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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 30th Mar 2015, 21:56
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Denti said

"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."

It appears that "exemptions" are/were available from certain national aviation authorities that have not (until this event ) mandated a 2nd Bod in the cockpit.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 22:12
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Determining "deliberate"; compromising reporting system?

But Rushed Approach, a number of well-informed and experienced posters have pointed out, that the law enforcement authorities must, in the appropriate case, take steps to preserve evidence, and in the French system, to open a proceeding in the nature of an enquiry into the circumstances of the fatalities (if I understand what has been said about France's system). But - as I read your objection - this tends to undercut, or even guts, the premise of the reporting system (a system which has served the overall civil aviation enterprise so well for so long, it must be noted). Is there not a hybrid, a combination, an integrative and accommodative principle here, which mitigates to a great extent against the harms to the reporting system you have invoked? I think there is: the vast, vast majority, if not literally all, of licensed Air Transport aviators will understand that in this matter, the Germanwings disaster, the law enforcement authorities had a duty to preserve evidence and open an enquiry - because this is so totally different than the types of mishaps, incidents, and even crashes which the confidentiality system for reporting is designed both to motivate, and protect. I am not arguing here, from the primacy of the criminal or quasi-criminal laws applicable in France (though they do trump even the reporting system, in my understanding). I am, however, arguing that the reporting system remains intact, because aviators with ATP licenses - having completed so much training and having such high standards of professionalism - know intuitively as well as logically that the actions of the law enforcement authorities were triggered by the highly unique situation confronting world civil aviation on the slopes of the Alps, sadly.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 22:17
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Screening for Malicious Intent

Armoured doors, door codes, cameras, video surveillance, live telemetry, 2 persons in the flight deck, 200ml of yoghurt, toothpaste, soup etc etc.

I believe all are missing the point. If one of the people at the controls of a conventionally controlled aircraft (e.g. B737, B757 etc ) has malicious intent, he/she could have the wings off before the other pilot could do anything to stop it. I don't know whether the flight envelope protection on an Airbus would prevent the above.

So, truly the only way to prevent a recurrence is more rigorous psychiatric screening of flight deck personnel.

Brace yourselves folks!
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 22:33
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The point that you seem to be having extreme difficulty in grasping, is that what is "deliberate" cannot be determined until a proper investigation has concluded. Therefore if you want the best flight safety system, the quid pro quo is that you must assume those involved are innocent until proven guilty.

Otherwise you compromise the whole reporting system.
Hence why its always noted that the purpose of an aircraft accident investigation is to find the root causes and not to dish out blame. Once you start blaming people the system turns against you next time you are doing an investigation, as those involved refrain from sharing information due to the fear that they will be assigned blame for the loss of life/craft.

So, truly the only way to prevent a recurrence is more rigorous psychiatric screening of flight deck personnel.
To what extent and how often? The thing with psychiatric issues is that it is too random to catch. A 45 year old pilot with no history of any such issues can snap and take his aircraft down with all souls on board as a result. Not very likely? Well consider how many pilots fly daily around the world on how many flights. How likely is it that GW or any other airline was going to go down due to the alleged suicide attempt? A very low likelihood in terms of probability. Maybe not as good as for someone with a history of mental issues but never-the-less too damn good odds to not inconvenience the 99.9% of pilots that fly just as frequently as the F/O did, break up with their girlfriends or get a divorce, etc. and don't feel the need to dive for the mountains with the plane they're commandeering with monthly sanity/stability tests for airline pilots.

As mentioned earlier, where does it stop? Psych evals before each flight?
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 22:34
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Thanks for the patronising reply.
Patronising if you wish, Factual, though.

Unlike your "I suspect the Germanwings aircraft did not have a physical "deadbolt" fitted, so that's another red herring.

Pure supposition on your behalf.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 22:52
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There has been much discussion of the roles of the French Prosecutor and the French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile and whether it was competent for the Prosecutor to pre-empt the air accident investigation. Comment has been made that things are different in the UK.

