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Pihero
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Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:06 pm

The main thread about Flight 9525 is now lost into a discussion on psychiatry.
Another thread is devoted to cockpit door procedures...
A third one is about pilotless airliners as the panacea for air safety...
...and most of the posts miss some very important points, the main one being the public mood about how safe flying is nowadays...

Aviation has changed.
It began right after 9/11 and the – tooquick – implementation of some drastic security measures. Some voices objected that we were in many ways acting against air safety for some measure of security were drowned in the clamour for armored cockpit doors, shotgun riding security officers and gun-toting pilots.
Extrremes were reached : I was among those who refused to fly when axes and jimmy bars were removed from our aircraft… fortunately it didn’t last very long.

Then the armored doors became the norm and in several occasions they proved themselves to be both terrorist and captain-proof.
They killed the aviation as some of us loved it : to be locked in a 10 square meter cage, away from the life of aircrews and passengers for hours on end had never been my idea of airline flying.

Gone was the link between the pilots and their charges and passengers lost their personal features, becoming faceless entities sitting “in the back”, without any personality traits we pilots could relate to…
I can’t help but wonder whether that aspect was a factor in Andreas Lubitz’s brain : his passengers were just a collection of impersonal beings to whom he could not feel any sympathy or empathy : He didn’t really kill them : he just took a plane down with him to a violent end…

But for us, the living, he committed the ultimate crime : He broke the contract and the trust that has since the beginning of air transport existed between aircrews and passengers : “Our mission is to bring you safely to destination… and that mission is sacred”.

Now, ,pilots are part of the dangers that the flying public is facing :We could fail as humans, screw up or make mistakes… but we were no killers.

Andreas Lubitz proved we could be.

How to recover public trust and confidence will be a long process, a long uphill struggle in which we won’t hide anything, avoid any possibility no matter how unpopular the measures will be.
There are a few fields that need to be thoroughly explored :

1/- Screening and psychological ailments recognition :

There are a few ways of improving the usual set ups : For instance – and I’d welcome a further discussion – do away with the medical renewal as it is implemented now in most countries : one jack of all trades physician… The solution lies inside an airline-independent medical center regrouping all fields of aeronautical medicine : GPs, cardiologists, ENT specialists, ophthalmologists and psychologists. Those centers will be supervised by an ultimate medical authority – a council – who can arbiter cases where a flying licence is at risk. The main advantage of these centers is that they will have an enormous amount of data and medical archives that can follow all the career of any given airman.
That is probably the way to the future.

2/- Flight Safety vs security :

The armored cockpit door has been proven in some instances to fall short of a desired safety level.
To me, a device which prevents a captain from entering his flight deck is the ultimate obscenity.
One solution – and I again welcome a serious discussion on the subject – could be a “captain’s override code” or a biometric locking device.

3/- The pilotless airliner :

That’s a discussion that comes around every year and has never been proven anything but an engineer’s wet dream.
I think that we are coming very close to what automation could achieve in a cockpit : automated TCAS or EGPWS resolution are now available ( Merci Airbus ! ).
Would they have prevented Flight 9525 from crashing ? I don’t think so.

As a conclusion, we professionals have been shocked by this crash and my thoughts go to the families of the victims and the solidarity and empathy expressed to them by the people of the Southern Alps : their kindness, care and generosity make me feel proud to be human.
All my sympathy goes to the personnel of LuftHansa and German Wings. They deserve our support. They have mine, unreservedly.
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seabosdca
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:18 pm

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
Now, ,pilots are part of the dangers that the flying public is facing :We could fail as humans, screw up or make mistakes… but we were no killers.

Andreas Lubitz proved we could be.

Pihero, this is very moving language. But Mr. Lubitz was not the first. On a few occasions, pilots suffering mental illness have breached the trust placed in them by the public. I agree particularly with your suggestion #1, but even with enhanced medical screening I don't think its entirely possible to prevent every act attributable to mental illness.

I also think one of the biggest changes we need is not a change in procedure, but a change in attitude, comparable to the one that took us from the "sky god" era to CRM. Right now people suffering mental illness are stigmatized as "crazy" and being treated for mental illness is a sign that one is weak and can't be trusted. The attitude should be that mental illness is like physical illness: something that can happen to anyone and that simply requires medical treatment. There should be no more judgment for undergoing treatment for mental illness than there is for being in the hospital after breaking your leg.
 
flymia
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:35 pm

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
Andreas Lubitz proved we could be.

While this certainly is the most covered pilot-suicide/murder event it is not the first and not even the deadliest. Obviously with the social media 24/7 news media age we live in today everything feels bigger but lets not forget this has happened before and there is a decent possibility just about a year ago this happened with MH-370.

I honestly do not think this will change air travel in the aspect of less people traveling or people not as trusting of the pilots worrying they are nuts. There are crazy people in every job, from police officer to nurse or doctor or bus driver and pilots. They just are always the minority and usually the safety measures prevent horrible things from happening. Usually, not always

I know we keep talking about all the improvements that need to be made, and there are plenty of them. For example as an attorney I am obligated by Florida law to notify the Florida Bar if I personally believe someone is not competent to practice law be it medical, psychological or ethical reasons. Why should medical professional not be obligated to inform the aviation authority and airlines? It does not need to be personal information, just "this (pilots name) is not fit for flight duty at this time" nothing else. And reinstatement will come after further review from doctors. You also need to make sure the pilot is not harmed if this happens and he is later reinstated.

