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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 29th Mar 2015, 02:53
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Originally Posted by janeczku
French authorities have set a world record for the swiftest accident investigation in the history of commercial aviation.
Who needs more than 48 hours to investigate an air crash anyway? The french authorities certainly don't think they do.
Come on. The media releases are not coming from an aviation investigation body. They are coming from a completely separate criminal investigation body.

The final 9/11 investigation took ages. No one criticised Pres Bush for describing it as a terrorist action that same day. Because it was completely clear that is what it was.

The Police would not be making such media releases on the world stage if they were not 100% confident.

Please don't underestimate the skill and competency of people from a different professional background just because it is unfamiliar to you.

Captain left the deck (so all was ok), then descent initiated, no communications from aircraft, and did not let Captain back in.

Now I guess there are possible barely conceivable alternative explanations. Maybe the copilot was hit in the head by a metor and was left unconscious but breathing, and his arm spasmed ank knocked the FD. I guess that's possible.

But all alternative explanations would be very long odds, and I guarantee all the purists "wanting all the facts" would not bet $1000 on these.

Like MH370, the facts point clearly to deliberate action. Sometimes 2 + 2 really does = 4. Sorry, but sometimes it simply does.

If recovered, the FDR will add some useful detail. But it will almost certainly be a minor edit rather than a complete rewrite of the explanation we have at the moment.

Please also put yourselves in the position of the grieving next of kin of those murdered. They want information released in a transparent manner as soon as authorities are confident in the explanation. And they are damn well entitled to it.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 03:05
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Road-Runner fact-finding

The problem, slats11, with your argument, is two-fold. First, in France (presumably you are aware of this, but not everyone else necessarily will be), inquiries into civil aviation accidents are much more likely to become criminal matters than in most all other countries. That is, the French regard a civil aviation accident as almost, or nearly, always, a criminal matter from the jump. What this means is that the criminal investigators are MORE, rather than less, well-acquainted with the procedures, standards, and requirements of fact-gathering and fact-finding. At the very least, the pronouncements should have included significant cautions against regarding the presently known facts as conclusive. Second, the procedures, standards and requirements established by the ICAO system do NOT countenance, I mean do NOT tolerate, a rush to judgment. Even leaving aside the fact that there are loads of individuals who do not accept official explanations of what happened on the 11th of September - and I am not defending their sanity or lack thereof - but even leaving them out of the picture, that event was of an entirely different nature. Civilians on the ground and civil society in general were attacked, as opposed to a single flight (as serious as the single flight incident is, still, very different). So statements attributed to Bush-43 do not disprove or counter-weigh against the deliberation expected of civil aviation authorities, whether conducted solely a civil inquiry or a criminal one as well. For heaven's sake, I have no idea where the FDR is or whether its data will be intact if and when it is found. But I do know if lawyers had entered this feeding frenzy in a public way - before the grisly task of recovering the remains of the victims has reached its sorrowful and morbid conclusion - howls of outrage would descend. The rush to judgment, while less outrageous, still is conduct unbecoming civil aviation authorities. And this is so EVEN IF the ultimate facts prove out to be exactly, totally exactly, as you have posited them to be. Process matters.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 03:05
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Communicator, the drug issue might be very relevant, though just adding to the holes or giving the final kick. As they found drugs in his home, would be interesting which one. Big danger if psychotic people are missdiagnosed with "depression" ! Recepy for disaster. Once I had a "low mood" period , I simply had a hidden infection for a longer time as it turned out later. Can't remember the drug the doc gave me " just try this boy" ...
No suicide thoughts but I felt becoming completely disconnected to the world and myself. I stopped immediately and went to a different doctor who found the real issue.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 03:30
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*WHICH* DRUGS - Cont'd

As they found drugs in his home, would be interesting which one.
Not just interesting, but CRUCIAL.

... if psychotic people are missdiagnosed with "depression" ! Recipe for disaster.
The problem is MUCH worse than this - even if depression etc. is correctly diagnosed, treatment with common "anti-depressants" can lead to suicidal impulses, (more rarely) psychotic episodes, mood instability, and other phenomena. The risk is particularly high after such drugs are DISCONTINUED.

Even non-psychotropic drugs - e.g. prescription pain killers, cough syrup, etc. - can have significant psychiatric effects.