If this link is correct, there has only ever been one criminal prosecution in the UK of a professional pilot as a result of their actions whilst in command of an aircraft being used for the purposes of commercial air transport and that was in 1991. The incident giving rise to the prosecution was in fact never investigated by the AAIB, but instead by the pilot's employer, British Airways, and the Civil Aviation Authority.

B741, British Airways, London Heathrow UK, 1989 (Legal Process - Flight Crew) - SKYbrary Aviation Safety
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 22:59
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The problem is that the very opening of "proceedings" means that "guilt" of a person or persons is a possibility. In this case all the witnesses to the crash itself are unfortunately no longer with us, and so cannot defend themselves, and meanwhile the tabloid press look to dig up every morsel that might back up the sensational potential outcome, whilst no doubt ignoring any mitigating evidence that might get in the way of a good story. If the co-pilot had survived the accident (let's imagine he's in a coma, one of several survivors) then what chance would he now have of a fair trial? None.

Let's not forget that a single "rogue" pilot is actually about the best outcome for the aircraft manufacturer and the airline in terms of the money each will have to spend to be seen to "correct" the situation. I'm not saying that there is any kind of cover-up here - I have great respect for Lufthansa and the French authorities and in many ways they are doing outstanding work. However, once you start such a cannon ball of a conclusion rolling it is almost impossible to stop it, even if significant doubts later arise.

This is the danger of the early "obvious" conclusion. Presumably the French prosecutor is aware of the implications on future flight safety and the unions' concerns, yet it has chosen to ignore them in favour of getting the "truth" out there after only a few days. Let's hope future lives will not be lost because of the lack of trust and thus lack of honesty engendered in what might be perceived as a "flawed" investigation system that could result in a pilot being a suspect in deliberately causing the injury of his/her passengers because of mental health issues years ago.

The "gains" in eliminating such incredibly rare events may well be swamped by the loss of life resulting from the loss of confidence of pilots in the integrity of the system that thay will be given a fair trial and hence their subsequent lack of co-operation with any investigation ...
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:07
  #2728 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by wings folded
"I suspect the Germanwings aircraft did not have a physical "deadbolt" fitted, so that's another red herring.

Pure supposition on your behalf.
WF, i know about 1997 and 2000 bulit MSNs, that had no deadbolt installed. The security door (with all the other bells and whistles) on those was, I think, retrofitted but a standard Airbus kit. OTOH, the 2005+ machines with with line-fit indeed came with the deadbolt.


The prosecutor in his brief stated that the airframe did not have the override emergency code feature (which I find hard to believe) and was 24 yrs old. Germanwings D-AIPX (Airbus A320 - MSN 147) | Airfleets aviation
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:09
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@papershuffler


What is the procedure for issuing them? Are they issued by request of the patient, or is it down to the doctor to suggest?

That depends. Usually a physicians decide wether one is
able to work or not. He judges according the diagnosis he made
and what a patients tells him during his visit.


I.e., if one has a severe flu with fever he will write a sick note without
asking him for that.


But if one shows up just with a cold a patient may ask for this because
one explains him, he/she would need some days off from working because
of having problems at work.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:14
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Ollie Onion posts on the Australian Forum, on 28 March, at 20:27 and points out that MOST INSURANCE POLICIES for loss of license and income protection specifically exclude mental illness. He says it asks a lot of a pilot to put his whole livelihood at risk by self reporting.

If this exclusion was removed - say, by regulators, there would not be such a severe penalty for a pilot to recuse his rating voluntarily.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:15
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Unlike your "I suspect the Germanwings aircraft did not have a physical "deadbolt" fitted, so that's another red herring.

