Germanwings Flight 9525 crashes in French Alps

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I've always been told I must on no account go to work after being issued a sick note because of 'insurance'.

 

What are the implications of this? Can the employer be held responsible (it's not like they could telepathically know he was supposed to be sick).

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In theory with 1 pilot you have a 1 in a million chance of a nutter. With 2 pilots that becomes 1 in 500,000. Add the cabin crew and you have maybe 1 in 100,000 depending on which crew member you rotate AND the fact that it is easier for a nutter to become cabin crew than pilot.

 

That's true, but doesn't having a second person in the cockpit mean that second person can at least intervene if the first person suddenly goes into nutter mode? That would cancel out the increased risk in having a two person presence.

 

Two person presence with a cabin crew member is definitely not fail-safe. But it could at least prevent something happening in some cases at least.

 

It's also a peace of mind thing. Once all the airlines start falling over themselves to announce "We have a two person in cockpit at all times policy" then it reassures on the one hand and scores one over the competition if they aren't also following suit.

 

One thing that seems utter madness is to have a situation where the captain just goes to use the WC and with that can be so easily shut out of his own cockpit. With in this case tragic and appalling consequences.

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That's true, but doesn't having a second person in the cockpit mean that second person can at least intervene if the first person suddenly goes into nutter mode?

In this case it probably helps with a "passive suicide" but probably not much with a planned "murder suicide" as the nutter is just gonna stab or pepper spray the #2. And you can easily crash the plane on takeoff or landing even with #2 in the seat.

 

The major flaw in the locked door system is if a nutter DOES get pilot side (either a pilot, aircrew, passenger) he only has a maximum of 1 person to disable before he has 100% uninterruptable control.

 

Clearly #1 priority is to stop ANY nutter getting at the pointy end of the plane....and forcing cabin crew into the cockpit as a *safety* response could just be another fuck up waiting to happen.

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I would have thought that the physician who issued the sick note would be obliged to inform his employer about this. I assume that the physician knew what he did for a living and that depression (assuming that it was depression on the day he was written off sick), would be dangerous and therefore he would not be in a position to be responsible for flying a plane.

 

If this wasn't done, I assume that is because of the ridiculous obsession Germans have of Datenschutz. The whole world knows what he looks like and that his name is Andreas Lubitz, but German media will continue to blur his face and refer to him as Andreas L.

 

((shaking head)).

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That's not just a ridiculous German obsession. HIPPA in the US and PHIPA in Canada also provide for non-sharing of medical information down to how commercial pharmacies have to dispose of PPI. These are real, substantive, and necessary laws to protect people from stigma and ensure that private things are private.

 

At the end of the day, what should have happened is that a person who was clearly medically incapable of handling the rigors of a demanding job should have been washed out of the training program for cause. The danger comes in when a regressive, stigma-complicit medical system terms it "burnout" instead of a "major psychiatric event requiring hospitalization" so that the person can be somehow "cured" in the short term as opposed to treated long-term for what is clearly a chronic condition.

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That's not just a ridiculous German obsession. HIPPA in the US and PHIPA in Canada also provides for non-sharing of medical information down to how commercial pharmacies have to dispose of PPI. These are real, substantive, and necessary laws to protect people from stigma and ensure that private things are private.

 

At the end of the day, what should have happened is that a person who was clearly medically incapable of handling the rigors of a demanding job should have been washed out of the training program for cause. The danger comes in when a regressive, stigma-complicit medical system terms it "burnout" instead of a "major psychiatric event requiring hospitalization" so that the person can be somehow "cured" in the short term as opposed to treated long-term for what is clearly a chronic condition.

 

I disagree. It is my opinion that the data protection of one single person does not supersede the lives of 150 innocent people, which included children and babies. Had GermanWings known that he was written out sick on that day, he would not have been allowed to fly that plane.

 

This situation is different from the other general situation involving people who may not be responsible for the lives of others. If I (as someone who works at a desk in an office) is written off sick due to illness, it doesn't need to be advertised. Me not being in the office one day or a week or a month is going to be an inconvenience, but me being sick is not endangering the lives of others. Completely different situation.

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The whole system was wrong from the get-go. However, your assertions that this is 1) a German obsession only, and, 2) a result of data protection are equally wrong.

 

Data protection didn't do this. A failure from the management to wash out a person (and thereby lose the investment in training and the profitability of the addition of another pilot) who was not suited to the job, in no small part likely aided and abetted by a union and workers' council that fight for the right of every last person no matter how ill-equipped for the position, did this. When a worker, even a trainee, takes a medical leave for burnout, HR is involved as this is work-related and covered by the work disability insurance. This leaves the question how many more burnouts are flying Germanwings and Lufthansa planes and how critical was their burnout.

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I disagree. It is my opinion that the data protection of one single person does not supersede the lives of 150 innocent people, which included children and babies.

 

Ill take my approx 1 in 4 million chance of being killed on a flight and allow patient confidentiality thanks.

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Ill take my approx 1 in 4 million chance of being killed on a flight and allow patient confidentiality thanks.

 

Tell that to the friends and families of the dead.

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I wonder if this new "two-person cockpit rule" is really going to make much of a difference. Perhaps a pilot who contemplates crashing his plane will shy away from using direct violence. Otherwise I just expect the stewardess to be the first victim (it's going to be a male pilot / female steward combination most of the time, after all). Wouldn't the suicidal pilot be able to fly the plane in such a way as to make a return to the cockpit and recovery of the plane impossible for the other pilot, anyway?

