comscore Germanwings plane crash: Here's how the cockpit door of the Airbus A320 works and why it could be the reason the plane crashed
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Germanwings plane crash: Here's how the cockpit door of the Airbus A320 works and why it could be the reason the plane crashed

As reports about Germanwings plane being purposely crashed by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz are surfacing, questions over how and why he chose to take 149 individuals with him staggering down are being rais

Cockpit door

As reports about Germanwings plane being purposely crashed by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz are surfacing, questions over how and why he chose to take 149 individuals with him staggering down are being raised. While we don’t know the motive of the co-pilot behind this crash, we now know how he kept the second pilot away from intervention while he deliberately took the plane down. A voice clip obtained by the French police has revealed that the other pilot was locked out, and could not enter the cockpit even after trying really hard, and is being reported as the main reason behind this tragedy. The cockpit doors which were easy to monitor earlier, have recently been reinforced and have unintentionally played a big factor in the Germanwings plane crash. Also Read - Russian plane crashes in Sinhai, more than 200 on-board feared dead

After 9/11, the US changed the cockpit safety procedures and introduced a new door that could be locked from the inside. The reinforced door is bulletproof and cannot be broken down. Any individual who wishes to enter, will require permission from the inside to enter. By punching # into a keypad installed on the door, he can ask for permission to enter. The pilot in the cockpit can choose to unlock or lock the door with a switch gaining full control on who enters. During emergency situations, the outside member needs to know the emergency number code to gain special access. After entering the code, a 30 second alarm goes off, after which the door is unlocked for five seconds. But if the pilot inside the door locks the door from inside, he can prevent the person outside from entering. Also Read - Germanwings Airbus A320 passenger jet crashes in South France, 148 feared dead

While the intentions behind this reinforced door were pure, this is exactly what caused the crashed.  Officials believe that the other pilot left the cockpit, and when he tried to enter back by pressing the number code, he was not given permission by Lubitz. The voice clip clearly indicates that as soon as the plane started descending, the pilot outside tried with utmost effort, to break the door down but was not able to. The officials also say that Lubitz’ breathing is heard till the very last minute, however he did not say a word during the descend. Also Read - TransAsia plane crash: In-car dashcam captures plane crashing into the river

It is not clear why the pilot left the cockpit, but Lubitz seems to have locked the door from inside upon his departure and did not open it,  even after repeated requests from the pilot.

In the US, the cockpit norms are that there have to be two people in the cockpit at all times. If either of the pilots have to leave the cockpit, the flight attendant takes his place, till the other gets back. However, no such law is in place in Europe. This allowed the pilot to leave Lubitz alone and give him full power to the cockpit, thus resulting in the tragedy.

All the 150 people on the Germanwings flight 9525 were confirmed dead by officials. Lubitz intentions  are not yet known, but he is said to have limited professional flight experience, having only logged 630 flight hours before co-piloting the Germanwings flight.

Here’s a video of how exactly the reinforced door works on an Airbus:

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  • Published Date: March 27, 2015 3:29 PM IST
  • Updated Date: March 28, 2015 12:17 PM IST



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