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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 8th Apr 2015, 03:21
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za9ra22

Thoughtful post. Just one comment I'd like to make:

that raises the question of how competent cabin crew members may be to identify and resolve such difficult circumstances... I find them remarkably capable of handling problematic and stressful situations and difficult people with speed and efficiency.
That's because they have designated authority over pax. Their primary function, in theory at least, is to ensure safety. The captain has overall command of the aircraft and all aspects of its flight. In the command hierarchy, cabin crew are far less likely to question a pilot's actions than those of an errant passenger.


Pace

I just wonder whether the Captain and Lubitz had spent nights out and days together as well as flying together many times
Unlikely, perhaps, given that Lubitz only had 600 total flying hours?
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 09:46
  #3142 (permalink)  
 
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Edited to Add: I'm sure somebody asked..

Maybe the pilot did crash the plane intentionally, maybe he didn't. I don't know. I just get the feeling that there was too much of a rush to pin blame somewhere and now that the snowball has started rolling nobody is trying very hard to slow it down or stop it completely.
My thoughts on this (and they're not original):

The first raw "hearing" of the CVR, plus the info from ATC, may well have been extremely damning and I suspect no matter how often you listened to it, analysed it, the conclusion was always going to be the same- in most accidents there will be "grey areas" or unknowns that need investigating before any conclusion could be drawn, but not here. Nevertheless I suspect in time honoured fashion the authorities may well have wanted to sit on the initial conclusions for a while, awaiting further analysis/data (e.g. the FDR) but somebody very rapidly leaked what was heard on the CVR, at least in part, to the media (and hands up, yes, I was very sceptical of the NY Times but it seems they were right, at least in part). At that point the authorities realised the game was up and that releasing a standard statement along the lines of "no comment, we are months off reaching an absolutely definite conclusion, our report will be published next year" wasn't going to cut it.

It's kind of difficult to see how the authorities could have handled this particular accident any differently, but it doesn't bode well (IMHO) for people's expectations in the wake of any future accidents.

Last edited by wiggy; 8th Apr 2015 at 11:12.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 11:27
  #3143 (permalink)  
 
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The other thing to consider is two forces arriving at that conclusion. normally the AAIB (Air Accident) not air murder handle aircraft accidents usually pilot error or system malfunction incorrectly handled causing pilot error. Rarely is an accident due to an aircraft becoming unflyable.

In this case many of us refused to acknowledge the unthinkable that another pilot in our profession would purposely commit mass murder on people in his care and i still find it hard to take that fact in. He must have had a very very warped and sick mind which the vast majority of mentally ill people would never contemplate.

So there were enough arrows pointing to a suspected mass murder and the criminal authorities became involved.

Their findings lead to their own conclusion that the extreme likelihood was that Lubitz crashed the aircraft in a pre meditated and planned fashion with total disregard for the people in his care.

the AAIB research was jointly with the criminal investigators reinforcing what they had discovered.

This is the last thing that any professional pilot would want as we already have to jump through too many hoops especially with EASA and really don't need more hoops. Ok there are lessons to be learnt and certain practical changes which can be made to minimise a repeat happening again

it is an extremely rare occurrence so over reaction would also be a mistake but that is what we fear regulations with no practical sense for public consumption only and authorities and airlines wanting to be seen to be doing something to placate the minds of an unknowing public at our cost/ I hope that helps explain ?

Last edited by Pace; 8th Apr 2015 at 12:29.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 13:02
  #3144 (permalink)  
BRE
 
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Die Welt on non-LH-group airlines in Germany

I don't think this article has been posted before at PPRuNe, at least according to a Google search:
Germanwings-Absturz: Piloten stehen unter großem Stress - DIE WELT

The gist:
- interviewed an anonymous CPT with a German charter airline
- selection standards at his airline not nearly as strict as within LH group
- has had to talk down many a FO, even in good weather
- some of them make so little money they have to live in out in the sticks and report to work dead tired from commuting
- some of them were P2F, having paid 60 k€ to an agency for the opportunity to build time
- one of these recently told him in the cockpit that he was clearly the customer
- captain frankly said that FOs within his airline are accident waiting to happen but nobody wants to talk about it

- interviewed an FO on long haul with LH
- complained about issues with long trips, body clock, only 24 h layover, but acknowledged that life was still good compared to other airlines
- real stress being generated by recurring sim checks and medicals
- knew of colleagues who preferred to go to external doctors rather than LH's medical service
- failing sim check twice usually means end of carreer with LH

- interviewed freelance airline pilot (didn't know those existed), instructor and checker
- pilot marked essentially dead in Europe, positions only in Gulf area or Asia but T&C not attractive
- more stress being put on pilots by airlines
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 14:57
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Tom

Quote:
that raises the question of how competent cabin crew members may be to identify and resolve such difficult circumstances... I find them remarkably capable of handling problematic and stressful situations and difficult people with speed and efficiency.
That's because they have designated authority over pax. Their primary function, in theory at least, is to ensure safety. The captain has overall command of the aircraft and all aspects of its flight. In the command hierarchy, cabin crew are far less likely to question a pilot's actions than those of an errant passenger.
Fair point - there clearly is a hierarchy which would have some impact on how cabin crew are likely to respond, and I'll accept that as a valid issue.

