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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:18
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andymurph wrote "it seems illogical for the Flight Recorder not to signal it's location in hard to reach terrain."

The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) have attached to them a water-activated Underwater Location Beacon (ULB).

The ULB's do not operate when they are not immersed. They are intended to aid locating the recorder when an aircraft ends up in a lake, sea or ocean. An ultrasonic pinger cannot be detected through the air.

The FDR and CVR are painted a bright fluorescent orange. It was expected that this would be sufficient to enable them to be located among aircraft debris on land.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:19
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Enterprise Risk Management

Quote: (lomapaseo) -
"Corrective action is not about 100% prevention, it's about mitigation or minimization of effects. For instance, I'll accept flight disruptions, irregularities, but not catastrophic loss of all aboard

I have trouble following arguments that don't include weighing of managed risks.

For starters I would like at least to revisit today's assessment of terrorist risk that was thought to be minimized by a locked door vs requiring a second person (FA) during breaks vs a single man cockpit, etc. etc.

I don't have an answer (opinion) at this point but I sure don't accept most other answers I've read at face value on these pages without more data."


Everyone has familiarity with the (so-called) "law" of unintended consequences. I propose, as a premise to contribute to the discussion, deliberation, analysis and so on -- as appropriately and correctly advocated by lomapaseo's post quoted above -- a "law" of escalating consequences. To wit, there is a pilot shortage. Air transport is growing; yet with airline financial situations in dire straits, expansive new training and screening processes seem unlikely. Point: yes, the horrible and tragic instance of a pilot using an aircraft as a murder weapon has, to date, been statistically very, very rare (even including incidents in countries which, to some posters, have been ignored in the Western Hemisphere). Prediction: under current trends, the risks of such situations as evidently has occurred will increase, not merely stay the same.

And Ian W earlier hit the grand slam home run - the French authorities had to act without delay to preserve evidence. No French law enforcement or prosecutorial authority has declared the civil aviation authority investigation deferred or canceled. No representative of said civil aviation authority has announced anything, or acted in any way, as if such a deferral or cancellation were in place. How, exactly, the two types of official enquiries shall be coordinated, may be a fair question. A harder question: how should they be coordinated in the future, even if the risk is a constant, rather than an increasing one?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:20
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The prosecutor has no task to inform public and medias. At contrary the "instruction judiciaire" must be kept secret...
That is theoretically right, but practice has changed a little, because times are changing (social networks, etc).
The problem with secret is that it leads to leaks, rumours, etc. Therefore justice has understood that it's better to provide a limited but valid information rather than letting people speculate.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:25
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Originally Posted by NigelOnDraft
I think there is now much greater awareness of the rule, and its benefits and risks. However, what is clear is that by "adding" the rule, the purpose of that second person has changed - and not insignificantly
As I understand the proposals, as I've seen it in action, as I understand what the FAA has always required (since locked doors), the purpose of the second person remains unchanged - it is to be able to "open the goddamn door". Nothing else. Otherwise could you explain what has changed on the airlines, and in regulatory environments, that already had this as SOP ?

It may or may not have helped in this case, it may or may not deter similar events (as with the locked door, we do not and will not know). What we do know, or can find out, is how many flights have been compromised by a lone pilot behind a locked door (some we know, some we can only suspect), and how many have been compromised by FA + lone pilot.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:34
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At the present stage, a press release of the German prosecutor say there is no material evidence and no indication whatsoever that Andreas L. was about to handle the way he did, nor any writing he left behind showing he intended to:

Die zuvor in Presseerklarungen mitgeteilten Ergebnisse von Beweiserhebungen gelten uneingeschrankt fort. Insbesondere fehlt es weiterhin sowohl an der belegbaren Ankundigung einer solchen Tat als auch an einem aufgefundenen Tatbekenntnisses. Ebenso wenig sind im unmittelbaren personlichen und familiaren Umfeld oder am Arbeitsplatz besondere Umstande bekannt geworden, die tragfahige Hinweise uber ein mogliches Motiv geben konnen.
Andreas L. had no physiological disease, according to the corresponding medical papers. He was treated for suicidal tendencies, but the treatment by a psychotherapist took place several years ago, before he obtained his pilot's certification. He made more recent visits to psychiatric specialists, but the doctor's notes connected with those visits did not record any suicidal urges or aggression toward others, according to the german's prosecutor's press release:

