Questions are being asked as to how co-pilot Andreas Lubitz could have been prevented from crashing a Germanwings Airbus into the Alps in March.
A preliminary report claims he repeatedly set the same plane for an unauthorised decent earlier that day.
Shouldn’t such a manoeuvre have been detected and rung alarm bells? A spokesperson for a German pilots’ association thinks not:
“I don’t think that the passengers would have noticed that, because the input on the altitude setting was very short, so the aircraft did not have any time to react to the input, so I guess nobody noticed,” said Markus Wahl from “cockpit”.
Following the March 24 crash German investigators discovered that Lubitz had been signed off sick from work that day, and a home computer showed he had researched suicide methods.
The airline has been criticised for not picking up Lubitz’s mental state. Former Corsair pilot Jean Serrat doesn’t think it’s possible to assess
pilots adequately under the current system:
“When we go to see the medical twice a year above a certain age, the doctor who is going to see you, he is going to discuss with you for five or ten minutes. How can he see in five or ten minutes that you have deep problems? It’s just impossible.”
All 150 people died when Lubitz is thought to have locked his pilot out of the cockpit while he flew the plane into a mountain.
A final report is due next year that may include recommendations on cockpit doors and the handling of pilots’ medical records by the airline industry.