Pure supposition on your behalf.
No, not pure supposition - based on 20+ years' experience of flying Airbuses around Europe - how about you? It's clear that nobody on here is going to reveal whether the aircraft had this security feature (fair enough - I wouldn't if I knew the answer) but that's the point - we don't even know what security features were fitted and what emergency options were used/available, yet somehow within a few days of the crash it's done and dusted by some on here. There are a lot of options, with multiple airline selectable options, and I'll bet if you asked all of that crew what they were you'd get 6 different answers, as pretty much any European A320 Captain would if you ask that in the security brief when you next go flying. Try it ...
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:19
  #2732 (permalink)  
 
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The problem is that the very opening of "proceedings" means that "guilt" of a person or persons is a possibility. In this case all the witnesses to the crash itself are unfortunately no longer with us, and so cannot defend themselves, and meanwhile the tabloid press look to dig up every morsel that might back up the sensational potential outcome, whilst no doubt ignoring any mitigating evidence that might get in the way of a good story. If the co-pilot had survived the accident (let's imagine he's in a coma, one of several survivors) then what chance would he now have of a fair trial? None.

Let's not forget that a single "rogue" pilot is actually about the best outcome for the aircraft manufacturer and the airline in terms of the money each will have to spend to be seen to "correct" the situation. I'm not saying that there is any kind of cover-up here - I have great respect for Lufthansa and the French authorities and in many ways they are doing outstanding work. However, once you start such a cannon ball of a conclusion rolling it is almost impossible to stop it, even if significant doubts later arise.

This is the danger of the early "obvious" conclusion. Presumably the French prosecutor is aware of the implications on future flight safety and the unions' concerns, yet it has chosen to ignore them in favour of getting the "truth" out there after only a few days. Let's hope future lives will not be lost because of the lack of trust and thus lack of honesty engendered in what might be perceived as a "flawed" investigation system that could result in a pilot being a suspect in deliberately causing the injury of his/her passengers because of mental health issues years ago.

The "gains" in eliminating such incredibly rare events may well be swamped by the loss of life resulting from the loss of confidence of pilots in the integrity of the system that thay will be given a fair trial and hence their subsequent lack of co-operation with any investigation ...
With the greatest of respect, I think you are clutching at straws now.

NO mention of 'mental history' was made when the original story was 'leaked', to my recollection - that followed later. I believe you have that bit @rse-about-face.

The ONLY reason for info to be released so early on is that there is such overwhelming evidence of deliberate action that there is no other plausible explanation - and that evidence has come almost immediately from multiple independent sources.

As soon as this becomes apparent, it ceases to become an 'accident' investigation and becomes a criminal one. Ergo, none of the protections you describe apply, therefore I believe your argument is invalid.

And unlike you, I have absolutely NO faith in the French authorities, nor Airbus - however, I see no conspiracy here, or 'premature' conclusions. The first thing that went through my mind was 'not ANOTHER 'fantastic' Airbus P.O.S flying itself into the ground!' - however, my own prejudices were very quickly put aside as soon as I saw the FR24 data which was completely unlike any of the other incidents. Nor did I buy into the 'hypoxia' theory.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:31
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Cows..."I'm a little bemused by the regular references to US cockpits and the strength of their 1500hr rule. That rule isn't exactly something that has been kicking around for too long and, if the jungle [B][I]drums are to be believed, was implemented as a (knee jerk) reaction to the Colgan crash."

1500-hour Pilot Rule Presents Challenges And Opportunities

"The FAA has issued a final rule that raises to 1,500 the minimum flight hours required by first officers for U.S. air carriers flying under Part 121 regulations, up from the current 250 hours. The new rules stem from a Congressional mandate following the 2009 crash of Colgan Air 3407, a Bombardier Q400, in Buffalo, NY. {More at source*}

"Quality of Time Logged"*

"The new regulations, however, do not address the quality of the logged time. Both pilots in the Colgan crash had logged more time than the new minimum; the captain had flown 3,379 hours and the first officer 2,244 hours at the time of the accident. "


*Source:
1,500-hour Pilot Rule Presents Challenges And Opportunities | Business Aviation: Aviation International News

More on Colgan Crash Probe:
NTSB scrutinizes pilots in Colgan Q400 crash probe | Business Aviation: Aviation International News

More on 1500hrs...Brad Tate's unintended...
The Unintended Consequences of the "1500 Hour Rule"
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:48
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As soon as this becomes apparent, it ceases to become an 'accident' investigation and becomes a criminal one
Apparent to who? The point you are missing is that it can't be "apparent" until the investigation is complete. If the result is prejudged as "apparent" after only a few days then the whole investigation is potentially flawed as the evidence can be selected to fit the "crime" and evidence that doesn't fit is ignored or given little credibility.

