Germanwings Airbus Crash: Possible Motivations

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Apparently the recovered CVR files are shedding some light on what might have happened......
Apparently one pilot left the cockpit for some reason and was locked out as the plane descended.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/w...eakingNews&contentID=31597569&pgtype=Homepage

I find "suicide-by-airplane" (IF it is indeed the case here) to be reprehensible.

Knowing about post-9/11 features (which I will not discuss in an open Forum)...makes this fully plausible....disgusting, but plausible.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Apparently the recovered CVR files are shedding some light on what might have happened......


I find "suicide-by-airplane" (IF it is indeed the case here) to be reprehensible.

Knowing about post-9/11 features (which I will not discuss in an open Forum)...makes this fully plausible....disgusting, but plausible.
*If* it was the case, in situations like that it's not suicide, it's mass-murder.
 

Qualiall

Member

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JFDee

Senior Member.
Andreas Lubitz started glider flying as a teenager in a club not far away from where I live.

This is a very common career start for German pilots. At least five friends from my club that did their training alongside myself are now professional pilots.

Most flying clubs in Germany are building on a long tradition and are trying to make flying affordable for enthusiasts who are in turn prepared to invest a considerable share of their time for flight operations and maintenance work. Nowadays it's legal to start glider training at the age of 14 and getting a license at 16.

Discipline and situation awareness is usually taken very seriously in these clubs. The readiness for the first solo flight has to be confirmed by two teachers. The people who persist through the whole training are sufficiently dedicated and mature - in most cases.

So far, there is nothing to suggest it was any different with Mr. Lubitz.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Reading through the Wikipedia entries it doesn't seem unusual for the hi-jacker to want to remain anonymous. No signaling of intent or bragging. I do wonder how effective psychological screenings really are with these types of people, and I guess it doesn't help they got rid of the flight engineer some decades ago. Atleast then you had three persons in cockpit which would make for an entirely different dynamic, I imagine.

All terrorism is a form of PR, so I imagine if it was so that they would have boasted about it by now.

As far as psychology goes, I was listening to BBC Radio 4 in the car on the way home, and the correspondent that was reporting from the Alps was describing the speculation in Germany about a long period of leave that the pilot took, and the rumour was that he had at some stage suffered from depression.

Regardless of whether it is true or not, I managed to pass two separate psychological screenings for EOD over a two year period, but was in fact suffering from what I thought at the time was depression, which was later diagnosed as PTSD.

Rather sloppy screening as it seems as it relied upon self-declaration of drugs and I was on anti-depressants at the time, which I declined to mention to the trick-cyclist, but the point to note from this was that I became very skilled at maintaining an appearance of normality for several years when I actually had suicidal thoughts and other morbid and risky behaviours.

As a result of my prescription drug use since 2011 I can fly single engine private aircraft, but there would be zero chance of me getting a commercial licence and for that matter I don't imagine I could drive a train or get a UK firearms certificate. I have voluntarily taken myself off the explosives roles in the army, and they have exempted me from weapon handling, apart from when they need to deploy me somewhere and then they lift the restriction, which again makes a bit of a mockery of their policies, not that I am too bothered...

Even though I have had some really dark thoughts in the past, I never had any thoughts of harming others. In the German Wings case I have no opinion either way as I still think its a bit early to draw firm conclusions. What I do think is that mental anguish is still misunderstood, is tainted by syntax (bonkers, mental, crazy, weird etc), and at my lowest point in January 2012, my boss who had done a two hour course on post-operational stress management said I 'looked OK to him'... Hopefully the aviation industry is more diligent with their personnel.


The pilot was experienced, flying for 10 years, and according to the NY Times article the conversations between the co-pilot and the pilot were "very smooth, very cool". No indication that the pilot was about to commit mass murder.
Also, this crash does not make any sense as a "mass murder, suicide" mission a-la 911. There just does not seem ANY reason to slam a plane full of teenagers into a mountain.
So, before we surrender to our worst fears (of non-sensical mass murder), can we PLEASE consider some other options ?

