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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:09
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ASN News List of aircraft accidents and incidents intentionally caused by pilots

40 years: 591 dead in 11 world jet suicide events. Matched in the USA every 1 day (hospital errors) & every 6 days (gun deaths). Get a grip.
Right. But 422 of them were in the past 3 years, suggesting this is something the airlines are right to be concerned about.

And your entire premise is wrong. Imagine if the industry had adopted your "acceptable loss" / "grip-getting" attitude? Presumably an occasional mid-air collision or door falling off would simply have required some corporate manning-up rather than spending millions to develop collision warning systems and redesigning doors...?
McRotor96, not sure that logic is correct - rather than the number of deaths would not number of fatal accidents be a better comparison? 40 years ago there were not as many aircraft capable of carrying 300/400 passengers given that most of the accidents involving suicidal pilots caused the deaths of all on board.

Last edited by fireflybob; 28th Mar 2015 at 18:41.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:16
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@McRotor96

For people stating that they don't like the idea of a '2 person' rule - or who are uncomfortable with the extra person being a FA. Perhaps it is worth looking at the rest of the world - specifically at the USA where that IS the rule. How many pilot killings have been on US carriers operating that rule? It seems to be zero.

The '2 person rule' is not a perfect solution - that doesn't exist - but the evidence to date suggests that it is an important, simple and inexpensive precaution that appears to be largely effective. Which is presumably why it has been implemented (in true stable-door fashion) by many carriers in the last few days.
It is seeing yet another knee-jerk reaction that worries me. You may well be correct, but I would have thought making this change and doing it correctly would require a fair amount of careful planning. Also, the huge publicity of this recent event may have caused the bad guys to see weaknesses in the system that they had not seen before.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:20
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The doors have since inception constituted an opportunity for a sole person to do what he wants with the aircraft without interference.

As long as the problem of pilot suicide only manifested itself in third world airlines, we first world folks perceived ourselves safe. I still remain disappointed that the regulatory authorities took no action the first time this happened.

Human nature is such that where there is an operational weakness, somebody someday will take advantage of it.

Back in the days when Stevenson et famille were putting up lighthouses in remote locations, much thought was given to minimum crewing.

Two keepers were deemed insufficient since one keeper could quietly do in the other and claim an unfortunate accident without any witnesses to the contrary.

The lighthouse minimum crew was set at three.

As for cabin crew being up front, many are given the training to help out in case of incapacitation. What we have here is the most severe form.

As for limited hours flown, military pilots are flying fast jets with far fewer hours.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:25
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nsmith

especially the last part of your post deserves a big thumbs up. I just had some user PM me in forcefull languague because I in a previous post had suggested a complete rethink of securty procedures involving the flight deck (and I gather from some commentators that I am not alone on this) outside of the public eye.

Of course any realistic and balanced approach to any procedure in therms of security needs to be outside of the public eye. Every procedure has weaknesses and a public discussion especially in a procedure design phase only highlights them to any misbehaving party.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:35
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Time flys...

40 years ago there were no aircraft capable of carrying 300/400 passengers
We had widebody aircraft by three different manufacturers at that time.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:45
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IMHO this is flawed and far better to assume that one flight crew might become mentally altered at any time i.e. mid-flight ..... Allowing only one person up front is clearly a single point of failure in an environment engineered for redundancy.
But this misses the fact that even with 2 (or 5) people up front, your mentally altered person can still kill everybody.

As earlier stated, 500' on Approach, full down elevator, full power, maybe flaps up. On the Airbus, you even have the luxury of a red button to lock the other pilot's sidestick out.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:52
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In Re: "Benefit of Doubt"

Surely, if a person holds in their mind even a basic concept of the usual and customary (not even necessarily the "precise and technical") process for a proper Annex 13 investigation, there are very real concerns over the way this post-incident inquiry has been conducted. That being said, if a poster (such as the one referenced above) wishes to cast doubts upon whether the aircraft manufacturer might wish to get to a speedy conclusion, despite running roughshod over normal processes, then another question becomes a question that is fair to ask: does the configuration of the A320 Airbus type, as operated by the carrier in question, make it easier for a twisted aviator to conduct such a fatal flight profile? If there is nothing about the aircraft itself which either facilitated the fatal flight profile, or even attracted the twisted aviator into conducting it, then, what interest could the manufacturer really stand to have here, other than the insured risks which, to be blunt, are nominal. I know not even a paltry fraction enough about avionics and flight controls and the so-called magenta line to be able to answer this, but unless you can state a valid reason why the aircraft manufacturer might be called to account, again for either attracting a twisted aviator or facilitating him, in the way the flight controls and automation are arranged, there is no link between the seemingly highly irregular process conducted by the investigating authorities on the one hand, and the manufacturer on the other.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 17:58
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Originally Posted by fireflybob