Again - sorry to hammer the point - we need to know the name of EACH AND EVERY DRUG OWNED OR USED BY the dead Germanwings FO.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 03:30
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Originally Posted by training wheels
This turn happened before top of descent (according to FD24 raw data published elsewhere). Wouldn't such a turn off track (pull selected mode) be consistent with memory item procedures for an emergency descent?
They were right on the track. The crash occurred between the waypoints MAXIR and BLONA on the airway UN853 which consists of the waypoints LUSOL, BODRU, OKTET, IRMAR. Precisely it occurred between the waypoints BODRU and OKTET on the UN853, which corresponds to 025° MT. So it seems like there was not an emergency diversion.
According to the Aviation Herald the aircraft was found at approximate position N44.2705 E6.4289

Last edited by MartinAOA; 29th Mar 2015 at 13:16. Reason: Source
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 03:49
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training wheels: Wouldn't such a turn off track (pull selected mode) be consistent with memory item procedures for an emergency descent?
As per flightradar24 raw data
Between 09:30:52 and 09:30:55 we can see that the autopilot was manually changed from 38,000 feet to 100 feet
Which is consistent with time required to turn the knob (in 1000s). Possible 4-5 turns?
But,
No, the buttons, lever that you turn. You turn several times according to how much altitude you want to lose. It's a deliberate thing. It can't be done automatically. Well, if his head was to hit it, maybe it'll move by a quarter of a turn, but it won't do anything. It won't turn it 15 times.
15 times is too much. What other inputs were done?
So, there is not only a deliberate altitude change that would be just suffice.

Last edited by _Phoenix_; 29th Mar 2015 at 04:37. Reason: added text
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 03:50
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To Communicator: So much for medical confidentiality..
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 04:06
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I'm not a pilot. I'm an epidemiologist. I had to wade in and say that the alleged association between SSRIs or other antidepressants and suicidal or violent behavior is a bit more nuanced than perhaps is being portrayed here in recent posts.


The problem is that people who seek out medical care for depression or other illnesses and are prescribed these drugs are already at a higher risk for these behaviors. To state that "In other mass murder/suicide incidents, psychotropic drugs played a role" is not quite accurate. The persons involved may or may not have taken antidepressants, but this does not mean the drugs caused the behavior. The scientific literature on the subject is complicated but overall seems to indicate that the drugs don't cause suicidal or violent actions in adults.


I hasten to add that infowars is an extremely poor site for obtaining health information. Mr. Jones likes to promote such nonsense as vaccines causing autism, etc. In addition, the TIME magazine article linked has a major flaw. In it, they report data from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). This is a passive reporting system that states right on the front page that none of the reports prove causality. There is quite a low standard of reporting--any consumer can send in an alleged adverse event to a drug. The good part of the FAERS system is that it's an excellent brute-force screen for adverse events that weren't picked up during FDA approval. The bad is that anything at all can be reported and subsequently misinterpreted by people, such as the author of the TIME article, who don't understand its limitations.


What does this have to do with Lubitz? I very much doubt that antidepressants caused him to deliberately fly a plane into a mountain. However, they may have caused another symptom, which caught my attention immediately--vision problems. If it's not a side effect of a drug, sudden vision problems in and of themselves, depending on their severity, might very well be cause for serious concern in a person as young as Lubitz. Of course we don't know the severity of the vision issue, but this particular symptom could be a harbinger of something far worse.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 04:20
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I'm not convinced that knowing which drugs he had will take us any further forward in terms of a definitive answer. You only have to look at the list of potential side-effects of most drugs. Not only does this list seem to be endless but also the same side-effects appear across many different types of drugs.

Sometimes the possible side-effects seem contradictory. One drug I use says 'may cause high blood pressure'....'may cause low blood pressure'!
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 04:33
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"I'm not convinced that knowing which drugs he had will take us any further forward in terms of a definitive answer"


