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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 1st Apr 2015, 14:21
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Originally Posted by DirtyProp
The risks have already been minimized.
Proof of that is the outstanding safety record of this industry. Also, the pursuit of all airlines is profit. No profit, no airline.
Which is the same pursuit of passengers (saving) when they freely choose how to travel.
No one can anticipate their own death. But like it or not, death is part of life. It can happen to anyone in any possible way. If you really think you can completely eliminate any risk from your life or when you travel (by plane or other means), you're mistaken.
DEATH may be inevitable and impossible to eliminate as a risk, but MASS MURDER by someone having a psychotic episode does NOT need to be part of that equation during air travel. Full stop.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 14:42
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It is interesting - the only other 'bulk' public transportation system I can think of where a single person can be at the controls and the numbers affected 100 or more is the train. We saw the 'suicide/murder' committed at Moorgate station in 1975.

Would it be of value to see what the train systems have done about the psychological profiles of their drivers?
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 14:57
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The A320 EGPWS has forward looking terrain avoidance capability, so the 'terrain - pull up' could be triggered at that altitude.
Wouldn't the 'Terrain Awareness and Display' in a Airbus call "TERRAIN AHEAD - PULL UP!" ?
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 15:05
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the SD card

I do not believe this. The chances of an SD card being found in those circumstances is astronomical - so much so that it deserves no consideration at all.
If the remains of a mobile phone CONTAINING the SD card had been reported then I would think differently.
<sentence removed>
The possibility that one of the investigators or recovery people on the ground has found the thing and sold it to the media is also highly unlikely. Given the attention this incident has generated and the number of innocent people murdered, I cannot believe that this is what happened.
If it really did then the action is unconscionable and the gutter press who have published it are beyond the pale.
But then, in the filthy business of peddling innuendo and false information, I suppose anything is possible.

Last edited by Xeque; 2nd Apr 2015 at 02:49. Reason: Reference to sounds that could not possibly be heard in the cabin. My apologies.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 15:11
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There have been many posts regarding the mental state of the copilot, most of which conclude that he was suffering from some form of mental illness. He may well have previously received treatment for depression or other ailments, but it is not necessary to invoke some form of psychosis to explain his actions.

For as long as people have lived in social groups, certain bounds have been imposed on individual behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour was punished by expulsion from the group or by other penalties designed to enforce compliance. Religious beliefs also led to cohesion with a given society, although also responsible for many conflicts with other groups. It was the fear of the consequences of getting caught that kept people on the straight and narrow.

Modern society, the lack of religious belief and the general breakdown of extended family groups has contributed to an overall lack of control over the actions of individuals. indeed many people believe that they should have the absolute freedom to do as they wish, although generally with the caveat that their actions should not harm others.

In a society where murder and serious crime is mass entertainment on prime time TV is it any wonder that people grow up with a skewed sense of what is acceptable behaviour?

Given the above statements, I would propose that someone who has achieved their life's dream and who is faced with losing everything due to a medical ailment or disiplinary action may well rationalise that a spectacular murder/suicide is a logical course of action to take. We all want to leave our mark on the world, either by having children, gaining fame or renown by good works, or perhaps by performing an act so shocking that it will be remembered. You don't have to be mad to consider crashing a plane full of passengers into a mountain. It is a logical solution to an unhappy situation if you are not constrained by morals and ethics.

Just another symptom of the pressures of modern society and the breakdown of morals and ethics.

Constant monitoring of pilots will not prevent someone who is determined to do harm from crashing a plane but instilling a sense of responsibility and pride in the job just might help a bit in preventing the mental processes that lead to a crash being the most logical solution to an individual's problems.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 15:13
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Many of us pilots are against video cameras in the flight deck to avoid our last moments being filmed.
That has to be one of the most bizarre comments I have heard from a professional pilot (Other than in jest when, amongst professionals, esp mil, anything goes).

I never intended to have my 'last moments' on the flight deck of a public transport aircraft nor, I'm sure, did any of my colleagues.

I have frequently been filmed in the sim and a good training aid it is to confirm that the stude did something which, at debrief, he fails to recollect

We thought that the CVR would be intrusive but everyone now accepts it as a great diagnostic and I don't recollect it repressing robust social comment on the flight deck.

