You wouldn’t know it from the way in which the story is being covered by the press but there is still no hard evidence from the investigation on what happened in the cockpit of Germanwings 9525. The latest desperate attempt to convince people that the co-pilot did it and did it because he was mentally ill comes from the twitter feed of a a group of aviation geeks. Yes, that’s right, all this stuff about the autopilot being changed, the descent, the changes in speed ? None of this has actually come from the flight recorder. It came from a site called Flight radar24. They track flights worldwide (because they are plain spotters) and collect data. It was their data relied on by the French as they rushed to the media to say that “the co-pilot did it. He was mad. Eventually we will prove it.” Which is odd for an investigation. Normally you would collect facts, assemble them and draw conclusions based on those facts. In this case there has been a determination to declare the co-pilot mentally ill and that that is the only explanation.
The latest development in the desperate attempt to convince the media that he was the mad suicidal murderer is the German police saying his browser history shows he looked at suicide methods and that he also looked at door lock mechanisms. This is remarkable. Firstly, I doubt that any of those suicide methods involve crashing an airbus into the alps and it is guaranteed what will happen if you pilot a plane into a mountain. So, if he was researching methods of suicide, it suggests two things. He was considering taking his own life, and was not contemplating crashing the plane to do it. Besides, he would have discovered 3 failsafe methods using household items.
The second remarkable thing about the browser history issue, is that as a reasonably experienced pilot he would, one would imagine, be familiar with the locking mechanism. Why would he need to look it up ? And why are the German police joining in the rush to provide an almost running commentary on what they have discovered ?
I have no answers. Based on the very few known facts, it is far too early to draw conclusions on what happened in the cockpit. All we can say, is that a lot of people are dead who shouldn’t be. And the French investigators are very busy justifying statements they’ve already made and with the collusion of a sloppy media, are willing to smear people with mental health issues in order to do it. The continued yelping about what condition the co-pilot had is further evidence that there is an agenda at work here. If he was bi-polar, then it doesn’t explain any of his alleged actions in the cockpit. It was not the cause of previous murder/suicides by pilots. In fact, looking at the investigations of some of these, there are a series of mechanical factors which will need to be determined before mechanical failure can be eliminated. But to give you an idea, from 2013
Minutes before the crash the co-pilot left the cockpit for the lavatory. The captain then manually changed the altitude preselector from 38,000 feet to an altitude of 4,288 feet. This was changed to 1,888 feet and then to 592 feet. The auto throttle was manually reengaged and throttle level then automatically retarded and set to idle. The airspeed was manually selected several times until the end of the recording, which remained close to the Vmo (maximum operating limit speed). During the descent the captain used the speed brake handle to activate the spoilers.
One the cockpit voice recorder sounds were heard of someone pounding on the cockpit door. The investigators stated that the reasons for these actions are unknown at this time. Rumours on several web sites suggest the captain’s son had died about a year prior to the accident. In the period leading up to the accident he is said to have had serious marital problems.
In a different case, the cockpit voice recorder was de-activated by the pilot. Which raises another odd point. Trying to match the innuendo from reports of what Lubitz had said about becoming notorious, it’s strange he did not take the opportunity to say anything. He would have known how to de-activate the recorder but didn’t. But then, this is another slightly tangential piece of information. Like the reports that he was “obsessed” with the alps. And……..so what ? He could not have known the pilot would go to the lavatory at that point. It is irrelevant. But got a lot of press traction in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
It may well be that he intentionally crashed the plane. He wouldn’t be the first or last aviation murder/suicide. I couldn’t find a previous case where a history of serious mental health issues was involved. But the ‘lynch mob’ mentality adopted by the investigation and a compliant press is very worrying.