I also know this, with his history this man would not had been able to get many jobs in the U.S. which require public trust such as a police officer. Why he was allowed in the cockpit with his background to begin with is shocking. Even for a job which does not particularly have lives on the line such as being an Attorney Lubitz would have had a hard time getting through some of the character and fitness processes in Florida.

Those and the two crew in the cockpit changes are all that are really needed. I am sure the engineers can figure out the door issue as well at some point. But honestly, if there was just a second person the cockpit, at least this incident probably would had ended much differently.

[Edited 2015-03-30 14:37:26]
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
AIRWALK
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:19 pm

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
1/- Screening and psychological ailments recognition :

I think this is a very important point and one that most of the focus should be on. The problem of a pilot intentionally causing a crash should be removed, not managed. All this talk of changing the cockpit door and having a crew member enter when one leaves is fine, and perhaps can help but is not where the solution is.

It has been drilled in my head the importance of a good and smooth cockpit environment. It is incredibly important that we have only the utmost trust for the person in the other seat. We can only work to the best of our ability if we can fully trust and rely on our co-pilot. We have to be able to work with each other well in all situations, something that is not possible if we have even the slightest apprehension about the intentions of the other pilot. A pilot shouldn't have to think I need to go to the toilet but I can hold it in or things along those lines. It shouldn't even cross our minds.

That is why it is so important to solve the issue at its base, not sometime down the line. All these extra security measures are unfortunately necessary in the time we live in, but all they do is make it harder for something like this to happen, they don't do anything for the prevention of it in the first place.
I'm sure this thread will take off soon
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:01 pm

Pihero--my friend, you succinctly covered what I have felt since 9/11. There was a brief period after that tragedy when people were so polite, so accommodating--it lasted about a month. Then came the barricaded cockpits and the simple act of passing dinner up to my colleagues became an ordeal straight from hell. Suddenly we were afraid of the very people we were sworn to protect and to serve. The very airplanes that I had known, loved and trusted for 35 years had suddenly become weapons of mass murder, a condition I certainly would never have predicted.

I can only imagine what the flying crews of Germanwings and LH are being subjected to while trying to deal with their own fears and sadness. The loss of trust is going to be difficult to overcome. Even though this is not the first documented instance of inflight murder/suicide it has really struck a nerve. The flying crews are being subjected to humiliating questions, fears, tears and cruel attempts at "humor" for what is most definitely a humorless act. My heart and friendship goes out to them all.

I have always been a supporter of ab initio training--as a former Air Force crew member prior to joining this incredible industry I could see merit in what some airlines felt was a need to "change" the way some pilots flew, made decisions or interacted with crew. Some carriers felt they did not want to "undo" what they perceived as poor procedure when, in fact, it was just different--not wrong, just different. I liked the idea of training young men and women from the ground up to grow into the honored roll of commanding an airliner full of innocent people.

I never expected someone with less than 700 TOTAL flying hours to ever be sitting in the right seat of an A320, one of the best airplanes in the sky. There was a time when you earned "time" as an instructor pilot or military aviator, graduating to a commuter airline flying weed-whackers on short hops, honing your skills and building experience. Today in the US I cannot think of one airline flying high performance equipment that will even talk to you without 1500 minimum hours, a complete background check and gut-churning physical. My friends in the pointy end of the jet have told me stories of their interviews, the dreaded STANINE test, and the shrink with the rocking chair for you to sit in for your "interview." Were you supposed to rock or not rock? Which one was right?

My own feeling is that this is going to turn the industry on its ear at a time when there is a projected shortage of qualified pilots. I just have no idea of where this will all lead.
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intsim
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:05 pm

What does this latest tragedy do to the trust relationship between two pilots? I would also think it speaks volumes to the need for two pilots versus single pilot operations.

And a late for the show comment... RJs seem to have the cockpit door open when a pilot uses the lav but blocked by a FA and their cart. This adaptation could be modified to larger airliners.
 
RickNRoll
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:08 pm

It was only a matter of time. There was the tube driver in London who appeared to have deliberately driven his train into the end of a tunnel, for example. This is a matter that affects more than just the airline industry.

The public still use the train services.

[Edited 2015-03-30 16:35:21]
 
Pihero
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:12 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 1):
But Mr. Lubitz was not the first.

No, he was not. The previous occurrences happened in countries... errr... less visible, to airlines less respected. This is why this is a seminal event.

Quoting flymia (Reply 2):
I honestly do not think this will change air travel in the aspect of less people traveling or people not as trusting of the pilots worrying they are nuts.

But it has, unfortunately. Quite a few cancellations and suddenly an increase of the candidates for the anti-stress programs of some airlines point toward a definite increase in potential passengers' anxiety.

Quoting AIRWALK (Reply 3):
The problem of a pilot intentionally causing a crash should be removed, not managed.

I'd certainly agree with you.
As part of an instructor's training, there are a few hours devoted to psychological disorders :I was told that a first bout of depression leads in 50% of the cases to a second one in the future of the subject... That second event will increase the chances of a third one to 75%... etc...
Unfortunately, a psychological assessment of a pilot candidate only happens during the initial screening : the battery of tests, be they personal or in a group situation will lead to a meeting in which a psychologist, along with instructors will try and define the subject's personality... It's not completely accurate ( what is, about humans ?) but it is useful to cream out potential behavioral anomalies.
I'd like tomorrow to discuss the French medical system and the pilots'environment regarding follow ups and detection of a potential mental illness.

Quoting flymia (Reply 2):
I also know this, with his history this man would not had been able to get many jobs in the U.S. which require public trust such as a police officer.

He certainly, considering his history, couldn't have graduated from the French cadet system... or at least done so past some enormous obstacles.