To say that as soon as any crime is suspected means that any accident investigation then goes out of the window is to completely miss the point of protecting pilots from consequences if they "fess up". If you ever get the chance to visit the AAIB down in Farnborough please take it up - perhaps then you will understand the point I'm making.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 23:49
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The assumption is that if a crew member (pilot) wishes to suicide and take passengers lives as well, that placing a cabin crew member with the remaining pilot will solve the problem.

What seems to have been overlooked is that the cabin crew member is even more probable to have the same suicidal/homicidal intent. They have been subject to less screening and observation in all respects. You are now placing them behind the remaining pilot and within reach of controls in a locked room.
The problem has merely been moved sideways.

Furthermore, with cabin crew outnumbering pilots by up to 10 to 1 on some aircraft, the probability of a terrorist 'plant' within the cabin crew possibly increases the overall odds that the alone pilot is a safer option.

Last edited by RifRaf3; 31st Mar 2015 at 00:09.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 00:08
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Apparent to who?
Apparent to the investigators - hence why they informed the authorities and the information was released. The investigators are far more expert than you or I in this respect. I am inclined to trust them.

The point you are missing is that it can't be "apparent" until the investigation is complete. If the result is prejudged as "apparent" after only a few days then the whole investigation is potentially flawed as the evidence can be selected to fit the "crime" and evidence that doesn't fit is ignored or given little credibility.
What makes you think evidence has been 'selected'? The investigation pretty much IS complete - the CVR, combined with the Mode S ES data, combined with the ADS-B out data, is unfortunately pretty conclusive. What more do you believe a drawn-out and protracted investigation will reveal, or achieve? The very fact that conclusions have been drawn, and released, this early strongly suggests that this 'incident' is very much unlike most others.

There ARE people selecting (or rather ignoring) evidence to fit a preconceived idea - but it doesn't appear to be the BEA or French Authorities....

Imagine, if you will, that this investigation proceeded exactly as you suggest, and somewhere later down the line these same conclusions are reached - the public outcry, and the subsequent damage to our profession, would be catastrophic. 'We', as a community, would be accused of 'sitting on' information that could have immediate, serious safety consequences - at least in the public's mind.

You are also assuming that the investigation can't possibly be complete after only 'a few days' - I disagree. It would appear that in this case they have enough evidence to present a reasonable conclusion, else they would not have done so. Most accidents CANNOT be concluded upon in just 'a few days' - but this is not 'most accidents'.

To say that as soon as any crime is suspected means that any accident investigation then goes out of the window is to completely miss the point of protecting pilots from consequences if they "fess up". If you ever get the chance to visit the AAIB down in Farnborough please take it up - perhaps then you will understand the point I'm making.
What pilot is ever going to 'fess up' to deliberately endangering their aircraft? I see no 'damage' being done to the investigation of genuine accidents here.

We also need to bear in mind the investigators' responsibilities under Annex 13 5.11:

5.11 If, in the course of an investigation it becomes known, or it is suspected, that an act of unlawful interference was involved, the investigator-in-charge shall immediately initiate action to ensure that the aviation security authorities of the
State(s) concerned are so informed. (my bold)
...which is EXACTLY what the investigators have done.

I have already visited the AAIB, quite some time ago now - very sobering walking around those hangars - not for the faint hearted.

I guess we won't see eye-to-eye on this, Rushed Approach, but I imagine time will tell.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 00:15
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Lacking basic information on configuration and...