However, in this instance, given a first officer on the flight deck and a captain banging on the door for re-admission, wouldn't that very hierarchy be more likely than not to have resulted in the captain being let back in? In this instance at least, would it not increase the probability of 150 lives being saved?

There are too many variables in both circumstance and individuals/personalities to predict outcomes with any certainty, but introducing a cabin crew member to the flight deck where one or other of the pilots is elsewhere would certainly disrupt destructive intent in some scenarios.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 15:12
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However, in this instance, given a first officer on the flight deck and a captain banging on the door for re-admission, wouldn't that very hierarchy be more likely than not to have resulted in the captain being let back in? In this instance at least, would it not increase the probability of 150 lives being saved?
We don't know, it is as simple as that. If you think back to the JetBlue case it probably was a good decision not to let the captain back into the flight deck. In the Germanwings case it probably would have been a good decision to let him back in.

Die Welt on non-LH-group airlines in Germany
That article is kinda difficult for me. Some stuff is correct, some is quite wrong and some is distorted a lot. It starts with the oversimplification that every airline outside the Lufthansa group is pretty much the same as the one with the green logo in which the interviewed captain apparently works. There is a pretty wide variety of working conditions between very close to lufthansa to extremely bad.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 08:51
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This is an excellent discussion and one which I hadn't considered. In the case of jetBlue, if you put a new FA on the flight deck with with the sane FO then you would increase the odds substantially that she would have let the Captain back in if he was frantically banging on the door. Another aspect of unintended consequences in all this.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 10:04
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Originally Posted by 737er View Post
This is an excellent discussion and one which I hadn't considered. In the case of jetBlue, if you put a new FA on the flight deck with with the sane FO then you would increase the odds substantially that she would have let the Captain back in if he was frantically banging on the door. Another aspect of unintended consequences in all this.
I thought it happened in the US, and the US has a 2 on the FD rule? From what I have read about it, the FO would have had no doubt that locking him out was the right thing to do if he had been able to hear what was happening in the cabin. Can he?
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 10:38
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I guess the point is that that whilst the FO might well have no doubt (in their mind) about not letting the captain back in....what is running through the mind of the (possibly very new and junior) FA with his/her hand on the door handle?

Does he/she obey the FO's instructions not to open the door because the F/O is the "officer on deck" and "has the helm".... or does the FA open the door because regardless of what the "your only the co-pilot" says it's the captain outside and he/she is screaming to be let in?

As has been said before there's more to this than just chucking an FA onto the flight deck and saying "oh look, problem solved, we've introduced a two on the flight deck at all times rule".......

Last edited by wiggy; 9th Apr 2015 at 11:12.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 11:28
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Here's a description of the JetBlue incident from the LA Times:

Osbon [the captain] began speaking incoherently and became increasingly agitated as the flight went on.

After yelling at air traffic controllers, he turned off the radios in the Airbus 320, which had more than 130 people on board, and "sternly admonished the FO for trying to talk on the radio."

"The FO became really worried when Osbon said, 'We need to take a leap of faith,' " investigators said.

Initial reports after the jet made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, said the co-pilot had tricked Osbon into leaving the cockpit by suggesting he use the bathroom. The complaint says Osbon bolted out of the cockpit on his own and headed for the bathroom, alarming crew members. This was about 3 1/2 hours into the five-hour flight.

In the ensuing melee, Osbon reportedly "aggressively grabbed" a flight attendant's hands; banged on the bathroom door and yelled at a woman inside to get out; yelled at passengers; and pounded so hard on the locked cockpit door that the first officer feared Osbon was breaking through the bulletproof barrier.
I don't think anybody on either side of the door was ever in any doubt about which pilot was the sane one.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 11:43
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In the Jetblue case, if it is exactly as described, I'd agree, but the danger is when behaviour is not that clear cut.

What happens if an outwardly calm captain demands access back onto the flight deck after talking a "break" and an outwardly calm F/O tells the flight attendant " don't let him in, he's been acting oddly...."??