Quoting AIRWALK (Reply 3):
. We can only work to the best of our ability if we can fully trust and rely on our co-pilot. We have to be able to work with each other well in all situations, something that is not possible if we have even the slightest apprehension about the intentions of the other pilot.

A very good point... How does someone fit in a cockpit or work with others ? The number of pilots refusing to fly with one colleague should be a dead give away and a signal to OPS management to take some measures.

Quoting flymia (Reply 2):
Those and the two crew in the cockpit changes are all that are really needed.

I respectfully disagree... The two persons in the cockpit only displaces the problem, introducing -yet - another variable in the equation : the possibilities are numerous. The captain's override of the locking system is a lot simpler, and more promising.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 4):
My own feeling is that this is going to turn the industry on its ear

I like your feelings, but we can also discuss tomorrow the cadet system that is generalised in Europe.
Now it is quite late for me.

Regards to all.
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DDR
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:13 pm

Phihero - great post!

Because I fly for a U.S. airline, I have to say that I totally agree with the reinforced cockpit door. However, I don't see what there can't be a simple key (as in actual metal key) override that a pilot can insert into a lock.

Although in fairness, after 9/11 the focus wasn't on pilots crashing their own plane. I just don't see any way that we can prepare for every possible scenario. And I refuse to allow myself to view passengers and other crew members as enemies.
 
Pihero
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:17 pm

Quoting DDR (Reply 8):
However, I don't see what there can't be a simple key (as in actual metal key) override that a pilot can insert into a lock.

Strictly forbidden by our respected ( ?????) lawmakers.

Quoting DDR (Reply 8):
And I refuse to allow myself to view passengers and other crew members as enemies.

I'd like to be a member of that club ( after a thorough screening of course ).
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:19 pm

Quoting DDR (Reply 8):
Although in fairness, after 9/11 the focus wasn't on pilots crashing their own plane. I just don't see any way that we can prepare for every possible scenario. And I refuse to allow myself to view passengers and other crew members as enemies.

I cannot agree more with your sentiments. The most fundamental concept of a crew is trust in each other and our machine.
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bleudefrance
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:21 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 2):
While this certainly is the most covered pilot-suicide/murder event it is not the first and not even the deadliest. Obviously with the social media 24/7 news media age we live in today everything feels bigger but lets not forget this has happened before and there is a decent possibility just about a year ago this happened with MH-370.

The biggest reason why this is by far the most covered pilot-suicide/murder event is because it was the first to happen in Western Europe with a Western European airliner.
 
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:24 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 10):

You have nailed it. Trust among crew. Unless you are part of a crew, there really isn't a way to understand this connection that we have to each other. It seems strange to say it like this, but when you are on a trip away from home, the crew becomes your family. I have spent more holidays with my flying "family" than my regular family.
 
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:26 pm

Pihero - As is normal with you, you strike a voice of sanity and reason which flies well above the clamor of most of us.

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
But for us, the living, he committed the ultimate crime : He broke the contract and the trust that has since the beginning of air transport existed between aircrews and passengers : “Our mission is to bring you safely to destination… and that mission is sacred”.

And that mission is still sacred to the vast majority - except for a very, very few - just as it always has been. I had to give up my airline career years ago and understand a bit perhaps how this event has struck those of you who occupy those front two seats for you livelihood. But be assured there are many of us whose trust in the professionals who fly us around the globe has not been diminished at all by the actions of one man.

Let's go fly, without fear, now. If we don't, fear will have won.
Sixty Plus Years of Flying! "I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." - Saint Ex
 
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:38 pm

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
Would they have prevented Flight 9525 from crashing ? I don’t think so.

As a conclusion, we professionals have been shocked by this crash and my thoughts go to the families of the victims and the solidarity and empathy expressed to them by the people of the Southern Alps : their kindness, care and generosity make me feel proud to be human.

There's no such thing as 100% safety, and people know that. While that crash is particularly shocking to many, it doesn't damage public trust in pilots forever. There are still smaller planes flying where people can interact with pilots in a pre 9/11 fashion. On larger aircraft, people can still get on the flight deck before and after the flight, and in some cases while waiting on the ground during an extended delay for a quick tour.

In the post 9/11 era, the vast bulk of preventable incidents have been prevented by fellow passengers, not laws or air marshals. Even though bad things can happen, most passengers still enjoy flying and are willing to contribute in making the experience more safe and enjoyable, as are 99% of air crews. The human element of flying will endure in spite of ever evolving automation and security rules, on the ground and in the air.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:47 pm

Quoting macsog6 (Reply 13):

And that mission is still sacred to the vast majority - except for a very, very few - just as it always has been. I had to give up my airline career years ago and understand a bit perhaps how this event has struck those of you who occupy those front two seats for you livelihood. But be assured there are many of us whose trust in the professionals who fly us around the globe has not been diminished at all by the actions of one man.

Let's go fly, without fear, now. If we don't, fear will have won.

What great sentiment--this is the core of flying for an airline. We do not let the fear win, we trust each other. There are always those few that you have a sense that this is just a paycheck for them--they are, thankfully, the great minority. The rest of us love and respect this industry and those that have come before us and those that will follow.
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Prost
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:11 am

I need to give props to our customers the past four days. In the past, when there were airline crew indiscretions (usually involving alcohol/reporting to work drunk) there were some inappropriate comments that customers made. I just arrived this morning from four days of flying, and the customers were all very courteous, and upon deplaning, when the captain or first officer were bidding the customers farewell, the customers were all very, very nice.