I agree about it not making sense, but if it is suicidal murder, then are you expecting rational behaviour? We may never know why he did it, if the current speculation turns out to be true.

As more details emerge about the passengers there will no doubt be someone on board who once patented something, or was once/is a member of an intelligence service or military, or a banker, or 'knew too much' about (fill in your favourite theory)...
 

JFDee

Senior Member.
Yesterday, there was confirmation of something I suspected for a while:
Andreas Lubitz knew the area where he crashed the plane from earlier visits.

As I have remarked earlier, the area is busy with glider flying tourism. Mr. Lubitz is said to have stayed at Sisteron, annother famous destination for glider pilots, along with his gliding club and his parents.
Sisteron, Barcelonette and Gap are forming a triangle enclosing an attractive 'playground' for gliders. It is established now that Mr. Lubitz spent time gliding in the area. A member of his club is quoted with the statement that he was "excited", even "obsessed" with flying there.

There is a possibility that he chose the place (or at least the region) for the crash deliberately.

http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-dive...t-obsede-par-les-alpes-27-03-2015-4643021.php
http://www.itele.fr/redirect?vid=1239058
 
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Brainiachick

Active Member
The primary cause here appears to be a combination of his obsession with being a pilot, fear of losing the profession he is obsessed with, history of mental illness, and what appears to be evidence of loss of his sight - but at the centre of all of these elements is his self-centred, self-absorbed, psychopathic skewed view of life where no one else matters or mattered to him besides his own needs, and goals. It must have been terribly horrible for the poor Captain and passengers! Lubitz was exactly right, that he will change the system and the world will know him and remember him! I am not sure I could feel relaxed flying after this horrid news. A lot of my German family members flew with Germanwings regularly!

Here is a more elaborate link which details some findings:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ice-small-mountain-anti-depressants-flat.html
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
The primary cause here appears to be a combination of his obsession with being a pilot, fear of losing the profession he is obsessed with, history of mental illness, and what appears to be evidence of loss of his sight - but at the centre of all of these elements is his self-centred, self-absorbed, psychopathic skewed view of life where no one else matters or mattered to him besides his own needs, and goals. It must have been terribly horrible for the poor Captain and passengers! Lubitz was exactly right, that he will change the system and the world will know him and remember him! I am not sure I could feel relaxed flying after this horrid news. A lot of my German family members flew with Germanwings regularly!

Here is a more elaborate link which details some findings:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ice-small-mountain-anti-depressants-flat.html

I think thats the crux of the matter, it is obvious the guy lived to fly so to speak, and the fear of that love being removed through health issues, both optical and mental tipped him over the edge.

I suffer from depression, although fortunately its been under control for the past 10 years or so and I no longer have the constant thoughts of topping myself. But when your under the influence of 'the black dog' as Churchill put it, things that make you feel good and help you forget the depression become all important to exclusion of all else. I'm a musician, with me it was my guitar, the worse I got the more I played, and the trigger for my, fortunately failed, suicide attempt was something as simple as a broken string.

Whilst I in no way condone the actions of Mr Lubitz, I can't help but feel empathy. I don't think the suicide was planned as such, most suicides are spur of the moment events, but the events in his life leading up to the crash had certainly put him on the edge. Then something could well have triggered in his mind - may be flying over an area that he loved and realising he would never fly over it again, then the pilot left the flight deck, and he seized the opportunity, and I don't think the fact that he had a plane load of people with him even crossed his mind. When your that far into the pit that the final solution is seen as your only option NOTHING else matters, all there is, is you and the darkness and the only way to end the horrific mental turmoil.

As for how to screen for severe depression in pilots... thats tough. Us depressive can be very good at putting on brave faces and hiding the way we feel. Profiling and regular testing may catch a few, but it wont catch them all.
 

Psychic

Senior Member
Lubitz's breathing was steady and controlled the entire time. Does that not suggest that he had mentally prepared himself?
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
I think thats the crux of the matter, it is obvious the guy lived to fly so to speak, and the fear of that love being removed through health issues, both optical and mental tipped him over the edge.

