is why in the USA if the pilot or co pilot removes themselves from the cockpit a flight attendant comes to the cockpit. That way you always have two up front. I'm sure the rest of the world will go by that by the end of the day or the end of the week. Very very sad.
jamescagney2000
It's not hypoxia
nasdisco
Chris B 1
I'm absolutely stunned by this news.
ddgeorge44
David George 1
Anyone know if we have the two bodies in the cockpit at all times rule in Canada?
Quackers
Quackers 1
As far as I know Canada does. (Seen it on Air Canada and WestJet at least)
boughbw
Brian Bough 1
The location is a bit remote: hard to say if they would have service.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 1
Looking at the location of the crash site and the surrounding area on Google Earth, there are a number of villages and roads in the area. I find it hard to believe that there wouldn't be cell coverage in the area, and one should be able to connect with the cells as the plane descended. Even if you try to send a text at cruising altitude and can't connect, phone will continuously search for a cell to connect to and then send and receive pending messages.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 3
I'm halfway between DC and Richmond, VA, just outside a good sized city. Good luck getting a cell signal here. I have no problem at all believing there was no cell coverage in the flight area.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 1
You may be in a dead-zone because you're not within line of sight of a cell tower, but you would have a signal a fe thousand feet up.
terry1
terry malone 1
That is not true. 99% of the U.S has no cell phone tower service up in the flight even strong enough to send or receive a text/
annellandfrank
John Taylor 1
Did anyone mentioned the need for a simple "relief tube"? USAF fighter ferry flts w/tanker support often exceeded 5+00 hrs....all had a "tube"!
macdon1
30 minutes into flight..a toilet break? Of no
consequence,but unusual..
boughbw
Brian Bough 1
An unusual story about which I am reminded: Last year, one year ago this week in fact, a Jet Blue flight was forced to land in Amarillo.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-03-27/jetblue-plane-diverted-after-captain-becomes-ill-during-flight

As I recall, the copilot took over and locked the pilot out of the cockpit by changing the combination when the pilot left to use the lavatory. The copilot had judged that the pilot was not fit to fly (details in the article linked).

I'm not sure what security Germanwings had in-place, but if it was the same mechanism by which a code could be entered for the pilot to re-enter the cockpit, then it would be likely the remaining pilot had to change the code. The other possibility, that the exited pilot forgot the code and some kind of health event overtook the remaining pilot in the cockpit, seems remote. It would be two acts to crash the plane rather than one: locking out the exited pilot and using the plane's controls to intentionally crash. Not knowing how the 320 operates, it may be even more difficult than this to essentially override the computer to fly the plane into the ground.
Bchaserealty
Bob Chase 1
I'm not a commercial pilot but perhaps a security card situation carried by both pilots. Both cards would need to be inserted into a software console before and after autopilot is engaged. If pilot leaves cockpit he removes his security card. And autopilot can not be disengaged until second security card is reinserted. The same software app may also control the hatch rather than the present method. Pilot must insert card then pin and he's in and both pilots together are in control.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
You have more trust in technology than I do. That seems to be the Airbus thought train though. I like the idea of human pilot over ride ability to all systems, personally.

In this case, we humans built A door more stout than it was and found out 15 years later that a flight deck crewman could not reenter. Why? Because another crewman locked him out with an electronic code. I like the American solution of always having a minimum of two flight crew in the cockpit at all times during operations.No system is perfect and men and machinery will fail from time to time. Only The Supreme Being has access to perfection.
wopri
And what do you do if for whatever reason one security card gets lost or is unreadable? They would fly on autopilot until the lights go out?
Gabian
Joe GOEPFERT 1
Heard 2 hours ago on french info radio that F/O's body found with torn documents in pocket showing him on sick leave. Was not supposed to fly. Apparently Airline not advzd.
vanstaalduinenj
Not sure the electronic devices would have service in that remote area
@torsten hoff
netti161
netti161 1
It's remote where they crashed, but not too remote for about half of the descent (I'd say). Of course, it probably took a while until people realized what's going on...
cgkjellman
Carl Kjellman

I don`t understand how a serious company can let a depressed man work as pilot on a