I don't know if this is the one month grace period like DTWPurserBoy was talking about, but I honestly expected some inappropriate comments, and I was pleased it didn't happen. Honestly, I think all of us, passengers, crew, management, unions are strugglilng with how to deal with this issue. It will take a mature dialog for us to come to some agreement, and there might be some bruised egos, but as we have this debate, I truly hope we're all able to keep the big picture in mind--the safe passage of customers.
 
flymia
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:46 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 7):
The captain's override of the locking system is a lot simpler, and more promising.

I agree, but I honestly don't have any idea that would work without putting the cockpit in danger. I am sure engineers much smarter than me regarding these issues will figure it out.

Quoting bleudefrance (Reply 11):
The biggest reason why this is by far the most covered pilot-suicide/murder event is because it was the first to happen in Western Europe with a Western European airliner.

While that is certainly a big reason why, all news events these days seem bigger than ones in the past due to the massive media age we live in. But yes a Western Euro airliners in Western Europe certainly makes it an even bigger story compared to say the E-170 that went down intentionally by a pilot in Africa.

Egypt Air 990 did crash off the shores of New York with 100 Americans. But that was in a different era.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
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777Jet
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:57 am

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 1):
Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
Now, ,pilots are part of the dangers that the flying public is facing :We could fail as humans, screw up or make mistakes… but we were no killers.

Andreas Lubitz proved we could be.

Pihero, this is very moving language. But Mr. Lubitz was not the first.

  

Add Herminio dos Santos Fernandes, Auburn Calloway (luckily he failed) and most likely Gameel Al-Batouti and Tsu Way Ming to that list among others...

But to address Pihero's point on "how to recover public trust and confidence". My confidence and trust in pilots has not changed as a result of GW given that this was not the first pilot suicide event. The risk has always been there and always will be there and as long as people need to fly there will be very little they can do about it. Either accept the very, very slim risk and fly or don't fly and find another / much more time consuming way to get from A to B - I think most people will continue to accept the very, very slim risk and still fly. I doubt this will have any long term affect on the industry at all given that pilot suicide is nothing new - most people will soon forget about this anyway as other stories makes the news - that's what humans do...

[Edited 2015-03-30 19:09:51]
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:59 am

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
Now, ,pilots are part of the dangers that the flying public is facing :We could fail as humans, screw up or make mistakes… but we were no killers.

Andreas Lubitz proved we could be.

No, that Egyptair 763 that wound up in the Atlantic proved it, too. This just proved that it could happen at an airline run by white people. It was much easier when people could point at Egypt and say that they have brown skin and a different religion and they don't acknowledge psychiatric disease. Egyptair didn't help to dispel the stereotype, either, when they adamantly refused to accept suicide as the cause.

And indeed it turns out it isn't a brown people problem. On this very board, people were arguing that it might not be suicide right up until the point where it was pretty much proven by three lines of evidence. Certainly LH took their time acknowledging it.

I will continue to fly. If it happens to me, then it happens to me and there is nothing I can do about it.
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Aesma
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:36 am

Except Egyptian authorities don't agree it was the cause. Same for other occurrences.

And here we know pretty much everything only days after the crash, that's quite new.

Good post Pihero, I would just say that a captain can also be the one in the cockpit locking others out, so a "captain code" is not the solution.
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sjudfwmco
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:15 am

New poster here, long time lurker.

The problem with many security measures, especially the addition of the reinforced cockpit door, is that sooner or later, it was going to be exploited. No matter what is done, be it the aviation industry or any other industry, someone will find a way to work around it.

One of the problems that i have seen, and i do not want to anger any professionals in the industry, is that when there's an issue with a pilot or co-pilot or anyone who deals with and has the lives of many people in their hands at any given moment, is that it is a "self reporting" system. In the case of Andreas Lubitz, and everything that has come out in the past few days regarding him, is that due to this self reporting way of doing things, nobody knew his mental state until things happened, and unfortunately, 149 people were lost (i refuse to include him, for obvious reasons).

Also, a lot of medical privacy laws, like HIPAA in this country, almost provide a layer of protection to those who can cause harm to others. Now, i get these medical privacy laws and all, but when you are dealing with hundreds of people and their lives are in said person's hands, there has to be a way for these things to be known. It shouldn't be a case of a doctor's hands being tied up and not being able to provide this sort of information to an employer, especially one where lives could be at risk.

I know for a fact that the guys in the cockpit are more than capable and are mentally in the right frame of mind to do their job, so i don't want anyone to think i am disrespecting those in the industry that take us from point a to point b safely, but i believe, that to weed out those who can inflict harm, there needs to be a more comprehensive way to diagnose these things before they could lead to more disasters.

Security features can work, but making sure those who are in charge of taking us from point a to point b are in the right frame of mind and healthy should also be of importance. Again, not trying to offend anyone here, just stating an opinion
 
FlyingAY
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:22 am

Maybe this is just me working in a multi-cultural company travelling all around the world and interacting with different cultures, but I just cannot understand why we Western Europeans should have been thinking before this tragical event that it's something that a Western European could not do.

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
We could fail as humans, screw up or make mistakes… but we were no killers.

Andreas Lubitz proved we could be.
Quoting seabosdca (Reply 1):
But Mr. Lubitz was not the first.
Quoting Pihero (Reply 7):
The previous occurrences happened in countries... errr... less visible, to airlines less respected. This is why this is a seminal event.

While I agree with most of the things Pihero writes in his opening post, I cannot agree to the "Western, white, more respected, supreme people" type of thinking that somehow shines through here. These are also very subjective things: less visible, less respected where and by whom? I wonder if the Japanese would be respecting Japan Air Lines less than Lufthansa for example.

