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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:03
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Sky marshals appeal to some but try googling "cop goes crazy with gun" and enjoy the rich delights of what comes up. And I'm sure we recall that US Arways "Federal Flight Deck Officer" whose gun went off in the cockpit some years ago. Not to mention recent high jinx with the Secret Service.

I've encountered the very very occasional "odd" cabin crew member. I guess if we want the most trusted member of the cabin cew, that would likely be the CSD/CSM/FSM/Senior/Lead, or whatever they are called in one's airline. But there was this one CSD.... Airline management and cabin crew unions would/will almost certainly wail about effect on cabin service. But that can be worked out. Edited to add that they are also so much of the fun and camraderie of the last decades that the "second person" sounds fine to me.

And many mental health professionals are mandated to report any ideations of suicide or harm to others. It seems to me that in this already multi linked chain of events, the buck kind of stops at the point where he was able to get on the aircraft, much like the security system has failed if a potentially dangerous passenger makes it onboard. What can be done to catch people with inappropriate mental health issues earlier? Punishing everyone for the misdeeds of one in a million is pointless and there seems to be a variety of missed opportunities in this case. While Cheapo Airlines might think it adequate to come up with a "sanity self assessment checklist" for us to complete on check in, to be placed in the circular file immediately thereafter, seriously, what can be done to catch a disturbed individual before things get out of hand? But then what's to prevent someone from saying they drive a cab when they seek help?

Last edited by bunk exceeder; 28th Mar 2015 at 15:15.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:06
  #2342 (permalink)  
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From the Daily Mail article linked to above:

Earlier today, a passenger on the outbound flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona, which is believed to have had Lubitz on board, questioned why the co-pilot didn't down that flight instead.
Michael, 45, said he saw the pilot leave the cockpit during the 6.45am flight for a toilet break.
He told Bild: 'I sat in the fifth row. I could see the front of the plane. The toilet behind the cockpit was apparently out of order, I could see the red light flashing throughout the flight.
'A man over 40, probably the pilot, in a grey V neck sweater came through the curtain. He went through the plane probably to the rear toilet.
'After an estimated three to five minutes he came back and again opened the cockpit door.'
It seems unlikely that the forward loo was fixed during the turnaround, so the co-pilot would know that the loo break in the return flight would take longer than a few seconds. Also, this would tell him that the pilot did not have a personal embargo on visiting the toilet during a short flight.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:09
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It is unfortunate the current portrayal of this event has made the greater flying public feel unsafe. Regardless of the copilot's actual medical status, the fact he might be able to choose to still fly with an adverse mental state without being stopped is of concern..understandably.
The captain should have overriding access to his 'ship's' deck.
These people should have fast easy access to a toilet, that's bloody ridiculous they don't.
Looking forward to reading the final assessment of this tragic accident that includes the fdr data.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:18
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It's not the door, it's who got inside

I'm a little flabbergasted reading the extensive discussion of door mechanics here. The door is not the problem: Post 9/11 doors have been designed to keep somebody out of the flight deck if the person(s) inside don't want them to enter. That's what this door did. Any possible override systems render the whole thing moot.

The problem is rather that this particular person got a seat in the cockpit in the first place. A company (and by extension, an industry) that drags somebody with a documented mental condition along and puts him in a high risk position has a serious problem. Hell, I wouldn't even be admitted to the initial test because I'm too tall (and too old by now probs). And a guy with a history of major depressive episodes – which is not a "burn out" but a serious clinical diagnosis – gets to become FO?

Also, regarding the "2 persons on deck at all times" rules, I think most of you here are missing the point. It's not about the FA wrestling control from a rogue pilot. And it's not about the FA opening the door, although both might be an added bonus in some scenarios. It's about not creating an opportunity. I'll go out on a limb here and speculate that this wouldn't have happened at this time with this particular flight if the FO hadn't been left alone in the cockpit.

As somebody from the med field already pointed out in this thread somewhere, suicide-crimes like this tend to be premeditated, but not meticulously planned. Perps think a lot about how they're going to do it. But they need an opportunity (and maybe a trigger event), and when they see one, they act spontaneously. And this is a coward's crime. The Germanwings FO wasn't somebody who'd go mano-a-mano with his captain or somebody else in the cockpit.