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Quote:
Quote:
ASN News List of aircraft accidents and incidents intentionally caused by pilots

40 years: 591 dead in 11 world jet suicide events. Matched in the USA every 1 day (hospital errors) & every 6 days (gun deaths). Get a grip.
Right. But 422 of them were in the past 3 years, suggesting this is something the airlines are right to be concerned about.

And your entire premise is wrong. Imagine if the industry had adopted your "acceptable loss" / "grip-getting" attitude? Presumably an occasional mid-air collision or door falling off would simply have required some corporate manning-up rather than spending millions to develop collision warning systems and redesigning doors...?
McRotor96, not sure that logic is correct - rather than the number of deaths would not number of fatal accidents be a better comparison? 40 years ago there were no aircraft capable of carrying 300/400 passengers given that most of the accidents involving suicidal pilots caused the deaths of all on board.
He mentioned both the number of deaths and events. You might also want to brush up on your history of airliners with regard to seating capacity and service entry dates.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:07
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Investigation

Here is my guess why it is "unusual":
  1. BEA receive CVR 0945 day after accident
  2. BEA Press Conference ~1630 same day by which time they are just realising what seem to have happened. Director keeps very guarded.
  3. BEA listen to CVR, under standard conditions a few more times, and cannot alter likely conclusion
  4. BEA, iaw ICAO (? French Law?) realise this is likely to be a "criminal act" and are forced to consult, even hand over to Police / prosecuters.
  5. This is where it goes "wrong". The Police/prosecution chain is not as practiced or secure, and by that evening, it has leaked to the US News Chaneels which we all wake to next morning
  6. 2 plane loads of relatives arrive in MRS, Prosecuter has to brief them on findings.
  7. Prosecuter holds news conference ~1000 to confirm earlier News Reports
We have heard, I believe, nothing from the BEA since that first Press Conference? So I suspect the whole thing is partially (or wholly?) out of their hands for now?

Anybody who knows more about police / air accident investigation protocols please chip in. 9/11 similar where FBI did most, NTSB pretty quiet.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:09
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The latest story making the rounds is that he was being treated for eyesight problems.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/wo...-say.html?_r=0

I wonder if this might be a key part of the puzzle.

1) Wants nothing more than to fly for a living.
2) History of depression, which he hides from employer.
3) Eyesight problems, which he can't hide from employer and which may result in loss of pilot's license.
4) Above triggers a depressive episode.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:16
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The latest story making the rounds is that he was being treated for eyesight problems.
RTD1, I posted this twice, hours ago. I certainly think it's significant.

Clearly, also, someone on this investigation is leaking like a sieve.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:22
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Unusual - but that's part of the problem

Sir Nigel (on-D), yes, your recitation of the events reads as quite accurate, and the inferences you draw also appear eminently reasonable and measured. Yet....can the "officialdom" apparatus of CAA and CAA-related investigatory bodies, and where involved, law enforcement & investigatory authorities, REALLY be caught this far behind the lickety-split timing of the social media era? Point is, some of this lack of proper sequencing seems largely if not almost entirely traceable back to a kind of fat, gray-suited, out-of-touch bureaucratic mentality which is essentially oblivious to the massively, I say massively shrunken time lag between event and media (including internet) deluge. I know in higher ed, and trucking - both industries in which I have done substantial legal work (hey, 18-wheelers, 18-year-old coeds, it's all the same deal, baby) - getting up to pace with the INSTANT-aneous world these days took a lot of effort. Perhaps BEA and the other authorities are being unfairly and/or accurately criticized in this post....I'll reclaim my two Indian-head pennies, if so.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:23
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The evidence so far may well suggest a more likely particular cause for this accident.

However, it is possible that there are other explanations. For example, suppose the engines came back to idle for no apparent reason and the aircraft went into Open Descent (a known software issue on the A300 for example, although I haven't seen it happen on the A320 yet).