My intention is not to attack anyone with this post and I understand that after the tragic event happening so close to home or even at home people feel shaken and emotional. Seeing the amount of mental problems in our countries I just think that it was naive to think that something like this could not happen in the Western countries.
 
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:38 am

It takes deaths for anything to change. Reinforced cockpit doors should have happened after Pacific 773 in 1964 or PSA 1771 in 1987. In both cases a passenger with a gun entered the cockpit, shot the pilots, and crashed the plane.
 
billreid
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:42 am

pihero,

I agree with your sentiments but feel absolutely helpless.

As a million miler I consider many things when flying.
My mind drifts and contemplates what possibly could go wrong during flight. Shooting through air at 130,000 cm per second is far from natural but is an invention of mankind through use of physics and technology. But what we have found is the dangers that exist can be amplified by those who are involved.
Lubitz has proven "what man giveth, man can taketh away."

While sitting on board these marvels of engineering we have the time to consider what possibly could occur.
There is a sigh of relief when we land, we have survived once again.

A one-way locked door is an asinine concept. If a terrorist is on board and wants to take over would the crew keep the door locked while passengers are being executed in the cabin. If the terrorist choses to blow up the plane what use did the locked door have?
Why not go to a military concept of Officers having sidearms and doors being unlockable from both sides.
I prefer the odds in a OK Corral onboard shootout versus just sit behind the door scenario.

If the senior pilot could have opened the door the pax might have had a fighting chance.
That is why military transports are far safer in the cockpit. They have sidearms and are tasked with flying the cargo and the souls on board safely. Commercial pilots are no longer tasked with caring what is happening in the back, there is a wall. We are expendable cargo.

Why not just put a eject button on board and allow the crew to eject, or even better they can jettison the cargo including you and me that way they saved the plane and any potential target.

Perhaps militarizing cockpits is the answer, train pilots to fly, but also train them to protect the cargo as well. We have air marshals on board. But what use would that have been with the pilot locked out? Why not make the pilots the air marshals and make the doors two way devices. I would feel a lot safer!
Some people don't get it. Business is about making MONEY!
 
FlyDeltaJetsATL
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:45 am

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 23):
Reinforced cockpit doors should have happened after Pacific 773 in 1964 or PSA 1771 in 1987. In both cases a passenger with a gun entered the cockpit, shot the pilots, and crashed the plane.

And in the case of PSA the gunman was a disgruntled former employee of USAir which was the parent company of PSA.
FLY DELTA JETS
 
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InsideMan
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:18 am

Dear Pihero, great post, nonetheless I disagree with you on two counts.

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
Gone was the link between the pilots and their charges and passengers lost their personal features, becoming faceless entities sitting “in the back”, without any personality traits we pilots could relate to…

Some pilots may feel that way and I appreciate everyone of them, however most pilots I know couldn't care less about the cattle they fly around and take strides to avoid any contact whatsoever.... And I don't blame them, especially charter pilots for tourist airlines et al.

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
The armored cockpit door has been proven in some instances to fall short of a desired safety level.
To me, a device which prevents a captain from entering his flight deck is the ultimate obscenity.
One solution – and I again welcome a serious discussion on the subject – could be a “captain’s override code” or a biometric locking device.

There is no way a device / code / key will be introduced which will make the armored door useless. Once a terrorist can force the crew to give up the key / code / device etc. the whole armored part in armored door is moot.

and this is why:

Quoting billreid (Reply 24):
A one-way locked door is an asinine concept. If a terrorist is on board and wants to take over would the crew keep the door locked while passengers are being executed in the cabin. If the terrorist choses to blow up the plane what use did the locked door have?

Yes, because it would prevent the aircraft from flying into the twin towers or Eiffel tower or Brandenburg gate or you name it..... Let him blow up a plane with 150 pax, better than 3000 dead in NY on 9/11.
 
B8887
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:32 am

I will say this.

Like everyone, I was deeply shocked by this tragedy. It will not stop me from flying in any way, shape or form, though.

I was booked to fly on September 12th, 2001, on an intra-european flight. I reported to the airport as usual. To do otherwise would have been a victory to the terrorists.

I think the immediate consequence of this tragedy at a practical level will be the generalisation of the two person rule in the cockpit, which I think is a good thing. A PIN code to override the lock known to one crew member is also a good iniative, I think.

Regards.

B8887
 
aviatorcraig
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:34 am

Great post Pihero, I agree with your sentiment. However, I think the change you speak of happened long ago when the bad guys figured out that these icons of technology and capitalism that we cross continents in are vunerable.

Quoting Pihero (Thread starter):
The armored cockpit door has been proven in some instances to fall short of a desired safety level.
To me, a device which prevents a captain from entering his flight deck is the ultimate obscenity.
One solution – and I again welcome a serious discussion on the subject – could be a “captain’s override code” or a biometric locking device.

Aviation safety has always been event driven (how can we stop this happening again...), and we would probably see a “captain’s override code” etc. as a post 9/11 type knee jerk reaction to 4U9525 if it were not for a previous event:

The very mechanism that Lubitz used to ensure he could destroy the aircraft was used in March 2012 to good effect on JetBlue 191 when it's captain had "lost the plot" - the FO was able to lock the captain out of the cockpit and complete the flight safely.

Unfortunately there are no easy answers to this.
707 727 Caravelle Comet Concorde Dash-7 DC-9 DC-10 One-Eleven Trident Tristar Tu-134 VC-10 Viscount plus boring stuff!
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:12 am

IMO the regulators should rethink the "lock" on the cockpit door. It was a knee jerk reaction after 9/11. The idea of possible using airliners against buildings, government institutions and let us not forget nuclear power stations shocked.
The locked door IMO is mainly to prevent to use an airliner as an weapon, if you get armed persons aboard an airplane perhaps even a bomb, a locked door will not hinder that the airplane could be crashed, producing a fire could do enough damage to do that.