Does anyone have any insight in the actual specific configuration of this plane (not the original "as built" configuration, but the "as is"?).

Acars?
Engines - remote 'monitoring'?
Perhaps even Other air/ground information channels?

The answer to those questions would have a significant impact on a lot of what has been discussed and said till now. Even when installed you would still have to find out if it was working at the time.

From an accident investigation point of view it would be rather damaging if the procureur (I use the word procureur and not the word prosecuter) had based his statements on a rough and initial reading of the CVR only. If the same damage is perceived from a judicial point of view I don't know.

So would like to ask two questions:
A. Can anyone say something about the plane's configuration?
B. Is it acceptable under French judiciairy practice to make statements of what are in aerospace terms still 'not yet synchronized, non-confirmed, rough 'facts'', and if so, why and for what purpose are these statements generally made?



Note1: some papers and posters appear to state that the procureur was pressed by the NYT disclosure... Or later BildamS...
Note2: some papers and posters appear to state that the early publication was required in order to preserve evidence.
I don't understand why and how that would work ... It would help if the answers to A. and B. could also shed some light on these two Notes.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 02:03
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RE FDR not recovered, no point of impact, depression, recurrence?

Previous posts note that it is the FDR memory, not the FDR chassis, which remains missing.Just saying.

“No point of impact” is assumed because one has not been published and there is no apparent hole in the ground. Previous posts have described the geography as loose rock that can and does regularly shift down slopes which are all steep; impact would loosen much material and bury debris. Angle of a jangled repose is operant.

Depression, if relevant, is a contributor, not realistically as solitary reason for copilot's assumed actions. Many other significant contributors to irrational actions have so far been listed and it is that list, not individual factors, that matters.

There have been many posts claiming that recurrence of this type of event is miniscule. “With today's unequalled airline safety, 65,000 flights per day...” In one sense it is. But the actual equation is more like the chances of “picking” a winning Lotto or MegaMillions ticket, which is 1 in 259 million where I live. Hit the Lotto jackpot, you get filthy rich, and it only ruins your life. Fly once a year, in a year where there is only one unexplained airliner crash killing all aboard, and your chances of 'success” are 65000 x 365 or 1 in 23,725,000. Twenty three million is a big figure, but millions of Americans (half in fact!) annually spend billions combined to play/pay Lotto in the belief they have a better chance at hitting it big than dying in an airliner crash, even though it is ten times more probable that one will die flying on today's “safest ever” airlines than hitting the jackpot. While not wishing to be macabre, the outcomes are some what different, one requiring new financial management, the other with the airline passenger 'winner' being crushed, mashed, jellied, burned alive, fragmented, drowned, poisoned, or otherwise sliced and diced in new and different ways. Along I might add, with entire families which causes proportionally larger the social ripples of grief, anger and confidence questioning. My point is that the current event is fraught with potential not yet fully argued about. One should never forget the mercurial nature of public opinion.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 02:19
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While the FAA rule about 1500 hours is pretty new, the practical aspects of getting hired at a MAJOR US AIRLINE is much more than that.
A college degree, no FAR infractions, ATPMEL, And quite frankly 4000 or 5000 hours is not out of line. Much of that time will be in regional airliners.
German Wings IS a "Regional Airline".
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 02:22
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Originally Posted by Rushed Approach
The point that you seem to be having extreme difficulty in grasping, is that what is "deliberate" cannot be determined until a proper investigation has concluded. Therefore if you want the best flight safety system, the quid pro quo is that you must assume those involved are innocent until proven guilty.

Otherwise you compromise the whole reporting system.
The alt select changed all by itself then?

The captain was banging on the _inside_ of the door asking to be let in?

The French Procureur felt that there was a case to answer. Many of the people on here will agree with him. You obviously don't want their to be a case or criminal investigation until 18 months have passed and all evidence for a criminal investigation has been lost. Think about what you are proposing.
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