The Germanwings crash has apparently been ruled intentional, after the co-pilot allegedly locked himself in the cockpit and slammed the Airbus a320 into the French Alps. Will this incident lead to changes in the aviation safety industry?
The big question is centered on the co-pilot. Why would 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, a German national, who was not on watch list and had no ties to terrorism, according to investigators, crash the Airbus into the French Alps pulverizing the aircraft? So far it has been discovered that the co-pilot lived with his parents and underwent extensive psychological testing after suffering from depression when he was younger.
It has been reported that Lubitz trained in Arizona, but information is sketchy at this time. Lufthansa CEO, Carsten Spohr, said the co-pilot’s record was “impeccable” after he was hired in 2013 and he had flown 630 hours in the cockpit of the Airbus a320. There was a six-month gap in the co-pilot’s training.
According to information recovered from the Germanwings cockpit voice recorder, before the plane crashed the pilot, who was a 10-year veteran, was locked out of the cockpit for unknown reasons. Perhaps to use the restroom. In Europe, regulations don’t require a second person to be in the cockpit at all times, like in the U.S.
Apparently Lubitz was left alone at the controls and later on would not open the cockpit door for the pilot, who is heard first knocking, then banging on the door to get in. Meanwhile, Lubitz had started the descent at a high range of speed. Cries from terrified passengers are also heard in the recording, investigators say, as the pilot desperately tried to open the door.
According to BBC, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin related some of the information recovered from the black box, the cockpit voice recorder, stating that there was “absolute silence” from the co-pilot as the pilot tried to gain access, before the Germanwings plane crashed.
“We hear the pilot ask the co-pilot to take control of the plane and we hear at the same time the sound of a seat moving backwards and the sound of a door closing.”
“At that moment, the co-pilot is controlling the plane by himself. While he is alone, the co-pilot presses the buttons of the flight monitoring system to put into action the descent of the aeroplane.”
“He operated this button for a reason we don’t know yet, but it appears that the reason was to destroy this plane.”
Experts say the Germanwings crash was partly a result of strict security rules implemented after the hijackings during the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S., which made cockpits impossible to breach. The pilots have the ultimate authority to decide who gets inside the cockpit and can override an existing code to lock someone — such as a terrorists — out.
It is unclear at this time what Lubtiz’s motives in crashing the Germanwings plane, packed with 150 souls on board is and investigators have descended upon his hometown to try to determine the co-pilot’s state of mind. Even though, authorities have pinpointed the reasons why there was no distress call, many questions remain, as family members arrive at the crash site.
The biggest question from aviation experts is whether airline safety rules in the cockpit will be changed following the Germanwings crash. The logical answer would be yes, since we can conclude that, perhaps if the pilot would have been in the cockpit, maybe all those passengers and crew would be alive today.
[Photo by Getty Images]