It also fails to provide a crucial piece of evidence: was he actually taking them? Finding the medication leads to the conclusion that he sought help for some kind of mental illness from a medical professional with prescribing abilities. Anything other than that is pure guesswork.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 05:07
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
The problem, slats11, with your argument, is two-fold. First, in France (presumably you are aware of this, but not everyone else necessarily will be), inquiries into civil aviation accidents are much more likely to become criminal matters than in most all other countries. That is, the French regard a civil aviation accident as almost, or nearly, always, a criminal matter from the jump.
Well put, WillowRun. The governing legal framework (and mentality no less) is in many aspects at odds with ICAO principles, e.g. with regard to the authority of the technical investigative body over the evidence. BEA and prosecutors have repeatedly been fighting over the FDR or CVR in the past. As recently as in the aftermath of the 2008 Air New Zealand A320 crash prosecutors interfered with the technical investigation by preventing the BEA from sending the recorder to the United States for read-outs. The BEA's authority over the accident cause determination has also repeatedly been undermined by the executive branch (e.g. when days after the 1988 A320 demonstration flight crash the French transport minister declared that technical problems of the new aircraft could be ruled out).
The fact that the executive branch now set precedence by leaking the content of the CVR to the public contrary to Annex 13 5.12 does not bolster my expectation in a proper investigation according to ICAO standards.
Undoubtedly the BEA's job has not gotten any easier, now that the executive branch has already shared their determination of the cause of accident with a world audience.

Last edited by janeczku; 29th Mar 2015 at 05:12. Reason: typo
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 06:08
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Earl.... I suffered a devastating divorce mid-career, and my Chief Pilot, knowing about it, offered me time off. I rejected the offer and asked him not to unilaterally ground me.

I explained that although my personal life was dissolving outside my control, my job, that I loved and felt totally in control of, was the only stable rock that I could relate to at the time, and to sit at home moping would be disastrous.

Consequently I continued flying and with colleagues who were sympathetic, understanding, and supportive and with whom I could relate to, who helped me through it.

I shudder to think how a bureaucratic system of shrink "experts" would have dealt with it if the C/Pilot had insisted on transparency for the sake of the gutter Press. ( X is an unknown quantity and a 'spurt' is a drip under pressure - but then you know that )

I don't think I would have been writing this 35 years later !
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 06:13
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If it's the pilot at fault it's not the...

Originally Posted by janeczku
Well put, WillowRun. The governing legal framework (and mentality no less) is in many aspects at odds with ICAO principles, e.g. with regard to the authority of the technical investigative body over the evidence. (...)
Undoubtedly the BEA's job has not gotten any easier, now that the executive branch has already shared their determination of the cause of accident with a world audience.
Yes WillowRun and Janeczku, that was well written. I just read an article in Vanity Fair by William Langewiesche, a pilot, who said much the same thing. He called the the jump to conclusion "inexplicable." I'm just a curious onlooker, so I'm pleasantly surprised to get this much information so early, but ... why? It occurs to me that if the German co-pilot is at fault, it's not the AirBus. Some people might want to get that message out as soon as possible.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 06:36
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Originally Posted by Hunter58
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....
Hunter, actually two-crew cockpit procedures come out of a need to 1. identify cockpit crew for re-entry and 2. operate the door. (see my post about 11 pages back here and a more in-depth post regarding mental illness here.)

Reason being for the procedure: not all aircraft were fitted with video surveillance equipment and magnetic door locks.

Regarding the idea of FA's suddenly becoming threats in cases of flight deck crew breaks is a little strange. These are the same crew that supply hot coffee and (sometimes) food and are routinely granted access to the flight deck. If we trust them for that job, I am not sure how sitting in the jump seat for a few minutes is going to provide much more of an opportunity for one hell bent on ill intent.

This system has worked fine in the US for over a decade. In addition, US 1st Class Medical rules and airline-imposed zero tolerance policies for mental illness or substance abuse also seem to work reasonably well- outside of the effect on the affected pilot's life via a career in ruins.

Last edited by vapilot2004; 1st Apr 2015 at 08:20.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 06:48
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Professionalism

I have to agree with janeczku and some others here that an air accident investigation should be allowed to take its course regardless how tedious it might be at times. Shooting from the hip doesn't help anyone - well it might sell news - but in the end the relatives want the truth.
Why the Marseille prosecutor was given such coverage with his verdict reached after some 48 hrs is astounding. However with such high number of causalities and so many Wikipedia aviation specialists around it is not very surprising that pressure is mounting to find someone to hang or a country to flatten like after 9/11.