Last edited by txl; 28th Mar 2015 at 15:10. Reason: typos
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:19
  #2345 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by SLFplatine
No, the primary role of the FA is PAX flight safety.
The point here is that there is IMHO a higher risk of a rogue FA with terrorist intent getting inserted into a flight crew than there is of a pilot with a clinical mental issue alone on the flight deck or of a rogue pilot with the terrorist intent driving the plane.
And on what basis do you form that opinion? Any precedents that would suggest that kind of scenario is likely?

And I hope you realise that flight attendants regularly visit the flight deck anyway and have been doing so since day one. Flight Attendants being asked to accompany flight crew on the flight deck whilst the other is on a visit to the toilet is standard practice in my airline and I'm sure in many others too. Indeed they are there for your safety and are highly trained for that purpose. I'd be much more worried about untrained passengers intervening with onboard security issues, which, by doing so, has the potential to inflame an already tense situation.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:21
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I cannot see why so many are opposing the two-crew rule.

This guy was emotionally weak despite his ability to hide his illness. Just the presence of cabin crew on the flight deck would have prevented this tragedy. Never ever would he have tried to overpower fellow crew. Only the thought of being entirely in control allowed him to carry out his plan.

I appreciate why many pilots perceive agency cabin crew with only two-week training as a potential threat and why the rule makes it easier for extremists to get past the cockpit door in flight.

However, as far as I am concerned thus far this rule has been successful in the US and to my knowledge there have not been any female suicide pilots, let alone loonie cabin crew trying to overpower flight crew. Not saying this will never happen though.

Why not further restricting the two-crew rule to only the purser allowed on the flight deck with only one pilot present and the door shut?

Being appointed the role of the purser requires longer employment with an operator plus a decent performance record. Also, cabin crew allowed onto the flight deck from now on are to undergo a more thorough background check including a more restrictive medical similar to a flight crew's.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:31
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Andreas Lubitz knew perfectly the area where he directed the aircraft. When he was younger, his family and him came in this area ( Massif des trois Evêchés) and la Seyne-les-Alpes. This region seems very well appreciated by the glider pilots because of its well-renowned air streams. AL had already flown in this area and since he was 15. A lot of German glider pilots frequently come in this area. AL was member of a glider aero club and was still qualified to fly them. Its family and himself were known by local people in the region

Killer co-pilot was 'passionate and obsessed' with the Alps: Andreas Lubitz used to fly gliders over the mountains and knew the area very well | Daily Mail Online
What a load of Rubbish ! how would he know the Captain would decide at that point to go off to the toilets. What if 15 minutes later? would he have turned around and headed back?

This was an autopilot descent which happened to impact at that point with the set descent profile on an almost straight line.

Had the Captain decided to vacate the flight deck 15 minutes later it would have impacted that extra distance further on on whatever descent profile he added and into whatever country area / city happened to be in the way
Of all the nonsense being spouted about this event, this has to rank high. Pace is absolutely right. The pilot in command left his seat when his bladder informed him of the need so to do. He did not leave his seat at precisely the right moment to allow his fellow pilot to set a descent profile to crash somewhere which he knew well.

What is the interest in propogating the bollocks that the Mail comes up with?
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:33
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Dr's Confidentiality

There has been much talk about the fitness to fly (and even in the UK down driving too), the problem is the individual is still the missing link, they have to make the decision on their own fitness in many scenarios.
Surely there is a case to say that Dr's should be obliged to inform an airliner/ employer/ regulatory body when a pilot is unfit to fly (or a condition affect their ability), thus cutting out a whole chain of events that would/ could occur ( from depression to sleep apnea).
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:40
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The 2 crew rule on the flight deck will only double(at least) the chances having the bad guy behind the locked door. He/She will have a plan to overcome the other one easily.
I don't agree with that view at all as the FAA has already had the second non pilot person in the cockpit during loo breaks etc rule for several years and there have been no suicides by flight deck persons incidents at all in that time.

Generally someone who acted in the way this co-pilot did acts that way because of the feeling of unlimited megalomaniacal type power that being in sole charge of a vital life preserving system of this kind overwhelms them with because it is a way to compensate for the frequent feelings of inadequacy, self loathing and/or lack of control over their own life that they often secretly hold. The various psychopathic hospital nurses and also Dr Harold Shipman all had very similar psychological motivations. So generally those who have taken this kind of action seem to be largely motivated by the very fact that they can do it in secret without being subject to the criticism of and comeback on their actions that they face in their day to day life.