I suffer from depression, although fortunately its been under control for the past 10 years or so and I no longer have the constant thoughts of topping myself. But when your under the influence of 'the black dog' as Churchill put it, things that make you feel good and help you forget the depression become all important to exclusion of all else. I'm a musician, with me it was my guitar, the worse I got the more I played, and the trigger for my, fortunately failed, suicide attempt was something as simple as a broken string.

Whilst I in no way condone the actions of Mr Lubitz, I can't help but feel empathy. I don't think the suicide was planned as such, most suicides are spur of the moment events, but the events in his life leading up to the crash had certainly put him on the edge. Then something could well have triggered in his mind - may be flying over an area that he loved and realising he would never fly over it again, then the pilot left the flight deck, and he seized the opportunity, and I don't think the fact that he had a plane load of people with him even crossed his mind. When your that far into the pit that the final solution is seen as your only option NOTHING else matters, all there is, is you and the darkness and the only way to end the horrific mental turmoil.

As for how to screen for severe depression in pilots... thats tough. Us depressive can be very good at putting on brave faces and hiding the way we feel. Profiling and regular testing may catch a few, but it wont catch them all.

I completely agree with most of the content of your post, and I do empathise with you. I appreciate that clinical depression is clearly different from sadness or 'depression' from causative reasons such as bereavement and when life throws you lemons constantly and relentlessly which all humanity go through from time to time - they are very different but people generally do not understand clinical depression sufficiently enough to empathise. However, I beg to differ that this man's actions were spur of the moment or completely without premeditation. I am of the opinion, based on the evidence that has emerged so far, that there was some level of premeditation involved in his last action. He encouraged the Captain to go to the toilet - Barcelona to Dusseldorf is about an hour's flight through which even a newly qualified pilot can fly without needing to use the toilet. From the black box recording, it is clear that Lubitz was encouraging his Captain to use the toilet! To my mind, it is clear he needed the Captain out of the way so he can carry out his despicable act, and that is pre-meditative. That, in addition to his statement to his lover that he will change the system and the world will know him and remember him is clear evidence of pre-meditation. Here was clearly a man who did not feel that he was good enough - this was probably made worse, in addition to the threat of this profession taken from him by reason of his health, by the teasing he had to endure from his stupid 'pilot pilot' colleagues who felt they were somehow better than him because he was once a flight attendant. They made matters further worse by derogatorily referring to him as 'Tomato Andy' which is a homophobic slur because he was once a 'trolley dolly'. For a mature, mentally stable man, these may just be shrugged off, but for a man who was already unhinged, it just built up upon the torment and cracks that were pre-existing and underneath the surface, but in the end there is no excuse for what he did. If he was in a dark place, he could have jumped out of the plane, take a dive alone and leave the innocent passengers out of it!

'Open the damn door' Desperate last words of captain locked out of cockpit

Dramatic recordings from the Germanwings flight’s black box have revealed the captain’s desperate attempts to break into the cockpit to regain control of the plane.

According to transcripts published in today’s edition of the German newspaper Bild, captain Patrick Sondheimer screamed ‘Open the goddamn door!’ as his co-pilot deliberately flew the aircraft into an Alpine ravine.

The recording starts with captain Sondheimer apologising to passengers for a 26-minute delay in Barcelona, and promising to make up the time on the flight to Dusseldorf.

The family of pilot Patrick Sondheimer, who desperately tried to re-enter the cockpit in his final moments

In the next 20 minutes, Sondheimer converses with co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who tells him he can go to the toilet at any time and he will take over the controls, noting that the pilot didn’t go to the lavatory in Barcelona. At 10.27am, the airliner reaches its cruising altitude of 38,000ft. The pilot prompts his first officer to prepare for the landing in Dusseldorf.

The French prosecutors described Lubitz’s replies as ‘laconic’, and he is heard using words such as ‘hopefully’ and ‘we’ll see’.

After the checks for landing, Lubitz says to Sondheimer again: ‘You can go now.’

The pilot lets another two minutes elapse, then he says to Lubitz: ‘You can take over.’

There is the sound of a seat being pushed back and the snap of a door.