Provided that the use of audio and video recordings is rigidly controlled ONLY to be used by accident investigators then I have no objection to either. Simply make it a criminal offense for the operator to intentionally view or listen.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 15:23
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DEATH may be inevitable and impossible to eliminate as a risk, but MASS MURDER by someone having a psychotic episode does NOT need to be part of that equation during air travel. Full stop.
And according to the statistics it is NOT.

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

You can all stop freaking out.
Or you can provide for your own transportation so you will be totally sure to know the driver.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 15:23
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Risk, minimum, or minimized, or not

To ChissayLuke:
I have to voice disagreement with your assertions about - if not also your overall approach to - the presence of risks in civil aviation. It is a given, a bedrock, foundational, immovable, irrefutable and undeniable building block of the entire international civil aviation system that, because flying is an inherently dangerous activity, provisions must be set in place for the handling of compensation to victims of accidents. The Warsaw Convention, the most foundational and bedrock piece of the system of international agreements, was entered into....in 1929. So to say that the flying public is unaware of risk, really is to say something quite different: some individuals (and perhaps, some groups within some segments of some cultures or societies or even, regions of the world) prefer not to think about the risks, preferring instead just to wish that everything will work out fine on their particular trip. But to assert that somehow the flying public is entitled to some pristine atmosphere above the earth where the laws of physics do not apply, and flying can be made inherently safe, is to ignore what cannot be ignored - the international legal system on which the present day's world airline community was built. It was not so long ago, as you may or may not recall, that the back of ticket stock contained a summary of the terms of the Warsaw Convention - yeah, the print was small, and IIRC was printed in red ink, but as recently as 1972, if a member of the flying public was interested in how the law acknowledged the inherently dangerous nature of flying, it was there, in red and white.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 15:24
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Dirtyprop, your comments are, indeed, 'off the map'. imho.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 16:09
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@ChissayLuke, what is it you actually want to be done?

It's very easy after an event like this to rail against the participants and the authorities and say, "This is dreadful, it shouldn't have happened. Somebody's to blame, something must be done."

I doubt if anyone would argue with the general sentiment. The real issue is "What should be done?" And to arrive at an answer to that question, you have to determine exactly what did happen, why it happened, whether anything could have been done to prevent it, and, if so, what. Then, crucially, whether that proposed preventative action would actually increase total risk through some unwanted consequence.

Which is why leaping to conclusions and taking actions based on early reports and hysterical newspaper headlines is so, so dangerous.

For example, suppose someone issued a binding directive that no-one with a depressive episode on their medical record could fly henceforth. What are you going to do in due course when several hundred, perhaps several thousand, existing pilots cannot turn up for work and fly aircraft, because they suffered depression sometime in the past, even if they have now been treated and recovered?

Basically, you have only a few choices. Promote pilots from further down the food chain and fly with them; increase the allowed flying hours of remaining crew to cover the shortfall; or cancel the flights.

The practicality and net safety consequence of the first two is not clear and would require evaluation, but could easily be negative. The third one almost certainly increases the passengers' total risk of accidental death. It is well documented that road fatalities in the US rose substantially in the aftermath of 9/11 because people were afraid of flying so drove, and that the increase outweighed any conceivable consequence of further terrorist action had it occurred (which, of course, it didn't).

Carrying on as though this incident never occurred and never thinking about it again is not an option, and I seriously doubt that the relevant authorities will do that. Determining what appropriate action to take is not so straightforward and requires careful, informed consideration.

Last edited by DespairingTraveller; 1st Apr 2015 at 16:25.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 16:10
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Dirtyprop, your comments are, indeed, 'off the map'. imho.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
I feel the same towards the paying public that always wants to get the cheapest airfare but at the same time the highest safety standards with no risk whatsoever.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 16:44
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Papershuffler, thank you for your analysis. One should consider the reason for any leakage of information. From the initial CVR leak to this one. Obvious reasons are vanity and money. Where it is hard evidence the motive could well be greed.

