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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 30th Mar 2015, 06:05
  #2621 (permalink)  
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A319/A320/A321 FCOM: CDLS

Credentials: B737 & B767 B1 Certifier.

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion over the operation of the Cockpit Door Locking System.

The A319/A320/A321 FCOM is available for download from Smart Cockpit here:
A319 320 321 Equipment

Go to page 34 of the document. It gives a good overview of the operation and restrictions. Where it quotes ‘From’ and ‘To’ times, this is company-specific programmable.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 06:35
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Even though an F/O (co-pilot) may have a piece of paper saying he is qualified on the type all airlines I have worked for carry a third pilot for safety reasons until the new F/O is cleared to operate without a safety pilot.
Which is the same in Germany. Usually for two or three days on the line until an incapacitation check flight has been done. It is the same for a new captain and for any pilot after he did a new typerating. In the case of experienced pilots within the company the time with a safety FO may be shortened to one day though.

From what i have read the 630 hours are probably the time on type, which would fit with his time since he started the typerating in 2013.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 06:50
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Originally Posted by Propduffer
This happens when there is a pressure differential between FD and cabin. We (or at least I) don't know what that differential is; we don't know how tight the air seal is between the two spaces. If airflow between the two spaces is not completely constricted, a slow leak in either space to the outside would not open the FD door on a pressure differential. Below about 10,000 feet, there probably wouldn't be enough of a differential to unlock the door either.
I do not think so. FCOM 25-11-20A refers. If cockpit decompression is sensed (whatever that is), the CDLS will unlock the door. The differential pressure (if any left - good point) would swing it open then.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 07:34
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Very interesting article from The Guardian in the UK

Germanwings flight 4U9525: what?s it like to listen to a black box recording? | World news | The Guardian

Once investigators do so, they can find vital clues in the tapes – even in the unconscious sounds emitted by the pilots. “You can listen for things like breathing rates,” says David Gleave. “You can judge stress levels, whether there’s been a heart attack. Maybe you turn up the pilot’s mic, or maybe you try to detect stress in the voice of an individual. You listen and try to work out if, when they’re silent, is it because they’re getting on with it? Or is it because there’s tension between them, and maybe that’s going to lead to a misunderstanding?”
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 07:44
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Do we know that anyone *tried* to unlock the door after the initial 5 minutes?
If things were getting as hectic as we've heard, I can imagine them stopping trying that and just trying to beat the door down. It *could be* that the door would have unlocked if only they'd tried the code towards the end.
Can this be verified audibly on the CVR, one way or another ?
And if one puts in the wrong code what happens ? Does the door seal itself for 5 mins, or can you try again immediately ?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:09
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Originally Posted by FoxHunter
I'm curious about what all this CODE talk is?
Then you might want to click on one of the many links that have appeared in this thread to the Airbus video that helpfully explains the operation of the current A320 CDLS.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:09
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The entry of a code on the keypad sounds a warning in the FD so that the pilots can confirm through the camera who is wanting to enter and then operate the switch.
The normal code causes a single warning sound and the emergency code causes a continuous warning sound. Both these sounds would be easily detectable on the CVR.

Entering the wrong code does not lock the door or time- out another attempt.

To bar entry the switch (sprung loaded to the central position)only needs to be moved to the lock position and the time- out will commence. It can be instantly over-ridden by placing the selector switch to the unlock position.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:25
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Then you might want to click on one of the many links that have appeared in this thread to the Airbus video that helpfully explains the operation of the current A320 CDLS.
True. I struggle to understand one of the answers of the French prosecutor, him saying the A/C was not equipped with the emergency code feature (due to being old). That would be a strange design.

link: Crash de l'A320: Conférence de presse du procureur de la République de Marseille, Brice Robin
time mark 16:10 > two step normal access procedure
time mark 16:20 > question about override code
time mark 16:30 > answer
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:27
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As PukinDog suggests, other rules apply as soon as it appears a crime may have been committed; the French authorities asked the German police to investigate the first officer's parental home and his private flat, and to interview his associates; delay may cause evidence to vanish...

The AAIB in the UK always releases a prompt preliminary report on an air accident if action can be taken to avoid repetition.

Anger and blame often felt by loved ones, even after a medical mistake. How difficult for those who have had to wait months and years for government agencies to find answers. It would be wrong to hide reasonable information about the cause.
The Americans and now the Australians now have a rule that two people must be in the cockpit at all times. A trusted and experienced cabin crew member present would make it more difficult for a rogue pilot to carry out his plan undisturbed and unobserved.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:31
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And if the switch has been moved to the "Lock" position then the keypad gets deactivated and therefore the 30 second buzzer that gets triggered when the emergency code is entered would not kick in. The fact that no buzzer was heard likely indicates that the FO toggled to "Lock" as part of his "plan".

In hindsight would if have made sense for the Captain to create a depressurization for that door to get unlocked, possibly by breaking a window?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:49
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B772 Quote:-"As a matter of interest there is a report saying the F/O only had approx. 100 hours on the A320. In hindsight the Captain should have relieved himself during the turnaround."