Die entsprechenden arztlichen Dokumentationen weisen bislang keine organische Erkrankung aus. Der Co-Pilot war vor mehreren Jahren - vor Erlangung des Pilotenscheines - uber einen langeren Zeitraum mit vermerkter Suizidalitat in psychotherapeutischer Behandlung. Im Folgezeitraum und bis zuletzt haben weitere Besuche bei Facharzten fur Neurologie, Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie mit entsprechenden Krankschreibungen stattgefunden, ohne dass dabei allerdings Suizidalitat oder Fremdaggressivitat attestiert worden ist.
Source : http://www.sta-duesseldorf.nrw.de/be...lugabsturz.pdf

A question : is it usual that a pilot would get an ATPL despite a past history of suicidal tendencies ?

Last edited by ettore; 30th Mar 2015 at 15:37. Reason: typos
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:41
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This is crazy. We have too many cooks spoiling the broth. If he had no physiological disease then what was he being treated for in the clinic recently? They said that it was not a mental illness. Now you are suggesting that according to the German prosecutors it was not physiological. So what's left?

The comment re Trial By Media is spot on. In this morning's UK Times they are still going on about the 'killer pilot'. Saying that the pilot asked him about the landing procedure and the co-pilot was alleged to have said 'Hopefully'. Now the Times is banging on that this word implies that he was planning to commit suicide. What utter tosh. It depends on the actual question asked by the pilot.

if the pilot had asked 'Can you run me through the landing procedure' ?

'Hopefully' - meaning that I hope I can remember the key actions correctly.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:57
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Originally Posted by camber3
I can't believe the black box was found without the memory card
It is far far more likely that this quote (which is itself unconfirmed) meant that the recorder has been found, but the crash survivable memory unit has not, rather than that the crash survivable memory unit had been found breached and without its contents.

Need to bear in mind that some information may be coming via translation from French to German before getting to English.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 15:57
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Originally Posted by NigelOnDraft View Post

I think there is now much greater awareness of the rule, and its benefits and risks. However, what is clear is that by "adding" the rule, the purpose of that second person has changed - and not insignificantly

As I understand the proposals, as I've seen it in action, as I understand what the FAA has always required (since locked doors), the purpose of the second person remains unchanged - it is to be able to "open the goddamn door". Nothing else. Otherwise could you explain what has changed on the airlines, and in regulatory environments, that already had this as SOP ?

It may or may not have helped in this case, it may or may not deter similar events (as with the locked door, we do not and will not know). What we do know, or can find out, is how many flights have been compromised by a lone pilot behind a locked door (some we know, some we can only suspect), and how many have been compromised by FA + lone pilot.
Please consider the following scenario
  1. Buzzer goes off, Capt & FA in cockpit.
  2. Capt assess the person requesting entry is a security hazard and wishes to deny them entry
  3. FA decides the person outside the door is to be permitted entry.
and now please answer:
  1. Under the "policy", whose decision is final?
  2. In practical terms, should they disagree, whose decision is the one that can be made to apply?
I do not know whether the airlines with the policy have specified the above, my employer did not have the policy so I cannot help. But were I to operate as Captain under the policy, I would wish to ensure the policy made the answers (and others) clear to all.

I believe life has moved on since last week, and risks that were not apparent prior to last week are now known world wide. IMO this policy adds clear new risks, now the "2 in cockpit" rule is so widely known and practiced.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:03
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Rushed approach
Well it's a ridiculous system then as in effect the French prosecutor is passing a subjective judgment as to whether a crime has been committed not even a week after the crash, and whether a crime has or not been committed cannot be determined until the full "proper" aircraft investigation has been completed. So his subjective "gut feeling" will either be right or wrong and so many hares may have been set running unnecessarily. How can such a daft system be justified when in many cases the prosecutor will be wrong?
You display no clue about French legal process, yet choose to be critical of it.