But looking at 9/11 the locked door should have only been the last line of defense. The kidnappers of 9/11 should never have made it aboard those airplanes. Passenger screening for weapons for domestic flights in the USA was inadequate, even if there had already been a considerable number of hijackings of airplanes in the past. And strangely there are still different standards regarding safety between domestic and international flying.
As the next point, the accepted reaction to a hijacking up to 9/11 was to not attack the hijackers by crew and passengers but let the hijacking proceed in the name of saving lives.

So if somebody would want to repeat 9/11 it is questionable if it would be possible today to get a group of armed person all aboard the same airplane. Passengers and crew would fight the hijackers today as the do nothing method is out of the window.

The locked cockpit door has not only excluded the Captain of the crashed Germanwings airliner from his cockpit, but there also have been a malfunctioning door, (has there been more than one?). Just thing what that could do if the airliner had been in additional trouble.
 
s5daw
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:31 am

Oh common. It happened. Airplanes continue to fly, we'll have 2 people in cockpit at all times and that's about it.

I'm taking my whole family on A320 flights with Austrian (subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group) soon, so there...
 
ltbewr
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:53 am

Changes in procedures, like always 2 persons in the cockpit at all flying times is likely to improve for now confidence with passengers. Most realize that what happened on this flight was so beyond normal is it unlikely to occur in their lives.
The bigger issue, as I discussed in part in the main thread on this disaster, is that many who would make good pilots are not doing so due to other career opportunities that are less onerous in their training requirements and costs with better return on investment at the start of their careers. There is also the conflict with internal pilot training programs like LH's that if they invest a certain level in a candidate, they may be reluctant or under pressure to continue with candidates with serious issues that should have meant they were dismissed. That may be an area for such programs to look at to regain confidence with the public.
 
rwessel
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:26 am

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 29):
Passenger screening for weapons for domestic flights in the USA was inadequate,

No. Box cutters are terrible weapons, and the fact that box cutters were used is basically irrelevant. Any number of other ordinary and allowed things could have been, and could still be, used as equivalently (in)effective weapons. Banning box cutters is definitely one of the pointless knee jerk reactions after 9/11.

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 29):
As the next point, the accepted reaction to a hijacking up to 9/11 was to not attack the hijackers by crew and passengers but let the hijacking proceed in the name of saving lives.

That was it. The only thing that mattered. The 9/11 perpetrators gamed a system set up to respond to a hijacking in a certain way. The locked cockpit door is the guarantee of that not happening again - if you can't get to the flight crew, you can't threaten them. And it's not like any flight crew isn't going to fly to Havana (historical example only) or where ever you want to go if you threaten an F/A. Your hijacking just isn't going to take place in the cockpit where you could take control of the plane.

Overly simplistic emergency schemes to the contrary, there's no way the flight deck will ever be accessible to a potential hijacker again.
 
ual777
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:36 am

Quoting Prost (Reply 16):

I need to give props to our customers the past four days. In the past, when there were airline crew indiscretions (usually involving alcohol/reporting to work drunk) there were some inappropriate comments that customers made. I just arrived this morning from four days of flying, and the customers were all very courteous, and upon deplaning, when the captain or first officer were bidding the customers farewell, the customers were all very, very nice.

I don't know if this is the one month grace period like DTWPurserBoy was talking about, but I honestly expected some inappropriate comments, and I was pleased it didn't happen. Honestly, I think all of us, passengers, crew, management, unions are strugglilng with how to deal with this issue. It will take a mature dialog for us to come to some agreement, and there might be some bruised egos, but as we have this debate, I truly hope we're all able to keep the big picture in mind--the safe passage of customers.

Must be nice. Day one of my trip I had a passenger say "thanks for not having mental problems and flying us safely."
It is always darkest before the sun comes up.
 
Pihero
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:14 pm

Quoting billreid (Reply 24):
A one-way locked door is an asinine concept.
Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 29):
It was a knee jerk reaction after 9/11

I agree on both points.
I have to apologize for the wording of *a captain override*. It's simplistic but this is how I would envisage the system :
1/- A captain's code or a captain's biometric identification that would allow him/her to render the lock inoperative. That code should be updated for each flight.... and
2/- An association of codes from two crew members, one being the senior copilot, the second any flight attendant chosen at random. The combination dialing of the two separate codes will also render the locking device inoperative.
Thius codes will also be changed at the beginning of every flight.

I am glad most of you express your confidence in the airline system.
Yes, let's not agree that terrorism / criminal behaviour have won and we'd live in fear.
Enough damage has been done to our liberties in the name of *security*...

Now for the screening.
First, this is how medical screening and follow-up is done in France and let's see if we could improve on the system.
1/- The only agreed medical is done by one of the five official CEMPN s - Centre d'Expertise Médicale du Personnel Navigant or Center of Medical Examination of Flying Personnel .
A pilot will be examined by specialists, each in his/her own field of aeronautical medicine : a GP, an ENT, a cardiologist, an ophtalmologist, a neurologist - at the entry exam and every other year - a psychiatrist - again at the entry exam and upon reference of the GP... It includes of course the usual lab tests - in which drugs and pharmacopeia are tested at random.
2/- Any anomaly will then be referred to the CMAC - Medical Council for Civil Aviation - a body of 19 recognized specialists at the top of aeronautical medicine. It is the ultimate authority for the decisions on waivers, be they temporary or definitive. Any pilot has the right to appeal to the CMAC on any decision the CEMPN has made on his ability to fly / keep his licence.
3/- A *labour* physician, as per the French labour laws. A visit is mandatory every year.
As that physician knows that we've been thoroughly followed, the visit is generally just an interview on how one feels, job-wise. He/she would ask questions about the instances one has called sick, how one copes with the job stresses, jet lag and so forth... If the decision is to suspend the work permit, pending an appointment with a specialist, the company will be informed.