plane. The co-pilot should not have been allowed any where near the cockpit
preacher1
preacher1 3
Had anyone known, he wouldn't have been allowed to. Not knowing appears to be the thing here.
BaronG58
BaronG58 1
Right Preach. Not knowing is the problem. My wife was a therapist working with mental, drugs, alcohol etc. etc..for years. She was telling me mental illness especially depression is hard to police. Family members may see signs something is wrong but reluctant to intervene. But in the outside world a depressed person can function well and when the individual makes the decision to act on their emotions the burden is lifted and days or weeks before the act they can appear to be the life of the party. So Preach I'm stumped. Increasing security protocol in workplace (cockpit) I guess will help but seems to me individual like this will continue to slip through the cracks on occasion.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Well, as a couple of folks have said here on the various threads, you cannot protect against everything. There are some things that are going to happen in spite of best efforts. I could preach a good sermon here but won't. It will just have to suffice to say that there is a lot of stuff out there right now that is hammering at us. Now, whether they have always been there and we are just now hearing about them/identifying them matters not. They are there, they are identified and we must do our best to deal with them. Our biggest problem is going to be keeping from a knee jerk reaction as we have on so many things. Ultimately, this world is going to have to get back to God. My sermon for today.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
I think you are right on. Mental health is one layer of flying risk that has been reduced but probably will never be eliminated.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, now they are throwing some mental illness in the mix.
lyonstom2003
Tom Lyons 1
Is it unusual for a Captain to hand over the controls to the FO for a bathroom break 25 minutes into a two hour flight?
preacher1
preacher1 1
The flight time is not a factor by itself. It is where you are in that flight and they were at cruise. All settled and done, primarily monitoring. Normal
chickkakka
Is this indicates that preplanned one?
Fun2track
Maybe one of you real pilots could fill me in. Would the PIC that was left in the pit have any reason to mess with the auto pilot while the the other pilot was out of his seat? What I am wondering is that if there was a need for an adjustment/correction and a medical emergency of some sort that incapacitated the PIC, he would not have been able to reset the auto pilot? Seems to me we may never know. Terrible.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I wouldn't think so, based on where they were.
tnite7oo
tnite7oo 1
C'mon folks, we land spacecraft on Mars for god sake...we can't figure out
how to fix this ??
AONeal79
AONeal79 1
You mean get rid of human error/decisions? No.
skedar
Sharon Kedar 1
Question: I do not see any mentions of announcements heard on the plane PA system. Passenger must have seen the Captain banging on the door in the rather small A320. I'm sure they where wondering what in the world was going on. Is it odd that there is no reference to a PA announcement trying to (at least at first) calm people down?
preacher1
preacher1 1
The only thing that has came out was that on the CVR toward the end, you could hear pax screaming.
skedar
Sharon Kedar 1
Question: I do not see any mentions of announcements on the plane PA system. Passenger must have seen the Captain banging on the door in the rather small A320. I'm sure they where wondering what in the world was going on. Is it odd that there is no reference to a PA announcement trying to (at least at first) calm people down?
ellebelle
ellebelle 1
We are US citizens living in Europe and fly a variety of low-cost and legacy carriers. For every flight that I have been on, when one of the pilots leaves the cockpit, a F/A enters; ensuring two people are in it at all times. Wondering if the requirement is EU mandated or a rule by each airline.
preacher1
preacher1 1
They say that it is U.S. mandated but not a requirement in the EU. If it is done over there it must be an airline policy or could even be local to the flight I guess
Fun2track
Maybe one of you real pilots could fill me in. Would the PIC that was left in the pit have any reason to mess with the auto pilot while the the other pilot was out of his seat? What I am wondering is that if there was a need for an adjustment/correction and a medical emergency of some sort that incapacitated the PIC, he would not have been able to reset the auto pilot? Seems to me we may never know. Terrible.
preacher1
preacher1 1
This is basically speculation too, but in the nutshell: They got to cruise and settled in. Captain had to go P. No problem with FO handling as all should be automatic. They would have stayed at cruise a fair bit until getting closer to Dusselldorf. I can't see any reason that anything would need to be touched at that point. The only thing I am really curious about is why, if suicide was the intent, is why the descent wasn't faster and why there was no fire/explosion or real impact point. Then again, if he was incapacitated, why did he put it on a descent at all.
allench1
allench1 0
It is my understanding from John whom gets his info from an insider in Germany that the first officer adjusted the rate of descent mode thereby eliminating any doubt as to his intentions
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, I can believe that. I'm a thinkin' he started out somewhere around 2 grand and would up about 3500 grand per minute. Regardless, it crashed. Some have talked about dumping fuel on the way down but the A320 does not have fuel dumps.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
Here's an article and video on the cockpit door:

