This is an extract from the A320 series user manual: (my emphasis)
‘A forward-opening hinge door separates the cockpit from the passenger compartment. It has three electric locking strikes, controlled by the flight crew. In normal conditions, when the door is closed, they remain locked. When there is a request to enter the cockpit, the flight crew can authorize entry by unlocking the door, that remains closed until it is pushed open. When the flight crew does not respond to requests for entry, the door can also be unlocked by the cabin crew, by entering a two to seven-digit code (programmed by the airline) on the keypad, installed on the lateral side of the Forward Attendant Panel (FAP).’
This raises a big issue: it looks like the crew didn’t know the number. Why?
Regular Slog threader Bill Casso tried to suggest the other day that I’m chasing shadows on this one, so let me emphasise again (for the third time): I think it highly likely that Herr Lubitz deliberately put the joystick into descent; but I think the rush to brand him a monster “against whom there was no hope” is just the airline industry playing the Nuremberg Trials card in order to avoid responsibility.
The crew not knowing the entry code was a prime factor in the deaths of 149 people.This was probably a maverick pilot who (a) should’ve been spotted and (b) was stoppable. But clearly, the Lufthansa/Germanwings training and surveillance was well below standard.
Even if we accept pilot burnout as the cause here, the media rushed to condemn in precisely the same way they rushed to brand a teacher in Bristol who died his hair pink “a weirdo childkiller”…and were wrong. In doing so, they allow an easy ride for injustice: nobody as yet understands Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) – and as it’s been around for forty years, it’s about time they did. As it is, Golden Gate Bridge Marathon Madman will be the sole subject of the enquiry….and corporate negligence will get away scot free yet again
The second motive for writing about this incident is one that is too easily dismissed. After years of modern techniques and remastered sound, I now accept that Oswald was a lone gunman – but that JFK was accidentally killed by an FBI gun going off in the car behind him in Dallas. Equally, I’m ready to accept that Andreas Lubitz probably did point the aircraft at the ground below.
But in both cases, we still don’t know why. I mean, really ‘why’ in a manner that goes beyond sadistic killer maniac runs amok and murders 79 innocent kids what a bastard Bild Zeitung ‘why’. Bloke depressed because his girlfriend was about to dump him is not, I’m sorry, anywhere near the mark: his girlfriend was about to dump him? Maybe it was because he was also shagging a stewardess, and was having doubts about his sexuality. But as one tweeter pointed out last week, depressed and gay is not a motive for wholesale murder. His sleep was frequently disturbed by him yelling “we’re going down”. Why did he – a bloke who started flying at the age of seven – worry about air flight being dangerous, when by and large he knew it wasn’t?
The same is true of Lee Harvey Oswald: in the immediate aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, the US media dolloped crap all over Oswald’s history: social misfit, Russian wife, return from the Soviet Union, unbalanced behaviour, handing out pro-Cuba leaflets and so on. But it remains true that (a) Oswald never displayed anything but admiration for JFK and his family (b) he didn’t kill Kennedy, a secret service agent did (by accident) and (c) he said at the first arraignment that he was “only a patsie”.
Mobster Sam Giancana, however, is on telephonic record as making obscene threats against the President; and Jack Ruby was a minor capo in the mob. He shot Oswald dead 24 hours later.
My bottom line here is straightforward and not nutjob in any way: we have not been told the full truth about motives – and closely associated events – in either of these cases. The tabloids will now move on to slagging off the Greeks. Others should keep digging about the last days of Andreas Lubitz, before too many shredders get going on the paper trail.