There are still some further filters :
4/- The sim checks / the line checks and the bi-annual group courses for aircrews, in which any anomaly : unusual behaviour, failure from a generally history-less pilot... would raise a flag which will be reported to OPS management...which brings us to :
5/- the yearly interview with the fleet management : Each management captain will be in charge of a number of pilots and he/she has the duty of meeting every aircrew once a year. It's friendly and informal : "What are your plans of career ? Are you happy in the fleet ? Why did you not chose to go to long haul although your seniority
would have permitted it ?What would your next rating be, and why ?... Do you know that several pilots have written that they wouldn't fly with you... why would they say so ?..

All the above means that at least in five occasions per year a pilot would undergo a scrutiny of his state of fatigue, be it mental or physical... and it still will be according to the laws, patient/physician confidentiality included.
According to statistics, 1 to 2% of the pilots would see a temporary suspension of their licence, for medical or psychological reasons. A very small minority would never fly again.

Finally, it should be noted that for the airline, a candidate for the cadet scheme, or a new entrant will have to go past the psych tests and interview, a pass or fail stage.
The initial medical has similar screening. Again a pass or fail.

Here, a training interruption for psychological reasons would be the end of a promising career. To my knowledge, The CMAC has never overruled such a decision.
Contrail designer
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:15 pm

Quoting rwessel (Reply 32):
Box cutters are terrible weapons

Yes exactly they are terrible weapons and that people got them aboard not in a single case but in numbers shows exactly how danger was disregarded on domestic operations in the USA.
And still today, for example the stringent international regulations regarding luggage are not fully applied on domestic flights in the USA.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 32):
The locked cockpit door is the guarantee of that not happening again - if you can't get to the flight crew, you can't threaten them.

But you can threaten every body else and kill one by one and if that is not enough you set fire to the airplane. So the main push has to be always to stop the hijackers earlier.

The locked door produces dangerous situations not connected to hijacking.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 32):
Overly simplistic emergency schemes to the contrary, there's no way the flight deck will ever be accessible to a potential hijacker again.

The Germanwings flight was not the first time a captain was locked out of his cockpit and I define that as a dangerous situation by itself.
 
B8887
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:27 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 35):

But you can threaten every body else and kill one by one and if that is not enough you set fire to the airplane

The benefits of an armoured door far outweigh this argument.

Regards.

B8887
 
Pihero
Topic Author
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:11 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 31):
There is also the conflict with internal pilot training programs like LH's that if they invest a certain level in a candidate, they may be reluctant or under pressure to continue with candidates with serious issues that should have meant they were dismissed.

Most European airlines have a cadet pilot scheme.
Some countries also have an ab-initio airline pilot program... which also includes the possibility for commercial pilots to join. But it is a very elitist scheme ( 4000 candidates, 40 admitted to the course ; 2000 in 2011 for 28 places...).

The advantage of the scheme ( in general) is that from the beginning, the cadets are transfused with an airline mindset : discipline, adherence to SOPs, piloting accuracy.
A drawback ( some would say THE main drawback) is that they join the airline with little experience outside their training. Some - a few - have difficulty coming out of the *next test* syndrome.
Their licence will be for a time severely restricted : flying only with TRIs or senior captains, higher weather limits etc...
Experience comes rather quickly : 600 hrs/year is standard and on short haul that's a minimum of 400 hands-on takeoffs and landings, plus the sim sessions... I enjoyed training these youngsters ; they are motivated, keen and well adapted to airline operations.
Contrail designer
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:26 pm

Quoting B8887 (Reply 36):
The benefits of an armoured door far outweigh this argument.

As i did not come with only one argument:

What is with a malfunctioning door locks out the captain leaving the copilot arguable with another crew member alone in the cockpit?
Do we know if a locked door delayed the return of the captain of AF447 to the cockpit from the crew rest area?

Have the dangers of locked doors been calculated into the decision to lock the door?

Has the Germanwings crash not put a crack in the "bad" side, outside the locked cockpit, versus the "good" side, inside the locked cockpit argument?
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:27 pm

What about a personal pin code for each flight deck member for the cockpit door? Maybe that could have prevented this accident from happening.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:41 pm

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 39):
What about a personal pin code for each flight deck member for the cockpit door? Maybe that could have prevented this accident from happening.

The argument against that will always be, if the terrorists know of the pin code they can threaten the crew member to use the pin code.
 
B8887
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:56 pm

mjoelnir.

I think you are over complicating a reasonably simple thing.

Regards.

B8887
 
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InsideMan
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:04 pm

Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 39):
What about a personal pin code for each flight deck member for the cockpit door? Maybe that could have prevented this accident from happening.

so terrorists just need to threaten one FA to get the code to enter the cockpit, not a good idea.....

For now, two persons at all times in the cockpit is the best solution. What to do long term.... I don't know.
 