+16
The Airbus A-320 is fitted with a safety system, pictured, to prevent unauthorised access to the flight deck

At 10.29am the flight radar monitors the plane descending.

At 10.30am it is down by 316ft, and just a minute later, it is down 1,800ft. At 10.32am air traffic controllers try to contact the aircraft, but get no response.

In the plane, the automatic alarm signal ‘Sink Rate’ sounds almost at the same time, according to the voice recorder.

Shortly afterwards there is a loud bang, which sounds like someone trying to enter the cockpit. Sondheimer yells: ‘For God’s sake, open the door!’

In the background, passengers can be heard screaming.

At 10.35am ‘loud, metallic banging against the cockpit door’ is heard again, according to the French authorities. The jet is still 7,000ft above the ground.

About 90 seconds later there is a new warning message – ‘Ground! Pull up! Pull up!’

The pilot is heard shouting: ‘Open the goddamn door!’

At 10.38am, with its engines racing, the aircraft is on a north-east course over the French Alps. The breathing of Lubitz can be heard in the cockpit but he says nothing.

At 10.40am the aircraft hits the mountainside with its right wing. The last sounds are more screams from passengers.

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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I think thats the crux of the matter, it is obvious the guy lived to fly so to speak, and the fear of that love being removed through health issues, both optical and mental tipped him over the edge.

I suffer from depression, although fortunately its been under control for the past 10 years or so and I no longer have the constant thoughts of topping myself. But when your under the influence of 'the black dog' as Churchill put it, things that make you feel good and help you forget the depression become all important to exclusion of all else. I'm a musician, with me it was my guitar, the worse I got the more I played, and the trigger for my, fortunately failed, suicide attempt was something as simple as a broken string.

Whilst I in no way condone the actions of Mr Lubitz, I can't help but feel empathy. I don't think the suicide was planned as such, most suicides are spur of the moment events, but the events in his life leading up to the crash had certainly put him on the edge. Then something could well have triggered in his mind - may be flying over an area that he loved and realising he would never fly over it again, then the pilot left the flight deck, and he seized the opportunity, and I don't think the fact that he had a plane load of people with him even crossed his mind. When your that far into the pit that the final solution is seen as your only option NOTHING else matters, all there is, is you and the darkness and the only way to end the horrific mental turmoil.

As for how to screen for severe depression in pilots... thats tough. Us depressive can be very good at putting on brave faces and hiding the way we feel. Profiling and regular testing may catch a few, but it wont catch them all.
While I empathise with your intent, your empathy here is I think misplaced - this was as much a suicide as Adam Lanza's massacre was.
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
While I empathise with your intent, your empathy here is I think misplaced - this was as much a suicide as Adam Lanza's massacre was.


That is exactly my point - suicide is usually done alone, one does not drag others into it. Once it involves more than the subject of the suicide, then it no longer qualifies as suicide - it is murder-suicide and in this case it is clearly mass murder-suicide. He has not only taken the lives of 149 people excluding his, he has terrorised hundreds of thousands more! The families of the departed, their dependants, their towns, employers, frequent flyers, his own parents etc etc. The extent of the devastation of his action can clearly not be quantified at this time or ever. I'm sure his actions will reduce his parents' life expectancy knowing what their son has done. This man knew that if he took his own life that would not give him the popularity (notoriety) that he so clearly craved, but if he took an entire plane full of innocent people down, that would achieve his aim. I am no expert in mental illness, but his behaviour clearly fits the profile of annihilators, this is clearly a man that was disturbed on a deeply profound level. Passing psych exams is extremely easy because diagnosis depends hugely on indicators and parameters that rely on self-reported symptoms - most psychopaths perfect this simple skill very early on which in turn makes diagnosis very difficult. The only diagnostics that are empirical are those that require brain scans, but not all mental illness alter the physiology of the brain. So if someone wanted to hide some types of mental illness from their employers etc, they can easily do that.
 

Psychic

Senior Member
While I empathise with your intent, your empathy here is I think misplaced - this was as much a suicide as Adam Lanza's massacre was.
Empathy should be applied across the board, and extended to Adam Lanza too. (Empathizing does not require condoning.)