Very easy to slip a cell phone in your pocket, especially if you know that others have been found. Self-justification would be easy and lots of money could be made. There must be journalists aplenty in the area 'protecting their sources'
Any investigators searching should have been briefed on the correct way to handle electronic evidence ("EE"). There may even be a specialist on site to handle/secure anything found, to ensure no data is lost. (This was standard procedure for the cases I worked on. A device could be 'imaged' - a digital copy made - and left in situ if the correct equipment was available, but I don't consider that would have been practical in this case.)

As an example of how EE is dealt with: on one of my first operations, I found a mobile phone. I reacted as you would on finding a poisonous snake - I stepped back, swore, and yelled for help. I then wrote the discovery in my notebook, and left the arriving geek to deal with it. It had been hammered into us to not do anything which may compromise the data. e.g. If it was the execution of a search warrant, it's possible the phone owner had been attempting to send a text to warn someone else that a raid was on, and touching that phone or moving it may have sent the message. If multiple items were found at the same time, it would greatly impede a search, especially if there were limited staff. You could not move on until it had been dealt with/handed over.

On the side of a mountain/bottom of a gully, recovery procedures are probably slightly different. I would however hope that investigators would still have the presence of mind to not interfere with devices, and to keep them isolated.

What really, really concerns me is that if any of the clips are real, it's also likely valuable evidence has been lost forever. When a device is forensically analysed, they can find often find 'that little bit more'. When a device is operated under non-sterile conditions, some of this data is irretrievably written over.

That's why picking up a device 'to see if there's anything on it' is so damaging. How easy would it be to hit the wrong button on an unfamiliar device? To power on an already-damaged device which then short circuits and wipes the memory?

Also, do you think that anyone who has already stolen something from the deceased would respect any last messages to their friends or family that have been left? Or photos taken while on holiday which relatives may treasure forever?

I don't think such an action can be justified in any way. In fact, it disgusts me. And it disgusts me that any organisation would pay someone for such 'information', or even provide an outlet for them. All involved should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Isotope Toast

1. The article leads off by saying that they have obtained a "video of the final seconds of the crash."
IF they have obtained a video, it was likely to be by nefarious purposes. And likely to have destroyed other evidence in the process.


Phone video might auto upload
If a phone survived the crash, then it is possible that it uploaded a video file to the cloud. I know lots of people whose partners know their passwords and would be able to retrieve a file.

There probably was no signal on the mountain, however if the searchers did not put any phones in metal boxes, it is possible that they uploaded as soon as they got to civilisation.
The three immediate limitations that occur to me are:
- battery length
- recovery procedure
- sterile forensic atmosphere

However, IF devices are not being secured or processed in a sterile atmosphere, it is possible.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 17:07
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The world will only get weirder

Found this here: The world will only get weirder | Steve Coast

The world will only get weirder

by Steve Coast on March 27, 2015

Another month, another terrible and bizarre aircraft incident.

As far as the media are reporting, Andreas Lubitz decided it would be a great idea to fly a fully functional A320 in to the side of a mountain and kill 150 people a few days ago.

Six months ago a fully functioning 777 was flown in to the sea wall at SFO.

A year ago a fully functioning 777 made some interesting maneuvers and disappeared in the South Indian Ocean with 239 people on board.

Aircraft are an interesting set of examples because they’re so well studied and corrected. We don’t spend time correcting hospital mistakes with nearly the speed and detail we do aircraft accidents, for example.

It used to be that airliners broke up in the sky because of small cracks in the window frames. So we fixed that. It used to be that aircraft crashed because of outward opening doors. So we fixed that. Aircraft used to fall out of the sky from urine corrosion, so we fixed that with encapsulated plastic lavatories. The list goes on and on. And we fixed them all.

So what are we left with?

As we find more rules to fix more things we are encountering tail events. We fixed all the main reasons aircraft crash a long time ago. Sometimes a long, long time ago. So, we are left with the less and less probable events.

We invented the checklist. That alone probably fixed 80% of fatalities in aircraft. We’ve been hammering away at the remaining 20% for 50 years or so by creating more and more rules.