However as the vast majority of pilots are still male and the substantial majority of flight attendants are still female and relatively slightly built the chances of them overcoming the remaining pilot on the flight deck seem to be relatively low. Also the ground security checks that crew are now subject to mean that in general they couldn't usually get a knife or blade or gun on board to allow them to overcome the pilot/co-pilot left without a major struggle, the outcome of which would be highly uncertain. Of course there does still seem a small risk that members of a terrorist cell might take employment with a small airline as both say a pilot or co-pilot and/or co-pilot and flight attendant and then wait until the day to arrive when they were both serving on the same flight.

However the one additional feature that could be added to all passenger aircraft and that would probably have avoid both this crash and the Helios crash is providing a means in the main passenger cabin for flight crew to always be able to contact either ATC or their control bases and for either ATC centres or an airline's main control base to be able remotely send a signal that would immediately release the cockpit door. On the other hand as soon as potential suicide terrorists know that these protections are in place they will undoubtedly tend to try to instead crash the aircraft and kill everyone on board by putting it it in to an immediate and irreversible stall (in the manner of Silkair Flight 185).

So the big question is really how many years will it be before we have aircraft where an auto pilot flight path cannot be set that will fly the aircraft directly in to terrain (surely can't be difficult with global GPS now available everywhere) and how long it will be before the flight crew cannot make any control surface inputs that the auto-pilot and flight management systems know will stall or crash the aircraft. And if we do reach that stage then there are still going to be aircraft that crash due to faulty software design or faulty vital components in safely controlling the aircraft (eg altimeter, Pito tubes or even an uncontained engine failure damaging vital flight control surfaces) that might have been able to be avoided had we still had two pilots on board with the ability to access full manual control of the flight (the Lockheed TriStar crash at Sioux City for instance immediately comes to mind as a case where with full automation the flight would almost certainly not even have got anywhere near the ground).

So in short there is no perfect solution that a determined terrorist may not get around (including hacking in to any automated remote control systems with malicious and malevolent intent for aircraft with systems designed to land the aircraft remotely in the event of dual pilot disablement) but one suspects that ensuring crew in the cabin can always contact ATC and/or the airline's main ground base at all times and providing the ability to send a cockpit door release signal remotely (from the ground) would both be useful initial steps in the right direction.

Last edited by Capvermell; 28th Mar 2015 at 14:54.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:41
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Originally Posted by Pace
And i used to visit the flight deck on most flights prior to 9/11 once spent 2 hours there going to the USA AND YOUR POINT ?

When a terrorist organisation see that as an opportunity to gain access and plant a pretty FA and there is a crash then things will change again
Ever done any combined CRM training with flight attendants? You get to know your colleagues pretty well especially when you socialize with them back at base or on overnights. I'd guess in the corporate flying world, you're on your own; byo food and coffee in a thermos perhaps?
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:43
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Breaking news from New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/wo...=68980622&_r=0

He was being treated for vision problems.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:54
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Surely there is a case to say that Dr's should be obliged to inform an airliner/ employer/ regulatory body when a pilot is unfit to fly...
If the Doctor had informed the airline, it probably would have prevented this tragedy. However, the other 5 major murder/suicide incidents would not have been picked up or prevented by a Doctor. And I think that is important - those 5 pilots were fit to fly, with no history of mental health problems.

However - all 5 were experiencing one or more feelings of shame, anger, resentment, frustration and rage. Triggered by work or personal situations and the perceived attack on their inner sense of self.

And I suspect the same will be true here. A trigger event and his personality profile created a deep inner rage / frustration - and led to his (and the others') desire to punish 'someone' for the intolerable injustice they imagined had been visited upon them.

As such, his medical depression may be contributory or it may be irrelevant. Either way doctor-reporting won't stop it happening again. Preventing the opportunity to be alone at the controls has worked in the USA and may turn out be the best solution of all.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 14:56
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I have followed this thread from the outset,but have not contributed because I didn't feel that I had anything worthwhile to add. All i will say is this. The number of commercial airline pilots employed throughout the world probably numbers tens of thousands,the chances of none of them going sufficiently mad to commit an act such as this are probably quite long.

You can't really get over the problem by installing sky marshalls because the same mathematical formula applies,and I would have thought it quite likely that in general people losing it are going to try to cover their deteriorating mental state.