http://www.aviationpros.com/news/12058651/video-shows-how-a-pilot-might-have-been-locked-out-of-the-cockpit
bbullock
Bill Bullock 1
That's the English way of saying sarcasm while pretending to avoid offence usually unsuccssessfully
genethemarine
Gene spanos 1
Gaining re-entry:
Why didn't they apply a combo type lock on the cockpit door ?
Easy access back in. Unless the high security bolt was thrown.
In that case then only a key and over ride the high security type lock - period.
Locks by time....high security locks only by more time.
SWEATINTHSWAMP
A lot of what you are suggesting will probably be accomplished shortly. At least some improvement for intentional safe entry.
antokalaz1
The "lock out" was set by the pilot. So no way to use the code to get back in....this prevents someone being forced to give to code for access.
ptmalm
Pete Martinez 1
Here's a possible solution: When pilot A has to leave the cockpit, they enter a code, which prevents pilot B from locking pilot A out. Upon pilot A's return, when they enter the access code, it re-enables the lockout feature. This would lower security for a bit, but could have prevented what happened here.
wopri
A French prosecutor says the co-pilot of the Germanwings airbus was breathing normally and appeared to want to “destroy the plane.” He was a German national without any indication of a connection to terrorism.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/world/Germanwings+Flight+9525+pilot+appeared+want+destroy+plane/10921505/story.html
preacher1
preacher1 1
There has got to be something here not being told about this FO, for him to be arbitrarily blamed for taking the plane down. Granted, all appears to point that way, but how do they know he was not incapacitated in some way. The other thing, as I have stated, that bothers me and some other folks, how come no fire.
Riley38625
Bob Hanson 1
"... how do they know he was not incapacitated in some way?"

Not a pilot but after watching the video on the door locking system I'll take a guess.

1) FO wasn't going to open the door so the pilot punches in the code.

2) buzzer sounds in cockpit for 30 seconds and door opens if "no response from cockpit"

Video doesn't specifically say this but if the buzzer only sounds say 10 seconds, FO locks door for 5 minutes, buzzer stops. Meaning FO is not incapacitated, door remains locked and stuff happens.

My two cents.
ssjan
Jan F 1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

One pilot exited cockpit on Germanwings flight 9525

According to an official involved in the investigation of the fated Germanwings flight 9525, one pilot was locked out of the cockpit during the plane's final minutes.

http://jansaviation.com/news.php?art=one-pilot-exited-cockpit-on-germanwings-flight-9525
pr0ject
El Kabong 1
I'm with the suicide theorists. I'm guessing Germanwings never adopted the 2 body rule in the cockpit like the US does.
latteju
latteju 1
So how does that work when the captain or co-pilot needs to go to the bathroom? Does a member of the cabin crew need to sit in the cockpit during that time?
pilot62
Correctional it's supposed to be world wide two bodies at all
Times in a cockpit - German wings didn't get the memo I guess
pr0ject
El Kabong 1
European airlines have no such requirements (but probably will soon as EasyJet has already changed it's SOP to include 2-body cockpits)
preacher1
preacher1 1
So has Norwegian and Air Canada
preacher1
preacher1 1
My understanding that at this time it is only an optional thing over there.
AONeal79
AONeal79 1
From what I understand, not all US airlines require 2 people in the cockpit at all times. Can anyone confirm?
birtsjoe
Joe Birts 1
My understanding is that it is an FAA requirement for US flights.
pr0ject
El Kabong 1
You are correct. See http://fsims.faa.gov/wdocs/8900.1/v03%20tech%20admin/chapter%2002/03_002_001.pdf