The question of a "crime" or not is not relevant. I explained earlier that when a life has been lost, the "Procureur" for the relevant district opens an "instruction" I explained this in an earlier post ( Iwould quote the post number, but because of deletions, the number keeps changing)

Here 150 lives were lost.

The Procureur (please note the different vocabulary; "Procureur" is not the same thing as "prosecutor"), is obliged to open a case and be open with the public and with all concerned parties.

The Procureur is not investigating the technical aspects; BEA do that. They brief him, and he applies his required public duty to what follows.

He does not have "gut feelings" and as such they are neither subjective nor not so.

Just to be clear, because you seem not to have grasped it. When a death has occurred, the Procureur opens a case. It does not ergo facto mean that there is a suspicion of a crime having been committed.

The, in due course, BEA investigations and reports become part of the "instruction"

Got it now?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:03
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The FAA requires the second person so they can visually assess who is at the door for entrance. A very few limited airlines have a alternative method. It has nothing to do with opening the door or leaving the pilot alone in the cockpit.
Isn't video surveillance standard? In europe, with the exception of ryanair, it certainly is. Without video surveillance there was always a second person required on the flightdeck anyway.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:04
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A question : is it usual that a pilot would get an ATPL despite a past history of suicidal tendencies ?
Sort of the wrong question, albeit same outcome. It should be "can such a person get a Class 1 Medical?".

That said, I do not know the answer...

It does raise the issue with regard as to how responsible Lufthansa / Germanwings are? For many airlines, the past medical history is unknown to them - all they can see is if you have a valid Licence and Medical. It might be that Lufthansa do go beyond, especially via any cadet system - but the bottom line remains the same: if this pilot should not have been flying, that is not a matter for the airline, provided he had the correct Medical etc. It is for the Regulator (EASA and/or LBA) to answer, albeit I am sure they will try to keep their heads low.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:04
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Speaking as a frequent passenger, I'm deeply dismayed to learn that one of the two people on whom my life depends while in the air, may have demonstrated suicidal tendencies to the point where his airline makes him go for regular psych-checks. He shouldn't be flying my plane!

How in the name does such a person go on to achieve a commercial pilot's licence? Show him compassion, provide care and help - but don't under any circumstances give him the keys to a passenger-carrying aircraft.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:07
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@ Londonman

The German prosecutor's press release says precisely that he had been treated by several specialists : neurologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Accordingly, ndreas L. definitely had an history of mental disorders.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:24
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Sort of the wrong question, albeit same outcome. It should be "can such a person get a Class 1 Medical?".

That said, I do not know the answer...
Since April 2013 AMC1.MED.B.055 Psychiatry, AMC1.MED.B.060 Psychology and AMC1.MED.B065 Neurology would apply.

I honestly do not know how it is handled at lufthansa, they do have several AeroMedical Centers that can on their own issue special approvals. However, as far as i know the company only gets to pay the bill and a fit/unfit message plus a copy of the medical, nothing else. Again, even if it is a company AME doctor/patient confidentiality does apply, except for those data that have to be submitted to the authority, however not to the company.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:25
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
Tmac, does that post answer your concern?
Thanks lonewolf_50, it just seemed odd when reported that nobody had attempted to enter the emergency code rather than they had but the lock meant it had no effect, does that suggest the captain knew it was locked?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:32
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Originally Posted by slats11
There is evidence that mandatory reporting drives problems underground - it discourages people seeking medical attention, and discourages people from being transparent with their physician. So it is a complex issue, and certainly no panacea.
It's been said before in this thread, but it is well worth repeating since policy making bodies often overlook this very human reaction to greater control/probing by "the system" into their lives.
6. He was too high functioning to be suffering from schizophrenia or another form of psychosis. Most likely a nasty personality disorder with narcissistic, sociopathic and borderline traits. Unfortunately these personality disorders are pretty common.
Heh, some decades ago one of our flight surgeons suggested that a few semi-undesirable traits, narcissism being the one he harped on that day, were common among Naval Aviators ... and he looked at us all for a moment before continuing "It makes sense, because it takes a healthy amount of ego to get into this business in the first place."
Yes, you guessed it: CRM was the topic of the day at that Safety Stand Down.