Interestingly we have not seen it happen with coach drivers who could achieve something of a similarly horrific outcome on an Alpine road. The Moorgate tube disaster is one where the possibility of driver suicide remains not ruled out.

Is it the spectacular nature of an air crash that is the main motivatiion? Sadly I think what has happened makes a re-occurence more not less likely and I cannot imagine any scenario that could entirely prevent it if an individual is minded to try. Only time will tell of course if it does happen again.

An inevitable corollary will be a big loss of passenger confidence in airline safety. Mechanical and technical failures have been largely eliminated and we are now faced with human frailty which I think may prove a much tougher nut to crack.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:01
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I wouldn't dare to comment on the aviation aspects of this horrible business, but it occurred to me that LH may have preferred the news of the FO's apparent actions to leak early and 'bring the public along with them' so to speak, rather than have the terrible revelation hit the headlines later with even more impact on public perceptions of the company.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:15
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Capvermell . . .

"...providing the ability to send a cockpit door release signal remotely..."
Supplementary steel bolts on most armored cockpit doors, when manually latched would override the electronic lock.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:21
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For all the ones who propagate that the two personas at all time rule in the US has never brought any problems...

Sorry, flawed argument. Until the 10th of September 2001 one could have argued that noone has ever used a commercial aircraft as a weapon and that therefore it will never happen.

The rule in the US is there as otherwise the armoured and locked door is not cerifiable, exactly because a pilot left alone with psychological problems may take advantage of the situation.

The concept of the door is wrong to start with, as it assumed that all pilots are superheroas and will unde no circumstances ever let the baddie into the cockpit under extreme duress. Unless you have ever been under duress you don't know how you would react to it.

The whole system is based on a series of flaws that look good, but in reality are not. Time for a complete (and non public) rethink.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:24
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The Independent has picked up on Lubitz's eyesight problems.

Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz 'sought treatment for eyesight problems' - Europe - World - The Independent

An ex-girlfriend is also quoted:

The woman, a flight stewardess named only as Maria W., said Andreas Lubitz told her he was receiving psychiatric treatment and would wake up distressed in the night during their five-month relationship in 2014.

She was quoted by the German newspaper Bild as recalling how Lubitz would change when he talked about the pressures and conditions of his job.
"He never talked much about his illness, only that he was in psychiatric treatment,” she said.

"We always talked a lot about work and then he became a different person. He became upset about the conditions we worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure."
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:36
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Originally Posted by Hunter58
The concept of the door is wrong to start with, as it assumed that all pilots are superheroas and will unde no circumstances ever let the baddie into the cockpit under extreme duress. Unless you have ever been under duress you don't know how you would react to it.
More realistically it gives the pilots time to safely select the appropriate squawk and make a radio call before opening the door.

While you might believe opening the door is to invite a 9/11 most recent hijacks have been for asylum purposes. Either way, would you sit safe in your bubble while people were shot, aircraft depressurised, set on fire or whatever?

And for your second point, been there so I have an idea.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:40
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Not the FDR but the memory module. First stated by President Hollande but also confirmed by other sources, the FDR was discovered the second day with the memory module dislodged (meaning gone). Observing pictures of the recovery, as expected when an aircraft hits a steep slope a lot of dirt was dislodged and mixed with aircraft debris rolling down the hillside. I have watched videos of recovery workers digging into the loose soil to recover components with part protruding from the soil, and with such a part in one video there was an electronic circuit board. FDR recovery still could be as easy as picking up the right piece of debris or it could mean sifting through tons of soil.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 15:45
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Have to say this but it will never happen.The best way out of this dilemma would be the return of the third pilot.

The third pilot was a "roadblock" on the route from the cockpit door to the pilots and the controls.
The inclusion of a third pilot means that there would never be less than two pilots on the flight deck.
Pilots work at 25% of their maximum capacity most of the time, 95% of capacity some of the time and on occasions, when things go wrong, at 125% of their capacity. The third pilot dropped that 125% back to 95% and made the whole operation safer.
The third pilot had a 3D view of everything the pilots were doing and what they were seeing on the instruments, a much better view than the pilots had of each other. The third pilot was often the first person to detect an incipient problem.
Somehow, having a third pilot on the flight deck moderated any opinions and actions of the two pilots, a stabilizing influence.

Incidentally the third pilot increased the number of new jokes on the flight deck by 33%
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