Suppose the very inexperienced First Officer couldn't understand such a rare malfunction with no ECAM to guide him and this induced panic/anxiety that brought on a heart attack or stroke that left him "breathing normally" on the CVR but he could have been unable to move or speak (this is not uncommon with stroke or heart attack victims).

Meanwhile the cockpit door could have been incorrectly programmed with the emergency code and so the one the crew tried to use to enter didn't work (this has also happened). When did you last check the emergency code worked on your A320, that's if you even remember it?

Let's not forget that it's heavily in the airline's and manufacturer's interests for an accident to be blamed on incorrect or inappropriate pilot action. Yes these "holes in the cheese" are very unlikely to have lined up, but it's nevertheless possible.

It's interesting that with the commotion in the cabin, terrain warnings and then the GPWS going off and with the ground rushing towards him that he managed to breath normally whilst supposedly fully conscious despite supposedly having mental health issues.

I'm also interested in what the transponder Mode S reported to ATC - did ATC see a radar return whereby the altitude was wound down below MSA for example as the aircraft began its descent? Were ATC to be heard questioning him on the CVR as to why he was descending to such a low altitude? Or was no such lower altitude selected? Maybe he used V/S ... ?
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:26
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RTD1, I posted this twice, hours ago. I certainly think it's significant.

Clearly, also, someone on this investigation is leaking like a sieve.
It's definitely significant. You can hide crazy but you can't hide blind. It's also a far more likely triggering event than the breakup with his girlfriend which as far as we know might have happened last year.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:27
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Clearly, also, someone on this investigation is leaking like a sieve.
IMHO this is the most unusual situation... If this accident would have taken place somewhere in the 3rd world countries.. I wouldn't have difficulty to accept this leakage ...
This investigation has not being conducted according to ICAO 13 and we should ask the last 2 questions:
Who is serving this information to the media and what is the purpose of it?
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:28
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@Rushed approach: "It's interesting that with the commotion in the cabin, terrain warnings and then the GPWS going off and with the ground rushing towards him that he managed to breath normally whilst supposedly fully conscious despite supposedly having mental health issues."

It is possible that the copilot might have worn his headset to try to reduce ambient noise, and sit in the seat with his eyes closed blanking out external noise as much as possible and staying oblivious to sight and sounds during the descent - as part of his executed plan.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:32
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BEA, iaw ICAO (? French Law?) realise this is likely to be a "criminal act" and are forced to consult, even hand over to Police / prosecuters.
I think as per French Law if an accident claiming lives takes place a criminal investigation has to be opened. The same happened e.g. when Condorde went down in Paris.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:39
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He mentioned both the number of deaths and events. You might also want to brush up on your history of airliners with regard to seating capacity and service entry dates.
noalign, yes he did mention that. To make a valid argument you would of course have to conduct a proper statistical analysis. I am not meaning to say the numbers of deaths is immaterial but I am saying that in this case the number of accidents is probably more valid.

It was my maths than caused me to infer that there were no 300/400 seater airliners 40 years ago (I was thinking 1965) but even then I think the point is valid in the sense that generally speaking airliners carry more passengers per aircraft (as aircraft performance and design has improved) now compared to a few decades ago bearing in mind most aircraft are virtually full on every flight now which was not the case years ago before the advent of budget airlines.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:43
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Originally Posted by NigelOnDraft
We have heard, I believe, nothing from the BEA since that first Press Conference? So I suspect the whole thing is partially (or wholly?) out of their hands for now?

Anybody who knows more about police / air accident investigation protocols please chip in.
ICAO Annex 13 does not impose any obligation on the investigating AIB to release any information prior to the Preliminary Report, which becomes due 30 days after the accident.

And, if and when it is established that the deaths and injuries sustained in an occurrence are "self-inflicted or inflicted by other persons", then it ceases to be an Annex 13 investigation.
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Old 28th Mar 2015, 18:57
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It is possible that the copilot might have worn his headset to try to reduce ambient noise, and sit in the seat with his eyes closed blanking out external noise as much as possible and staying oblivious to sight and sounds during the descent - as part of his executed plan.
True, but he would still had heard the door entry requests and the EGPWS alerts (which obviously are designed not to be masked by even ANR headsets). I guess there are no stats, but how likely is it that someone committing suicide and committing mass murder can manage to breath normally whilst slamming into a mountain at c. 400 kts?
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