The tragic incidence of Germanwings Airline crash has got a new angle with a recent report by French Air Crash investigators. The report says that the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had rehearsed to steadily decent the aircraft on his previous flight same day. The French investigating agency BEA also added that apparently he researched on programming in order to set a flight in rapid descent and then he rehearsed on his earlier outbound flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona.
Findings of BEA Report
1. Lubitz rehearsed rapid descent on his Dusseldorf to Barcelona flight.
2. In previous with the same pilot, he set lowest altitude as 100ft (when it was instructed to 35000ft). He set it when the captain left the cockpit for about 4 minutes.
3. He also set altitude to the highest limit 49000ft once
4. The analysis of data recorder reveals rapid increase in speed on descent, from 273 knots (505km/h, 314mph) to 345 knots.
5. The French air defence and Air traffic control tried contacting the flight around 14 times.
He beat the system
Data recovered from the black box clearly shows that Lubitz had well researched the SOP of Air traffic controls and meticulously followed a system to exploit loopholes. He set the lowest altitude right after the commands from ATC to descend from 37,000ft to 35,000ft and then to 21,000ft. As the plane was on autopilot, the descent was smooth and gradual and he made sure he would alter it quickly enough to go undetected. After 25000ft there is no record of the alteration in settings and supposedly at this point the captain returned.
Lubitz's Mental Condition
"I can't speculate on what was happening inside his head", says BEA director Remi Jouty while describing his mental state. An investigation of his apartment in Dusseldorf reveals his research about suicide methods, cabin #Security and ATC guidelines. US' apex aviation authority, the FAA had released documents in which FAA officials questioned Lubitz's mental fitness upon his application for US pilot license back in 2010. In his application procedure, he resubmitted the form acknowledging the diagnosis of severe depression. Keeping the Germanwings accident as the central line, BEA is releasing a final report in this year on 'systemic failings and cockpit security'.