100 hours on a short haul LCC equates to quite a reasonable number of sectors. The F/O should have been quite capable of operating the aircraft by this stage - there was no Safety Pilot and I haven't seen anything to suggest that the F/O was still under training.

The tragedy was not, at this stage of the investigation, caused by the F/O's incompetence.

Under the circumstances I think that it is grossly unfair to suggest what the Captain should have done.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:55
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Seat 32F:

What worries me most about this whole sorry affair is the knee-jerk reaction that seems to be arising, both from the airline industry itself, and some of the folks on this thread. I speak only as one of your lowly revenue-creating customers, so of course my opinion counts for nowt, I guess. But, I'll press on ...

I know that there are probably thousands things more likely to go wrong with a flight than having a suicidal pilot finding the perfect opportunity to drive into the ground; but us pax kinda rely on the fact that aviation is highly regulated and has a risk management regime that is probably second to none as far as transport safety and security is concerned.

So knee-jerk reactions are not what is to be expected; measured and appropriate responses are. Suddenly requiring two people on the flight deck at all times as a response to an incident that hasn't even had its proper investigation completed - what sort of signal does this send out to the general public? I'll tell you: it says that the industry considers this to be a problem that is potentially so serious that it needs to be urgently addressed. And then we have people here on the forum saying that Flight Attendants should not be allowed on the flight deck. Are we to believe that FA's are not subject to the same screening and security measures as those in control of the flight? Are we saying that potentially all crew are not to be trusted with our collective safety?

Perspective is needed here: despite all of the screening and safeguards, this guy got through the net, although it remains to be seen as to what exactly happened; nevertheless this was an extremely rare incident and from a risk perspective I'd have more of an issue with there only being two motors keeping me aloft instead of a comfortable four.

I would much rather see the airline industry say: we don't need to mess about with the way that the flights are operated, it's fine as it is. And let's face it, it probably is. Probably being the operative word.

Over and out.

Good post Seat 32F.

Barely a week since the tragedy and the crash site is still warm. FDR is yet to be found and at best the report is a year from being printed.

EASA have excelled themselves this time. This latest @arse covering initiative will do nothing to dissuade the next determined suicidal pilot, but obviously those in EASAland clearly believe that this is a credible threat that needs to be mitigated immediately!
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:57
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Originally Posted by rideforever
Could you explain what the implication of this is please ?
3. And, last but not least, no one ever once mentions the 30 second ear piercing alarm triggered by the Captain after entering the emergency code on the door..
I believe it was said at the beginning that nobody had attempted to enter the emergency code?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 08:59
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French Law : many failures in the case already !

In French Law, criminal action is closed against anybody since he is dead ! So no action is possible against Lubitz or against the other crew. But perhaps the prosecutor thinks that the airline is culprit hiring a mental ill pilot, or doctors were culprit to prescribe some medics to a working pilot doing him sleepy or with bad judgment...

With the French Constitution international law (Annex 13 and possible published reserves ) has priority over all national laws and rules...

The prosecutor has no task to inform public and medias. At contrary the "instruction judiciaire" must be kept secret...

BEA investigation and judicial investigation MUST be independent. But Justice has no means nor specialists to do a crash investigation. They have to wait the published BEA report and use it...
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:10
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Lubitz Hit EXPED

EXPED is disliked because the automation drastically increases pitch and slows the aircraft more than necessary.
EXPED does not honour any preprogrammed constraints.
EXPED does not honour constraints programmed into the MCDU.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:11
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In case it isn't obvious - the "let's wait and see" approach is fine when one is dealing with the remnants of an airplane that crashed for reasons that are unknown but presumed to exist. The air accident investigator's job is to pull together what are often very subtle clues to get a first impression of what may have happened, and then work it through to the final conclusion. They do an amazing, often miraculous job at getting to the bottom of things and aviation is infinitely safer because of their work. But this is no such case. It is absolutely clear what happened and there is no need for further investigation, and I would say not much reason to pry into the unfortunate life of the person responsible. Life takes tragic turns. No amount of hand-wringing or brow-mopping is going to get around the fact that psychotics are among us, and door or no door, if one of the crew is determined to crash the plane and kill everyone onboard, he's going to find a way to do it.

My concern is that invasive screening procedures actually have the reverse effect, of concentrating those who are naturally manipulative, while chasing away those normal souls to whom intense, invasive scrutiny is anathema. As much as I love flying and aircraft, I would no have more considered a career as a pilot than I would have one as a trapeze artist.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:34
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Pace, I understand your sentiments but is there not a "halfway house" on this issue?

There could be a legal obligation placed on doctors to inform the appropriate aviation authority and employer if they consider a patient who works in any safety critical industry is unfit for duty due mental health issues. They would not need to specify why that person is unfit for duty. I am all for human rights but with rights come responsibilities.

Last edited by fireflybob; 30th Mar 2015 at 10:11.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:40
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Apparently sociopaths can be detected with MRI scans. Ask some indirect questions to trigger responsibility and empathy and you will see their brain is dead silent in the part which should show reactions. I bet half of the AME's don't know what a sociopath actually is.
1) It's not obvious that Lubitz was a sociopath. Assuming he's guilty of killing all the passengers, there could be any manner of psychiatric illnesses that led to the crash. Just picking on the sociopaths isn't going to solve the problem.