We’ve reached the end of the useful life of that strategy and have hit severely diminishing returns. As illustration, we created rules to make sure people can’t get in to cockpits to kill the pilots and fly the plane in to buildings. That looked like a good rule. But, it’s created the downside that pilots can now lock out their colleagues and fly it in to a mountain instead.

It used to be that rules really helped. Checklists on average were extremely helpful and have saved possibly millions of lives. But with aircraft we’ve reached the point where rules may backfire, like locking cockpit doors. We don’t know how many people have been saved without locking doors since we can’t go back in time and run the experiment again. But we do know we’ve lost 150 people with them.

And so we add more rules, like requiring two people in the cockpit from now on. Who knows what the mental capacity is of the flight attendant that’s now allowed in there with one pilot, or what their motives are. At some point, if we wait long enough, a flight attendant is going to take over an airplane having only to incapacitate one, not two, pilots. And so we’ll add more rules about the type of flight attendant allowed in the cockpit and on and on.
There's more, and it's interesting, but not about aircraft.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 17:14
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I suspect a list of possible transportation "driver" murder/suicides, as opposed to just pilot murder/suicides, would be quite long ....

Ottawa bus-train crash kills 6 in commuting horror - Ottawa - CBC News

Thirty-five years after Britain's worst Tube crash one victim's son asks: Did a suicidal driver kill 42 innocent passengers? | Daily Mail Online
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 17:30
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@ChissayLuke, Chissay en Touraine, France.

"To me, all that is relevant here, is the safety of the travelling public"

This is all very nice. However do you apply the same standard to other aspects of your life? I presume that you do not travel on the roads since on the roads of France 3250 people died in latest year for which figures are available. About 150 people have died in this latest crash which gets headlines all round the world but that is just over 2 weeks of French road deaths about which essentially no one cares[0].

It seems almost certain that tens of thousands of people die in France from medical errors every year, and in every other modern large country. Unlike the aviation industry there is no formal investigation of most fatal events in medicine[1].

In terms of total preventable deaths in France this is a minor event (not for those directly involved of course) from which lessons will be learned and if necessary changes made by the aviation industry. Many European airlines have already changed their practises.

Please get your comments (and your thinking) into a reasonable perspective.

[0] France is successfully reducing road deaths rapidly after a multi-year campaign but the present figure is still a higher rate than for example the UK. "The rate of fatalities has been falling gradually since 1972, a black year on France's roads when 18,000 people were killed."

[1] Here is an example from year the 2000 of how poorly the medical industry monitors the performance of medical personnel.

(I now notice that I have chosen perhaps an unfortunate example under the circumstances, however it is well known, documented publicly and makes my point regarding the monitoring of outcomes. Please do not read into it any further comparison with the recent events in France. No further comparison is intended by me. If I was being paid to write this I would probably look for another example.)

"The Shipman Inquiry concluded Shipman was probably responsible for about 250 deaths."[2]

A General Practitioner killed people over decades and no one in the profession noticed because no meaningful monitoring was done.

[2] Harold Shipman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by jimjim1; 1st Apr 2015 at 17:34. Reason: remove "hundreds" / add "tens"
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 17:35
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Mark in CA, that is indeed an interesting article.

As an upshot to what he discusses, may I suggest the following:

Rules and protocol and checklists are very effective against predictable things, (chemical reactions, metal fatigue, pressure differentials) but they are ineffective against unpredictable things (humans) ?
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 18:09
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Regarding the SD card.
It seems the only folk allowed into the area are French police & Fire Service personnel, do you really think any of those would release the card to the press?

Just as with a lot of other "evidence" that has apparently been passed to the media I call fake!

Strange really that the media is often seen as poorly reporting aviation matters and ignorant of the reality of aviation


An incident like this occurs and everything they say is seen as totally accurate and above board by some.

Interestingly the French police have made a statement

The French Gendarmerie is unaware of any video (memory card) recovered from the crash site as claimed by some French and German media.
Somehow I believe them!
From The Aviation Herald report update of today
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 18:37
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Chain of custody, electronic media, and unholy press leaks

The insight and information provided within the past few pages by papershuffler on chain of custody and proper handling (and thank you for providing them, pprshfflr) have provoked a question or two. Most all reasonable observers - and also all officials involved, we wish - seek to avoid the knee-jerk reaction. This is not a problem, though, where reform or addition to ICAO's regulatory system is concerned - ICAO's knee moves very, very gracefully, never jerkily.