Good luck in sorting out a protocol for that one.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 12:25
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Good luck in sorting out a protocol for that one.
Trouble is, you cannot easily have a protocol for over-riding the chain of command.

As in the JetBlue case, and other instances of an FO "intervening" in what, retrospectively, turns out to be a good decision, all seems good. In flying terms verbal intervention is advised first - but ultimately (for Flight Safety) it is vague when the FO can say "I have control" (even though required).

Extending that protocol to require a CC member to override the Capt's command, when in either case (i.e. the CC obeys or overrides) the result may be a hull and all pax loss - or far worse

It is easy to think of / cater for the typical personalities and situations - but we need to address the exceptional.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 12:47
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Originally Posted by NigelOnDraft View Post
Extending that protocol to require a CC member to override the Capt's command, when in either case (i.e. the CC obeys or overrides) the result may be a hull and all pax loss - or far worse

It is easy to think of / cater for the typical personalities and situations - but we need to address the exceptional.
Absolutely true.
However, the way that the exceptional may be addressed is the way starting to be proposed in the NYT. All of a sudden the aircraft responds that it does not trust any of you and all the cockpit controls (including CBs) cease to work. You are now passengers in an 'optionally manned' aircraft.

There are avionics manufacturers and beancounters salivating at that thought.

So it would really be good if a productive way forward could be identified rather than the continual howling down of alternate ideas. The status quo is only there because nobody has yet changed it - not because it is ideal.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 12:55
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it would really be good if a productive way forward could be identified rather than the continual howling down of alternate ideas
Agreed...so come up with a logical, workable, "safe" (define?) credible idea and the "continual howling down" will stop. Until then the critical comments will continue.

There are avionics manufacturers and beancounters salivating at that thought.
Of course they are....but perhaps not for reasons of safety.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 12:56
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I don't see the point, that many still debate about this accident...it's very rare, and may happen in the futur, there is no solution. It is all about human being.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 13:48
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@Greenlights

'I don't see the point, that many still debate about this accident...it's very rare, and may happen in the futur, there is no solution. It is all about human being'.

You say it was an accident. I'd say it was deliberate so not an accident.
It is true you will never find a complete solution; but no harm at all in debating and thinking through.
When something new and terribly shocking (not unique though) happens people are bound to debate.
I think that is healthy.

Last edited by gcal; 9th Apr 2015 at 13:49. Reason: Terrible typing.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 14:26
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Tony Tyler: Germanwings Probe ?Shouldn?t Set A Precedent? | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 16:15
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Originally Posted by Greenlights View Post
I don't see the point, that many still debate about this accident...it's very rare, and may happen in the futur, there is no solution. It is all about human being.
In hazard and risk analysis there are often some hazards that although extremely rare/very very low probability - are totally unacceptable. I believe that this is one of those events. These events must be prevented rather than saying as you imply (or as can be inferred from what you say) millions of people fly every year this was only 149 that's an infinitesimally small risk, therefore, we can just shrug our shoulders and say we still meet the target level of safety. That does not wash with an unacceptable hazard, especially one that may have relatively simple mitigation.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 16:24
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Ian W

I take your point about some risks being unacceptable but in my view it is just not possible mitigate this particular risk.

You say it is relatively easy to mitigate - how so? How would you prevent any pilot on short finals just stuffing the pole forward and so diving into the ground before the other pilot had any chance to react?
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 17:45
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Originally Posted by John Farley View Post
Ian W
I take your point about some risks being unacceptable but in my view it is just not possible mitigate this particular risk.
I think it is impossible to totally mitigate the risk a flight crew member might decide to crash an aircraft. However, there does seem to be a track record of c. 5 'pilots' deciding, when temporarily alone, to crash their aircraft.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to believe that people on their own can come to the conclusion to kill themselves (and act on it) more readily than when in the company of someone else. In a 'always 2 people' environment, to achieve this, the 'pilot' needs to instruct the cabin crew to lock the other pilot out. It seems very unlikely the CC is going to go along with this if 2 minutes earlier they had a friendly wave and chat while the pilot went off to the toilet and then remaining flight deck crew pushes the nose towards the ground while insisting that the other pilot not be let in.

I can see some argument that allowing cabin crew in could allow them to kill the flight deck pilot and then lock out the remaining pilot; However, I think this scenario is vanishingly unlikely as a result of mental health/suicide, etc. However, if you have a terrorist operative in your crew (flight deck or cabin) I am sure you all can think of a number of ways they could bring an aircraft down. This risk doesn't seem to be material increased by a 2 in cockpit rule.
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