Two-Person Cockpit Rule Could Prevent Another Crash Like Germanwings

When Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz crashed a plane carrying 150 people into a French mountain range, he was alone in the cockpit. Now, airlines all over the world are quickly adopting a two-person cockpit rule – a regulation U.S. airlines already practice – to keep it from happening again.

The list of international airlines intending to adopt the new cockpit rule added up Thursday as revelations about Lubitz’s personal issues came to light, Deutsche Welle reported. The two-person cockpit rule will be implemented among numerous international airlines immediately.

So far, two German airlines have jumped on board with the two-person cockpit rule (Germanwings’ parent company is Lufthansa) as has Great Britain, Canada, and Norway, the Washington Times added. For years, airlines in the U.S. have required flight attendants or other crew members to sit in for a pilot or co-pilot if he or she needs to leave the cockpit. They must remain there until that person returns.

A Jetblue crew member told Deutsche Welle, “[F]or me it is usual to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the seat of the pilot or co-pilot and to wait until he returns.”

As airlines rushed to adopt the new cockpit rule, more details emerged about the Germanwings crash. Lubitz had passed all required health and psychological tests and no motivation for the crash has yet been found. Police are now searching is home in Düsseldorf. The Inquisitr has reported that Lubitz had been found unsuitable for flying and suffered from a serious episode of depression. A Federal Aviation Administration report highlights how difficult it is to monitor such issues among pilots.

“Aircraft-assisted suicides are tragic, intentional events that are hard to predict and difficult to prevent. Factors involved in aircraft-assisted suicides may be depression, social relationships and financial difficulties, just to name a few problems.”

Disturbing new details about the crash have also emerged. After Lubitz locked himself in the cockpit and began his descent, the chief pilot, Patrick Sonderheimer, used an emergency axe in a desperate attempt to open the cockpit door, a German tabloid reported. Lubitz could be heard breathing inside the cockpit while passengers are screaming outside.

“I don’t think the passengers realized what was happening until the last moments, because on the recording we can only hear cries in the final seconds,” French public prosecutor Brice Robin told the Times.

[Photo Courtesy Getty Images]