Having seen aviation bodies and manufacturers lobbying over the decades for passengers to accept a certain ++ on their air tickets so that FDRs can be introduced on a wide variety of commercial aircraft it is rather more surprising that a prosecutor sees no need to see this valuable data before coming to a conclusion.
After all it took the same French authorities over two years to find the AF 447 recorder at depth. And three years to complete the investigation report. They must have been glad they did spend all that time and those millions in order find the real cause of the accident. And consequently introduce recommendations that surely will help preventing similar accidents in the future. Needless to say that even here on PPrune many had it wrong until the FDR in combination with CVR data was properly analysed.
Only then would it be OK in my opinion to unleash experts like NYT, Bild Zeitg, R Quest, P Geller and have a go at who/what ever secures the most readers, viewers or listeners: young FOs, old Capts, the gliding club, the ex girl friend, shrinks, pharma industry and of course the mosque in the next town.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:07
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
training wheels, if I read your intent correctly, you are addressing the potential of a bad timing event wherein after the Captain headed to the loo, a decompression event, or a perceived one, arose that the CP felt he had to handle. And, sadly, didn't handle it too well. (Or perhaps another kind of malfunction?)

A thought to go along with this: above 25K, but not on O2 while the Captain was away.

Am I following you well enough?
That is correct. An emergency descent procedure involves an immediate turn off track (in my airline, we turn 45 deg off track for two minutes and then 45 degrees in the opposite direction to parallel track) so that you don't run into another aircraft below you on the same airways.

Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50

FDR data might provide some insight as to whether this line of inquiry has some data points that align ... so those who are voicing frustration with all of this public discussion with no FDR data known to be available are asking a valid question: why the early conclusion?
Yes, agreed. We may not have the complete picture yet, although it appears the investigation is complete.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:13
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Am just interested to know whether Lubitz's training for commercial flying had been via the MPL route or not?
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:17
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I do not normally post on R&N and I will get ridiculed by my colleagues for doing so but I am sure that ExSp33db1rd will agree with me that with a nav and flt eng on board this would never have happened. Bring them back I say. I used to leave the three of them on the flight deck for hours on their own in the cruise with F/O contemplating the solitude of command not diving at mountains.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:27
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Am just interested to know whether Lubitz's training for commercial flying had been via the MPL route or not?
I assumed as much as lufthansa flight training does train for the MPL. But they switched to MPL training in 2009 (for new courses) and L started a year before that, so in all probability he did the normal CPL/IFR with ATPL credit.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:49
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Regarding the idea of FA's suddenly becoming threats in cases of flight deck crew breaks is a little strange. These are the same crew that supply hot coffee and (sometimes) food and are routinely granted access to the flight deck. If we trust them for that job, I am not sure how sitting in the jump seat for a few minutes is going to provide much more of an opportunity for one hell bent on ill intent.
Some might argue that routine access to the flight deck would mostly occur when there are two pilots present. If you have a regulation that requires a non-pilot to be there at all times when there is only one pilot at the controls, you have created a situation with a higher vulnerability to a “sleeper”. There is also increased opening of the FD door in a predictable manner. If you were paranoid, you might want it the opposite way round, i.e. access to the FD is only allowed when two pilots are there.

The airlines that have the “rule of two” are either forced to do so by their regulator or are too cheap to install video surveillance and/or remote door opening so need a third party in there to check through the spy hole and open/shut the door, which a single pilot cannot do without getting up and leaving no-one flying the aeroplane for a while.

To be fair, both the rogue FA and suicidal pilot scenarios are in the extreme low probability end of the spectrum. CFIT, runway excursions, equipment failure, etc. are hugely more popular when it comes to breaking aircraft. This gets overlooked when you have a spectacular accident like the one we are discussing and you get lots of knee-jerk reactions which make the overall job of safely transporting people from A to B more difficult.

If you try and be objective, what increase in safety will you get from having a non-pilot on the FD? What is their function? If it’s to open the door against the wishes of the remaining pilot, the result of that depends entirely on which of the two has malicious intent. Even if it is the pilot who has "gone postal”, how is a non-pilot going tell the difference between that and normal/non-normal operation by SOP? And what are they going to do about it in the limited time available?

The ultimate truth is that a pilot who is determined to crash an aircraft can do so irrespective of how many people are in the cockpit and who they are. You have to trust pilots to fly the aircraft in a safe manner as there is no alternative. Where attention needs to be focussed is in making sure that those sitting at the controls are in the best possible mental state for doing their job correctly. Unfortunately, the recent trend has been for the amount of stresses, distractions and obstacles put in the way of sensible aviation to be on the increase...
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