 

I cannot even start to imagine the pain the parents of those children will be going through. The emptiness of their homes must be suffocating. It must be even worse to know that it wasn't an accident that couldn't be avoided but intentional.

 

Not surprised to see the first ambulance chasing lawyers showing up.

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Tell that to the friends and families of the dead.

 

For what its worth my grandmother and uncle were killed in a plane crash. I dont need you to speak for me and people like me thanks.

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No, only the pilot has flight control I believe unless switched over. HEM could you confirm or deny this?

 

This exceeds my detailed knowledge. Its my understanding with fly-by-wire that one switches from one side to the other.

 

Both people in the cockpit are "pilots" (thus is confusing when media write that the "pilot went for a pee").

In a two-man crew there is "captain" and "First Officer" (FO).

 

The captain is always "pilot-in-command". The role "pilot-flying" is decided for each flight, if this is to be the FO then the captain states "you have control". The other pilot is then "pilot-non-flying" and his role is to support "pilot-flying" by dealing with ATC, the landing gear, flaps etc.

 

The captain is able to take control over from the FO - but also it is possible for the FO to take control away from captain. How this works in detail you'll need to ask someone with ATPL training & probably A320 type-rating.

 

I can ask the FO (on A320) who is a member of my club when I see him but I do not know when that will be & you will understand that I will not bother him with an e-mail at this moment in time.

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I wonder if this new "two-person cockpit rule" is really going to make much of a difference. Perhaps a pilot who contemplates crashing his plane will shy away from using direct violence. Otherwise I just expect the stewardess to be the first victim (it's going to be a male pilot / female steward combination most of the time, after all).

Yes there is a difference between passive suicide alone (switching plane into a dive), and having to first battle with a colleague and take him out. So it will prevent some *types* of murder/suicide.

 

 

Wouldn't the suicidal pilot be able to fly the plane in such a way as to make a return to the cockpit and recovery of the plane impossible for the other pilot, anyway?

Yes is the answer. And of course most dangerous on takeoff and landing as there is no time to correct.

 

Just discussing on FB and the best answer is a "three-person cockpit rule" with a hotswap from cabin crew during comfort breaks.

 

Even hotswapping on a "two-person" rule allows the potential for a 1 on 1 battle. But 3 people at all times in the cockpit is mathematically very safe indeed. The 3rd person does not need to be a full-on pilot as such - more a sky marshall but be nice if they had some simulator training.

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Its my understanding with fly-by-wire that one switches from one side to the other.

In the Air France crash the junior pilot effectively crashed the plane as he had the stick BACK, and his colleage had the stick FORWARD...the fly-by-wire averaged out the 2 inputs and they crashed.

 

The A320 has a SIDE STICK PRIORITY button over each sidestick that, when pressed and held down, prevents the other sidestick controller's inputs from "counting." If the Captain (or other FO) had pressed this button, the junior FO's inputs would have been ignored.

 

In addition, according to the FCOM, if the two sidesticks are operated simultaneously, a "DUAL INPUT" audio voice message is sounded every 5 seconds indicating that conflicting inputs are being made. Not sure if this message shows up in the transcript (it's possible that it doesn't sound when in alternate law), but if it did sound, it would have been a clue that the junior FO was fighting the senior FO's inputs.

 

Sounds also dangerous if you have a "nutter" at the controls.

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Some points which baffle me in this whole unfortunate incident is that why the hell did pilot have to go for a leak 30 minutes after take off. I mean why could'nt he do what all he had to do before he took off. Its not that it was a trans atlantic flight. In another one and half hours, he would have landed. So why could'nt he hold his bladders.

 

Secondly, if the co pilot wanted to crash, why this fine descent and why not a plunge. Why take a chance for the pilot to try to come in. And lastly, if the pilot would have gone for a leak in one hour and the alps were behind, then would the co-pilot crashed his plane into a city underneath??

 

What is so baffling about a pilot going for pee mid-flight? :blink: Maybe he was running late for the flight (or caught up with other stuff) that prevented him from taking a quick trip to the loo, and was bursting with a full bladder by the time they took off. Could be a thousand other reasons!

 

Not every thing is a conspiracy.

 

Anyway, it is confirmed now that he had a major depressive episode in the past, however passed his second screening to check his capability to fly when he re-joined. Very hard to comprehend what were his thoughts just before he started the descend, chances are he had absolutely no ability to process what he was doing or why he was doing. He was a broken person.

 

I can already foresee that it may become illegal for humans to fly planes in far future. And it should, humans are too unpredictable and prone to make errors.

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Yes there is a difference between passive suicide alone (switching plane into a dive), and having to first battle with a colleague and take him out. So it will prevent some *types* of murder/suicide.

 

If this was a common occurance then a 2 seat rule would make a difference, but since virtually all "pilot error (ie we didnt find a problem with the plane so it must have been the pilot)" crashes occur when 2 pilots are in the cockpit and the frequency of "passive suicide" is extraordinarily low anyway it is far from clear that many lives will actually be saved. All it takes is for once every decade or so the second person does something stupid and the 2 person rule costs more lives than it saves.

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As I said earlier - forcing a 2nd person from the cabin crew into the pointy end *could* be more dangerous than leaving a pilot alone on his own. Easier to become a cabin crew than a pilot.

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Let's hope that any new policies that might come out of this have their basis in risk analysis and not knee jerk reaction. Fortunately(?) for the world, most depressed people aren't suicidal, barely having the energy to comb their hair at times much less off themselves.

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