The loss of 4U 952524 March left us all with a deep feeling of sadness. Like anyone else, pilots across Europe were thinking about the victims, their families & friends, and looking for answers: “How could this happen?” Seeing how the lives of 150 people on board European aircraft, with European crew perished in a moment is one of our unspoken nightmares. Could we have done something to prevent it? For sure, there will be lessons to learn from this tragedy. The pilots’ professional duty is to strive for improving safety and we will put all our efforts into this, as stated after the crash.
However, in the aftermath of the crash many things have been said and written. Newspaper and magazine articles, TV news, documentaries, blog posts or opinion pieces ranging from pure sensationalism to high quality journalism, offered tribune to known and unknown aviation ‘experts’. This is why we do not offer you another article on this tragedy. Yet, we also believe that you have the right to be informed. In the sea of stories and opinions, there were some voices, which caught our attention and made us think, question and look for answers ourselves.
We have selected for you a number of articles, opinion pieces and information bulletins. While these articles do not necessarily reflect an ECA position, they do contain thought-provoking elements and ideas.
Alps plane crash: What happened?– BBC factsheet
The co-pilot of a Germanwings flight that crashed into the French Alps sent the plane into its doomed descent "intentionally", according to French investigators. […] Speculation over the reasons for his actions has centred around the co-pilot's mental wellbeing.
There is a European Regulation which mandates that pilots must have a current Medical Certificate. This certificate is issued by an approved specialist in aviation medicine and revalidated at regular intervals throughout a pilots' career. Within the European Regulations for Medical Certificates there are requirements that relate to psychiatry and psychology.
EASA ‘s temporary recommendation for airlines to ensure that at least two crew, including at least one qualified pilot, are in the flight crew compartment at all times of the flight. Airlines should re-assess the safety and security risks associated with a flight crew leaving the cockpit due to operational or physiological needs. Other mitigation measures are possible too.
On the surface, it might seem like a sensible move. Perhaps it is. But with calls for more action increasing, should the industry go further?
After every air disaster, finding the black box recorder becomes the first priority – but for the crash investigators who have to listen to the tapes of people’s final moments, the experience can be incredibly harrowing.
“The leaking of the CVR data is a serious breach of fundamental and globally accepted international accident investigation rules. The motivation for and consequences of this will need to be addressed,” ECA said.
Pilots work in one of the most checked and tested of professions. More checks might add to stress, which is harmful in itself. And things change quickly. A stable pilot one day can, after a family or career misfortune, be under severe stress the next. But improved assessment may be possible, so this needs careful study.
There aren’t any photos of him. There aren’t any headlines. But Patrick Sondheimer was the captain who was piloting the plane with Lubitz.
As a qualified pilot and psychiatrist, I am certain that no prior psychological test to Andreas Lubitz would have predicted his actions.
If anything good comes out of the Germanwings crash, it may be that the conditions faced by pilots working for budget airlines will be scrutinised.
[…] air accidents in France are seen through the prism of criminality rather than as in other countries where seasoned air safety investigators understand there is a multitude of factors that contribute to a disaster and will wait to have evidence before drawing conclusions.
In the race between media houses to “Breaking News”, “instant leaks” and “possible theories” start doing rounds, and with their endless repetitions soon acquire aura of infallible truth; no doubt, aided by dubious experts acting as talking heads holding forth dearly to "their version" on talk-shows. This is the tragedy of 24x7 news that highly speculative and presumptive narratives parroted by high priests of MSM overtake completely serious and methodical investigations to the point of rendering them infructuous.
The dilemma with these screening standards is the same dilemma with any medical screening program: how to avoid catching “false positive” and missing “false negative” results.