2) What are the sensitivity and specificity of the test? That is to say, will it give you lots of false positives or negatives? The answer, almost certainly, is 'yes'. So what do you do with the (say) 10-20% of pilots who are wrongly labelled as potential murderers?

3) At least some authorities think psychopaths are unlikely to commit suicide. Think of the stereotype of a pilot. Cool under pressure, despite the huge responsibility. A lack of empathy might actually be helpful under some circumstances. Maybe you actually want psychopaths as pilots (but not bosses).

I'm being slightly tongue-in-cheek, but I'm not actually sure that you know what a sociopath is.

All doctors get some mental health training. Not a lot in comparison with psychiatrists who've specialised in it, but we've all seen things that few laypersons have. I was sent in to have a chat with a delightful gentleman who had come to see the psychiatrists because his paranoia was getting worse. After the interview I was told to have a read through his notes. He'd taken an axe to several of his colleagues a few decades previously.

In the UK, most AMEs are GPs and a fairly large proportion of a GP's workload will be taken up by people who have psychiatric illnesses, declared or otherwise. In my emergency department I see a few overdose patients every week.

Overall, I agree with the premise that AMEs are going to be quite limited in their ability to make a psychiatric assessment of prospective pilots, but I don't think a quick 'techno' fix is going to be the answer either. But don't be too dismissive of AMEs. They are rather likely to know more about psychiatric illness than you.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:55
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In the UK there is already is legal duty placed on Doctors to make a disclosure contrary to the usual duty of absolute confidentiality where the Doctor believes there is a risk of death or serious harm to others.

I don't know what the policy of the medical authorities is in Germany is and their unusually strict privacy laws may mean that such a disclosure by a Doctor is less likely to happen.

53. Disclosure of personal information about a patient without consent may be justified in the public interest if failure to disclose may expose others to a risk of death or serious harm. You should still seek the patient’s consent to disclosure if practicable and consider any reasons given for refusal.

54. Such a situation might arise, for example, when a disclosure would be likely to assist in the prevention, detection or prosecution of serious crime, especially crimes against the person. When victims of violence refuse police assistance, disclosure may still be justified if others remain at risk, for example, from someone who is prepared to use weapons, or from domestic violence when children or others may be at risk.

55. If a patient’s refusal to consent to disclosure leaves others exposed to a risk so serious that it outweighs the patient’s and the public interest in maintaining confidentiality, or if it is not practicable or safe to seek the patient’s consent, you should disclose information promptly to an appropriate person or authority. You should inform the patient before disclosing the information, if practicable and safe, even if you intend to disclose without their consent.
GMC | Confidentiality guidance: Disclosures to protect others
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 09:59
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Still, today, there are posts questioning how the Captain was unable to gain re-entry to the cockpit. Please can all posters read some pages back to discover that the re-entry has to be either authorised by the remaining pilot, or can also be denied by them. (the possible use of the emergency entry code can also be denied).

Almost immediately after the Captain left the cockpit, after announcing (heard on the CVR) the co-pilot is in charge, the co-pilot dialed up altitude "zero" and the plane began its descent. There is only one conclusion people. Further to this is circumstantial evidence, leaked, that he used suggestion to go to the toilet to encourage the Captain to go at that time. Assumption is knowing the Alps were in front and descent would have a very predictable end at his favourite place on the earth.

On the CVR and because of the pounding on the door, we can deduce the denial of re-entry of the Captain to the cockpit. Go ahead - tell us that's because the co-pilot was frightened or something. That's ACTIVE denial folks - using the toggle switch to lock the door. Timeout whatever. He could have also used the toggle switch to unlock the door at any time. He didn't.

All this while the plane descended, which we can assume the Captain and flight crew understood, as well as a growing number of passengers who eventually ended up screaming. If not all of them. Horriffic. Let's not be in denial of that. Hard facts people.

So please don't be in denial of the facts. The co-pilot locked out the Captain and descended the plane into the Alps. Cannot be clearer than that. He could have admitted the Captain at any time. He didn't.

What reason could the co-pilot have for not readmitting the Captain if the plane was in trouble? If the co-pilot was incapacitated, how could he actively deny entry (that's what it takes). He was not incapacitated, in fact he probably denied entry to the Captain more than once in the 8min descent into the mountains.

Get real. The co-pilot on this flight crashed the plane on purpose. Now - deal with it. Why - is not so easy to answer.

I like the French investigation comment. Suicide is taking your own life. Crashing 150 people on a plane into the French Alps - that is mass murder. That is what we are dealing with. The guy is a monster. For whatever reason.

Depression or not, what we are dealing with is mass murder. Has happened before as well. Not easy to answer why, or how to prevent it.

Stop looking for excuses for him. It is indisputable. It's on the CVR. Maybe there are more like him. That's why two people need to be in the cockpit. That doesn't mean it cannot happen again, or some other way, but it sure lengthens the odds people.
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