An existence which was not only tortured by depression and suicidal thoughts but by egomaniacal attention-seeking as well must have been an incredibly difficult and painful one.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Empathy should be applied across the board, and extended to Adam Lanza too. (Empathizing does not require condoning.)

An existence which was not only tortured by depression and suicidal thoughts but by egomaniacal attention-seeking as well must have been an incredibly difficult and painful one.
I think Petes point is that this was murder (of children no less) not suicide. WB was not contemplating murder even at his darkest times.

Empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person's frame of reference
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understanding severe depression or suicidal thoughts is different then understanding the mindset of a murderer. we can "sort of imagine" how such things can come about due to mental illness but unless we ourselves have contemplated murder we aren't truly empathizing.
 

JFDee

Senior Member.
I think thats the crux of the matter, it is obvious the guy lived to fly so to speak, and the fear of that love being removed through health issues, both optical and mental tipped him over the edge.
Your whole post is an excellent assessment about what we know about Mr Lubitz up to now. I find it plausible from beginning to end.

I think people who have not lived through depression have a hard time to imagine what it can be like. A good friend of mine was affected and afterwards told me about his journey and the moments on the edge.

There is one missing aspect, but to clear it up would require access to Mr. Lubitz flight schedule:

Assuming that he had worked that stretch between Barcelona and Düsseldorf more than once - did he try before?
Has he offered the respective captains to take controls on earlier flights like he did on last Tuesday?

I'm sure that the investigation will cover this.
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
There is one missing aspect, but to clear it up would require access to Mr. Lubitz flight schedule:

Assuming that he had worked that stretch between Barcelona and Düsseldorf more than once - did he try before?
Has he offered the respective captains to take controls on earlier flights like he did on last Tuesday?

I'm sure that the investigation will cover this.


Excellent point above. It would require analysis of recordings of such previous flight over that particular area, if he has indeed worked that stretch before. I think he saw his opportunity to a long term goal and he took it.

As for understanding depression, I think Deirdre puts is succinctly in her post that understanding depression is a different thing from trying to understand the mindset of a murderer. The danger here is conflating depression or depressive episode with doing harm to others around us. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and indeed suicide, but murder is a different kettle of fish. We otherwise we run the risk of lumping everyone who suffers or has ever suffered from depression, anxiety, stress, or PTSD as being a danger to people around them, and this is simply untrue. Depression does not normally lead to killing someone else - it usually centres around the sufferer trying to end their own lives due to feeling of pain, worthlessness, life not being worth living, and/or being in a very dark place mentally. Whilst it is difficult to see a bright future from this very dark mental place, taking someone else's life hardly plays a part in this. Killing others often involves a far more twisted dynamics such as revenge against real or arbitrary 'enemies' or representation of the 'enemy'. Lubitz could very well have hired a small plane, fly over that area and crash it whilst he is in it all alone because he is depressed and doesn't want to live anymore because he is afraid of losing his pilot license or better still do it in the privacy of his home and leave others out of it - so why didn't he do that?
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
Sorry 'JFDee' but this is what I'd call a 'red-herring'....

During flights we all must sometimes answer "nature's call"....to go pee, or even do a number 2.

In my experience? We leave the Flight Deck in full knowledge that the pilot there, a colleague, is trained, responsible and trustworthy.

We (well, I) don't encourage or suggest a fellow pilot leave to take a "bathroom-break". (That's actually a bit creepy).


I thought Luditz's suggestion to the Captain was creepy too, but I am not a pilot and do not know what the protocol is. But Luditz made it sound quite normal because the Captain did not go to the lavatory in Barcelona! So if only the poor Captain knew what was coming, he would have stayed put in the cockpit! But having said that, someone else had commented that a pilot who is intent on grounding a plane can take the other pilot by surprised and over-power him and still attempt/succeed at carrying out his ominous intent. The possibilities are endless....
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Personally? I would, when flying with someone I'd never met before, offer him or her the first leg of the trip. This way, I could assess ability, etc.).