Section 3-47 part B, section 1, subsection f indicates an F/A to remain on the flight deck until PIC or PNF returns.
Yazoo
Yazoo 1
OK for those who asked. Prior to 911, and the secure cockpit door, it was not uncommon for 1 pilot to leave the cockpit for physiological reasons. This would leave only one person in the cockpit. After 911 we installed the secure door. The US airlines elected not to modify aircraft with a video system to verify who was at the door prior to cockpit entry. Without a video system, one crew member must get up from a control seat to look through a peep hole to verify who is attempting entry. Therefore, once one person leaves the cockpit, the US carriers established the policy where a F/A would enter the cockpit. That F/A would verify, via the peep hole, who was entering. This allowed the sole pilot to remain at the controls and did not require him to just electricly unlook the cockpit door without verifying who was entering.
Some foreign carriers elected to ìnstall a video system. This allows the single pilot flying, to verify who is entering, electrically unlock the door, without getting up from a control seat.
elsidd
I'm sorry politically incorrect on my first post,
back to a 3 person flight management control center.
AONeal79
AONeal79 1
Not necessary anymore for modern aircraft, and not the right solution to this very modern problem.
30west
30west 1
I think Dennis was being sarcastic because of his description of a cockpit.
elsidd
No, not being sarcastic, just being politically correct and meaning it, we need 3 pilots in the flight management compartment at all time, fill up the jump seats ad a third pilot, yes it costs, but what are 150 lives worth?
elsidd
Back to a 3 man cockpit
dupre
roberto dupre 0
too soon,way too soon
COlson16
Charlie Olson 0
Anyone know why the investigators can't figure out what happen even though they have the flight recorder?
jamescagney2000
Just because they aren't making it public doesn't mean they don't know what might have happened.
Wayne47
Reportedly they have the cockpit voice recorder. There are reports they also have the on-board flight data recorder however 1 of its memory cards was reported to be missing.
jayestes
Jay Estes 1
they are still saying they "haven't found" the data recorder as of yet.
birtsjoe
Joe Birts 1
The FDR records a lot of data and can take a while to read out even if undamaged. Photos that I've seen, show that at least one of the recorders was pretty banged up, so it could take longer to recover. Looks like it hit a speed so there could be impact damage that could slow recovery of the data.
Early indications seem to rule out a mechanical problem, so the Cockpit voice recorder data will be the critical factor in determining what happened.
bbullock
Bill Bullock -4
Come on all you Xenophobic American, "if it ain't Boeing I'm not going", not invented here types. Surely you can come up with some contorted thought up reasoning why it must be the fault of airbus industrie.
preacher1
preacher1 4
I am probably one of Boeing's biggest proponents on here as that it all I have ever flown and don't like being locked out of my ability to control a plane, but any of them will go to the ground when commanded to.
bbullock
Bill Bullock 1
Is that right - you can't get locked out of a Boeing flight deck. D'you know, I reckon that might be how quite a few hijackers get in
30west
30west 2
You can be locked out of the cockpit on the Boeings and Airbuses.
preacher1
preacher1 1
No, I said locked out of my ability to controls mu plane. Cockpit door apparatus is standard regardless of aircraft. Might be a tad of difference on installation but as far as I know, it looks like the locking mechanism is the same. I can't say with a certainty as I have never graced the cockpit of an Airbus.
30west
30west 1
My post was in response to Bill's question, not your post.
bbullock
Bill Bullock 2
Thank you John. There was a teeney weeney element of irony in my reply as I'm sure you guessed.
bbullock
Bill Bullock 0
Irony is the English way of saying sarcasm while pretending to avoid offence, hopefully unsuccessfully. Incidentally, have you heard about the Englishman with an inferiority complex?
He thought he was the same as everyone else.
preacher1
preacher1 4
I can recognize sarcasm a mile away but generally don't engage in it with someone I don't know. I requested a sarcasm font that many of us have asked for at least 3 months ago but FA chose to do a home page upgrade that nobody really wanted rather than stuff that had been asked for.
bbullock
Bill Bullock 1
preacher1 you are such hard work. You havn't got relatives working on the immigration desks at airports have you. Because I think I recognise the sense of humour
preacher1
preacher1 1
No such Kin but I have got a guy that lives about 5 miles from me by your name, except he was a lawyer all his life and has a daughter that followed him that is TopGun in the divorce world. Bill Bob, is this you?
bbullock
Bill Bullock 1
I'm on the other side of the pond, y'know where they used to write on maps "Here be Dragons". Oh! no! that's your side isn't it.
bbullock
Bill Bullock 1
No Sir, Definitely not me. Name is Bullock as in Sandra
boliviaworldwideexpress
juan guerrero -3
I find it suspicious that the crash of Flight of germanwing completely disintegrated
My company will incorporate this model the airbus 320-200
and lack the black box chip or memory card manager juanguerrero.- charter flights worldwide express Bolivia
djjamar
Jamar Jackson -3
Airlines will eventually go pilotless and be controlled by some one at HQ
OnTheHorizon
Tony Smith 2
That's OK... until someone hacks the ground-air link and takes control and crashes a plane remotely. Then there's no one on board to countermand the hacker's override.
DerekCooks
Derek Thomas 1
IF that happens, I will have taken my last air trip the day before that... I like humans in the pointy end, regardless of their possible flaws.
Taurcan
It is my understanding that the dispute between Lafthansa and its pilots at least partially involves the shrinking of the Lufthansa fleet and the increase in the Size of the Germanwings fleet. If so, I would assume that many pilots would be given the opportunity to transfer over to Germanwings at a lower rate of pay.
The people transferring over would probably have more hours than the accused co-pilot of that doomed flight. That means that with only 640 hours on type, he was probably going to be furloughed. This pilot had worked apparently for almost 5 years as a FA. He really had the determination and heart to stick to his dreams of flight. Perhaps,the company was about to put him on the beach again.
Totally speculative, but the scenario caused by the 2 airlines and their labour disputes with their pilots, might lead to an unbalanced desperate young pilot to make a bad decision. Comments?
BaronG58
BaronG58 1
Richard...I have read several articles that said co-pilot had 600 hrs when he hired on in 2013. If he has 640 hrs in type, that would give him 1240 hrs total experience. Does anyone know if this possible? I do not know foreign carriers minimum requirements for right seat. If true, hiring 600 hr pilot and putting him in the right seat makes know sense.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, a big part of the dispute is that early retirement program, and lest we forget, I don't know about 600, but there were a bunch of newbies hired here at 800-850 before the 1500 hr rule came along.
Taurcan
The talking heads on CNN just reported that he only had 100 hours on type. Hard to believe if he's been with Germanwings for 1.5 years as a pilot. The 600+ hours seems much more likely.
30west
30west 1
Could be on reserve and not being used very much. Or a lot of sick time. ;-)

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