Is it time to specify, in some form, whether a SARP or a lower-hierarchy official pronouncement, the scope of agreement which should be in place, and be publicly and officially known and disseminated, between the AAIB on the one hand, and the law enforcement community on the other? While France may have a somewhat different point of departure for this collaboration - between AAIB and the law enforcement officialdom - nonetheless, coordination still needs to happen, and does happen....but is there an advantage to be gained by placing the subject under the "uniformity" rubric by which ICAO operates and moves forward? Spell out how they should work together, in every member State. Plus:

Then, add in the need to assure proper handling of electronic media containing perhaps crucial evidence - and in the case of pax, clearly containing data files of utmost intrinsic value to families of accident victims - and does the question become one of need, of necessity to move toward uniformity? The pace of change in society at large brought about by electronic and social media is, if anything, increasing; the need to address this type of evidence, in the context of joint-authority enquiries, thus also is becoming more urgent (at least, more acute).

And then, add in the need to assure that the slime-balls who would purvey faked footage - if that is what has happened - have less room to move within the context of a coordinated AAIB-law enforcement action plan. The higher-profile the disaster, the more ambulance chasers will lie, cheat or steal their way to an upper hand in the lawsuit lottery games.
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 19:22
  #2859 (permalink)  

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jimjim1 points out that "The Shipman Inquiry concluded Shipman was probably responsible for about 250 deaths." and further that "A General Practitioner killed people over decades and no one in the profession noticed because no meaningful monitoring was done."

Now I'm an old PPRuNer and I've been following this D-AIPX thread with some interest (as regular SLF).

There are interesting parallels between Shipman and 9/11 (both Black Swan events).

After Shipman British medicine was never the same again and after 9/11 air travel was never the same again.

British doctors are now the subject of such close & ongoing scrutiny and automatic suspicion (every doctor is a potential Shipman) that the profession has become quite unattractive. Add the proliferation of (usually baseless) lawsuits and complaints to the GMC and no sensible man or woman would take up medicine. My brother, after a spotless medical career and with many years to go has just retired early because he can't take the atmosphere and the crap any longer. The GMC now openly states that it's main job is to protect patients rather than regulate, licence and represent doctors.

We have moved from the era of ethics-driven medicine to the era of legally-driven medicine and from the era of ethics-driven ethics to the era of legal-driven ethics. The so-called safeguards are now making medicine less, rather than more safe. It is said that in the USA medical "mistakes" are the third leading cause of death - leaving aside the fact that many of these are not mistakes in the commonly understood meaning and that most of these take place in very old and ill patients - many of these are the result of legally-driven medicine with it's lack of holism and compassion.

9/11, and now D-AIPX will, I fear, drive air-travel in the same direction. Every pilot will now be regarded as a potential Lubitz and so ceaselessly scrutinised that even the slightest deviation from SOPS will be grounds for suspension and an enquiry, let alone a divorce, an affair or a bereavement.

One of my friend's daughter has just gained her full PPL and is now entering flight school for her ATPL.

Obviously she does not know what she is letting herself in for (and I'm so glad my son chose pure science over medicine).
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Old 1st Apr 2015, 19:38
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On 30th March 2015 the Eurpoean Commission published a fact sheet on security measures in civil airliners. Included in this fact sheet is the following.

What are the current rules on the minimum crew members required in the cockpit?

On 27 March 2015, EASA (the European Air Safety Agency) has issued a recommendation for airlines to observe the “four-eye-rule” in the cockpit; stipulating that in the case of the Captain or First Officer leaving the cockpit, a member of the crew should be present in the cockpit with the remaining pilot.

European safety regulations require that pilots shall remain at the aircraft controls unless absence is necessary for physiological or operational safety needs.

There is no European requirement that a member of the cabin crew must enter the cockpit in the event a pilot needs to take a short break for such needs. There is however a requirement that the cockpit door can be opened from the outside in case of emergency.

The question is therefore as to why the cockpit door could not be opened from the outside in this instance.
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