02 April 2015
The revelation that Germanwings Flight 4U9525 was brought down deliberately by its co-pilot raises important questions concerning existing aviation security measures in aircraft. The time has come for a three-person rule as a way forward to prevent a recurrence of this tragedy.
The Germanwings Flight 4U9525 incident is the latest in air crashes caused by deliberate pilot action. In November 2013, 33 people were killed when an aircraft flying between Mozambique and Angola was brought down by the pilot. In October 1999, 217 people were killed when an Egypt Air plane crashed allegedly under similar circumstances after leaving New York.
Analyses of Flight 4U9525’s black box reveal that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, locked the pilot out of the flight deck, and thereafter, put the aircraft in descent. Attempts by the pilot to regain access to the cockpit failed owing to Lubitz manually overriding the locking mechanism. This incident raises questions about existing in-flight security measures such as flight deck security mechanisms and access procedures, and pilot health. Proposed solutions have included introducing a mandatory two-person rule on all airlines as well as remotely-controlling a flight from the ground. In light of the limitations of these solutions, perhaps the time has come to introduce a three-person rule.
… Eugene E. G. Tan is an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015