Tags: germanwings | pilot | practiced | suicide

Germanwings Pilot Practiced Suicide Maneuvers Before Crash

Wednesday, 06 May 2015 06:32 AM

The Germanwings pilot who investigators say crashed his plane into a French mountainside in March set the same aircraft on a collision course with the ground earlier that day in what may have been a dry run for his suicide bid.

Data from the morning flight shows Andreas Lubitz briefly set the Airbus Group NV A320 jet to descend to 100 feet on five occasions when his captain left the cockpit before returning it to cruise mode, France’s air-accident investigator said May 6.

“I can’t know what was in the pilot’s head,” BEA Director Remi Jouty said as he presented a preliminary report on the March 24 crash. “All we can do is say that, several times, he manipulated the button to put in a minimum value.”

The maneuvers on the flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona were repeated hours later on the return journey when Lubitz sent the airliner into a fatal plunge after denying his senior colleague access to the flight deck after a toilet break. The impact shattered the jet into thousands of pieces, killing all 150 people on board.

Lubitz’s actions during the morning flight were masked by inputs from on-board computers that prevent a plane from flying erratically. Setting the aircraft to descend to 100 feet would have triggered a subtle, gradual descent not noticed by the captain who had left the cockpit, and which were quickly curtailed by Lubitz’s subsequent instructions.

The BEA wasn’t able to examine earlier flights involving Lubitz because cockpit voice recorders only save two hours of information before the recording starts again.

Psychological Issues

Since the accident, French and German prosecutors have said Lubitz was suffering from psychological problems that weren’t fully apparent to his employer because of privacy laws designed to encourage people to consult doctors without fear.

Today’s BEA report provides a minute-by-minute analysis of what happened to the A320 jet flown by Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s discount unit. It also highlights six other crashes that appear to have been caused by an “intentional maneuver” by crew.

The incidents include the crash of an Embraer SA 190 regional jet operated by LAM Mozambique Airlines in Namibia in 2013 and another involving an EgyptAir Boeing Co. 767 in 1999.

The BEA’s final report, expected about a year from now, will also detail lessons to be learned from the crash and suggest changes that could help prevent similar tragedies.

“We must examine in detail the system of evaluating pilots, and that involves many actors, including people in the pilot’s personal life, the role of doctors, and of all the authorities,” Jouty said.

 

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The Germanwings pilot who investigators say crashed his plane into a French mountainside in March set the same aircraft on a collision course with the ground earlier that day in what may have been a dry run for his suicide bid.Data from the morning flight shows Andreas...
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2015-32-06
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 06:32 AM
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