Armodeen
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:04 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 4):
I never expected someone with less than 700 TOTAL flying hours to ever be sitting in the right seat of an A320,

I enjoy your insights and clearly you have vast knowledge of the industry. I just wanted to point out that there is very little evidence linking pilots with more hours to better flying ability. There is only clear evidence for better training = better decisions & technical ability. This trend is borne out over several other high stress careers (medicine etc) where numerous studies have shown that better educated people make better decisions on average than poorly educated people with more experience.

If you have any studies that show the opposite, please go ahead and share them, I would be very interested in reading them  
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:46 pm

Quoting InsideMan (Reply 42):

Hence why I wrote flight deck member. But it could also be done using fingerprints or iris for example.

[Edited 2015-03-31 07:48:36]
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:59 pm

Quoting B8887 (Reply 41):
I think you are over complicating a reasonably simple thing.

I think you are trying to make a complicated thing simple. Knee jerk reactions go for simple answers to complicated situations.

There was a 737 were the captain was looked out due to a door malfunction. What if that airplane had to land in difficult conditions for example?
We have had one crew member being locked out the by the other crew member with disastrous results.

So IMO locking the cockpit door against any intrusion even by authorized personal has not given only positive results.
 
WPIAeroGuy
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:05 pm

I think 2 people in the cockpit at all times is far more effective than any sort of lock. Lubitz was looking for an opportunity where we wouldn't need to confront anyone. If he was never alone, that opportunity might not have presented itself.

However, for the sake of discussion, what if we controlled the locking requirements instead of the unlocking requirements? The entry codes could be the same as they are now, however it would require two people in the cockpit to override an emergency entry request, either the two pilots or the pilot and FA. The idea being that no lone person can barricade themselves in the cockpit. In the case where the pilot exiting the cockpit and his replacement FA are jumped, hopefully enough of a commotion will ensue that the passengers are involved before two terrorists could take over the cockpit and lock everyone out (assuming they discover the codes).

It's not foolproof, but maybe a different perspective. Thoughts?
-WPIAeroGuy
 
Pihero
Topic Author
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:36 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 45):
Knee jerk reactions go for simple answers to complicated situations.

I agree and I'd add that this is an endless race toward technical solutions to human problems :
armored cockpit doors are supposed to keep flight deck unviolable. Fine.
- Now we have to implement procedures to make sure that the poor guys locked up front are still breathing : an FA has to check with them every 20 minutes or so. What if they don't answer and unlock the door ?

- OK, give the FAs an overriding code.

- That code could be revealed - under threat, I suppose - to a bad guy ?

- Oh ! Easy ! we give the flight deck crew an unoverridable switch .

- Now what if one of the guys up front is the baddie and manages to prevent any one from entering the cockpit after he got rid of his colleague ?

- Still very easy : Keep two live people at all times in the cockpit .

- But suppose the Flight attendant who replaced the pilot gone to the toilet is another baddie ? What if he/she has other accomplices in the cabin ?

- The answer is obvious, old chap : make the airplane pilotable by remote control, remove all possibility for those on-board to take over...

- And suppose the data link, the command frequency is jammed / hacked by a yet another baddie ?

- Now, let's pray together... Especially if the remote pilot is the hijacker...He/she should be protected by an armored door...
... ad libitum...

Air safety deserves better solutions... and to me they are all on the human side.
Better screening of every crew member.
Better training.
Profiling of the passengers : checking agents should be trained for it.
And better security checks.
Contrail designer
 
BHXLOVER
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:12 pm

From MSN.com

A Dutch pilot issued a chilling warning of the risks of being locked out of the cockpit weeks before the Germanwings crash, saying: “I seriously wonder who’s sitting next to me”, it has emerged.

“I hope I never find myself in the situation where I go to the toilet and return to find a cockpit door that won’t open”.

Jan Cocheret, a Boeing 777 pilot with Emirates airlines, wrote these words in a specialist flight magazine less than two months before 27-year old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and plunged an Airbus 320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.

In a column in Piloot en Vliegtuig(Pilot and Plane), the Dutchman warned that the security measures designed to prevent hijackers taking control of an aircraft in place since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 could also be used against a plane’s captain.

Goed verhaal van B777-captain (en mijn zeer gerespecteerde ex-collega bij Air Holland) Jan Cocheret in de @volkskrantpic.twitter.com/Z2X28UjaJB
— Guido den Aantrekker (@GdenAantrekker) March 28, 2015

Mr Cocheret wrote that the current system had made him paranoid.. “I seriously sometimes wonder who’s sitting next to me in the cockpit. How can I be sure that I can trust him? Perhaps something terrible has just happened in his life and he’s unable to overcome it. “

He added: “There indeed does exist a way to get back into the cockpit, but if the person inside disables this option (the security code to get in), one could do nothing but sit with the passengers and wait and see what happens.”

Following the tragic crash, Mr Cocheret wrote a post on his Facebook page saying: “Unfortunately, this terrible scenario has become reality.”

The Dutch pilot's warning emerged as France's air accident authority, BEA, said its investigation into the Germanwings crash would study "systemic weaknesses" that might have led to the disaster, such as psychological profiling and cockpit door locks.
 
Pihero
Topic Author
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RE: Airline Travel In The Aftermath Of Flight 9525

Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:24 pm

Quoting BHXLOVER (Reply 48):
BEA, said its investigation into the Germanwings crash would study "systemic weaknesses" that might have led to the disaster, such as psychological profiling and cockpit door locks.

BEA is investigating a lot more than that, especially in the technical field.
Let's wait for another three weeks for the prelim report.
... and I'm not buying everything the newspapers have written on this accident.
Things are too simple and there is more to the flight history and the copilot's background.

What do you think of the way the BEA has so far dealt with releases and transparency - i_f any - ?
Contrail designer

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