tmac21: that's my guess, as I go on the assumption that the Captain knew his aircraft and its systems.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:33
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lomapaseo
For starters I would like at least to revisit today's assessment of terrorist risk that was thought to be minimized by a locked door vs requiring a second person (FA) during breaks vs a single man cockpit, etc. etc.
Yes, which prompts the thought that so far the regulator (EASA and to a lesser extent LBA) has failed miserably, and predictably. Why?

Since October 2012 AOC holders in EASA-land have been required to have and operate effective Safety Management procedures, within their Management System. (OPS.GEN.200, for the really interested.)

To simply, perhaps slightly over-simplify, safety management is fundamentally the pro-active search for and identification of hazards, followed by assessment, prioritisation and mitigation. It is a necessary part of Safety Management that all employees are encouraged to report hazards they see or know about.

It is the regulators task to make sure that Operators are doing this, and to pull them up if not, with the ultimate sanction of withdrawal of the AOC.

I find it very hard to believe that any rational person would not admit that leaving 1 person on the flight deck, behind a locked and potentially impenetrable door is a hazard with a potentially catastrophic outcome, and then mitigate it either by having a 2-person rule, or by making it possible to gain entry regardless of the actions of whoever is on the other side. It might well then be thought that the 2-person rule is the only way to mitigate the hazard without increasing the terrorist/piracy hazard.

I find it equally hard to believe that many aircrew, at least, have not been very aware of the potential risk.

If anyone had reported this hazard, properly run Safety Management would and should have picked it up and dealt with it, and of course many airlines did just that.

But others did not, obviously, presumably because their Safety Management is more lip service than real.

The real villains in the piece, cowering behind their desks, are the National Aviation Authorities who did nothing about that except, perhaps, ask them politely to think about it. In the UK the CAA would have been worrying more about forcing Operators to buy their over-priced SMS courses than real safety at the coal-face.

And of course, in Europe we have EASA's merry band of bureaucrats who will now leap/have just leaped into action to prevent the accident after itt happened.

And once again we have seen that the USA is miles ahead of the rest of the world in aviation safety as opposed to paper-shuffling and politics.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:38
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UK Shotgun License and depression do not mix!

This is the declaration on the bottom of a ShotGun License application form.
Even my mother has to sign something like this to get a driving license.
What does it say on a ATPL Application form?

"I give the police permission to contact my GP and/or specialist to obtain factual details of any medical history in respect of this application.
This authority is valid for the life of the certificate(s).
I understand that my GP may share sensitive personal data with the police concerning my physical & mental health for the purpose of
enabling the police to make a fully informed decision on my application & I hereby consent to this processing of my personal data.
Applicant’s name
(please print)
....."

...

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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:43
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Is it certain that the airline knew this? From a quick scan here ok thought this was before he started.
We know that his paperwork was marked 'SIC' which apparently means that special medical supervision was required. This might mean that he had a chronic physical condition that needed to be monitored, but as it's been stated officially that no physiological problem was known to the airline, it sounds as if the medical monitoring was about his psychological state. Given that psychological problems manifested while he was in Lufthansa training, and before he obtained his pilot's licence, I'd say LH knew there were issues with this pilot.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 16:56
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We know that his paperwork was marked 'SIC' which apparently means that special medical supervision was required
Actually, the LBA denied any knowledge of any such entry yesterday. They would have to have it on their files though. I just wonder how he could have a medical without it. However, pretty much every entry on the medical can be given for a number of very different reasons.
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