First it was a leak, now officially confirmed, the pilot of the doomed flight was locked out of the cockpit by the co-pilot during the eight-minute descent prior to the crash in the French Alps. Apparently there was repeated knocking on the door without response and then an attempt to smash the door down. The co-pilot can be heard to be breathing to the end.
The co-pilot was a relatively experienced 28-year old officer, who lived with his parents.
On the 7.30 Report we were told that in the US if a pilot leaves the cockpit there must be a second crew member present, typically the chief flight steward. In Europe and indeed Australia that is not the case.
Since 9/11 and Twin Towers unauthorised entry into the cockpit is virtually impossible.
The Airbus A320 plane is designed with safeguards to allow emergency entry to the cockpit if a pilot inside is unresponsive, but the override code known to the crew does not go into effect and indeed goes into a five-minute lockdown if the person inside the cockpit specifically denies entry, according to an Airbus training video and a pilot who spoke to the Associated Press.
The case is looking like a pilot suicide.
Apparently air accidents have been low in the past year, but we’ve had more than usual high-profile events. The chances of something adverse happening are vanishingly small.
Nevertheless, I’m sure protocols and policies will now be reviewed.
Germanwings is a budget airline owned by Lufthansa, a competent air line.