IF I may digress a bit? A personal story. Started a trip sequence (pairing) with a person whom I'd never met, let her take the first leg....EWR-LAS. On short final, we had to conduct a "Go-Around"....(I could see the situation developing, and presumed that she did as well...MY mistake!).

I was TOO subtle, as I tried to remind her of the procedure for a 'Go-Around'....(reciting the 'Call-Outs' to help induce memory from simulator training.).

Suffice to say, once the Las Vegas Tower ('ATC') told us to 'Go-Around'? She froze....literally. My old Flight Instructor instincts then kicked in. I talked my F/O through it....did what I had to do to keep us safe, and all the while communicating with ATC. My F/O had what I'd call a "death-grip" on the control column...such panic. I calmly mentioned that the AutoPilot could be re-engaged....and my F/O relaxed after that...and flew the airplane back around to a safe landing on another runway AT KLAS.

How is this story relevant? Well....I was there, and could manage the situation. That Captain from 'GermanWings' was fooled, and lost his life as a result. Tragic.

(Edit: Some who read this might wonder why I didn't immediately "take-over"? I was in complete control, because I knew at ANY TIME I could "take-over", but I viewed it as a potential learning experience for this young co-pilot. Something that she could look back upon, and grow from).
 
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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
But having said that, someone else had commented that a pilot who is intent on grounding a plane can take the other pilot by surprised and over-power him and still attempt/succeed at carrying out his ominous intent. The possibilities are endless....

Not really 'endless'....though with horrid intent? please look up details of FedEx 705 (on Wikipedia)...a suicide attempt that failed, fortunately.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Express_Flight_705

I realize that many who are NOT in the aviation/airline industry possibly are unaware of these historical incidents/accidents. We who are in the industry study them extensively.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Not necessarily. Psychopaths can exhibit outward signs of complete calm, even as they contemplate heinous acts.
as can suicidal types, in my case I ended up sitting on the parapet of a railway bridge, calmly smoking a cigarette waiting for the next train, i was the calmest I had been in months, life had been hell and I now had a clear way out. I wasn't crying, panicking, or anything else, was just calmly focused on the though in the next few minutes a train would come, I would jump and it would all be over.

I was lucky, two of my neighbours, a gay couple who I got on with very well, walked past and asked me what I was doing. I told them straight, the next train was in 6 minutes and I intended to be under it. Luckily for me it took them about 4 to talk me into at least going back to theirs and hearing what they had to say before I did it. I can still remember one of them saying 'look mate, there's trains all night, you can always come back and jump if you really want to, at least pop in for a goodbye cup of tea.' They stayed up all night just listening to me and serving tea. they told me they understood, one of them, a guy called Jerry, told me about life before he came out and how he had tried to kill himself, I began to understand I was not alone and then, about 6am, agreed that they could take me to the doctors the following morning, and that was when I turned the corner and began the long road back from the edge.

About 1 in 4 people will suffer some kind of mental health issue at some point in their life, yet there is still a big taboo in society about even talking openly about PTSD, depression, stress, etc. People who do run the risk of being called mad, run the risk of social and workplace discrimination, an increase in the bullying that can have triggered the feeling in the first place and other types of fall out.

Me? I don't care, I am proud to be part of the great tradition of British eccentrics, I also work in 'the creative industries' and understand that creativity and metal illness often walk hand in hand. I've come to terms with my condition, know how to deal with it, and if other people can't then thats their loss and problem, not mine! But I know for many other people reaching that level of acceptance of their condition is not easy and I can't help but wondering how much fear of his own mental condition and others reaction to it was a cause in Lubitz 's case. and I wonder if society had a more enlightened and understanding of mental health conditions we wouldn't be having this conversation now.
 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.
While I empathise with your intent, your empathy here is I think misplaced.

I completely understand why people may think it odd. But I can help how I feel about it. I was a kid who desperately wanted to fly, in my case I was on the verge of joining the RAF because it gave me the chance of getting a license even if only for light aircraft. However life took me down a different path. But I still can't help feeling 'there but for the grace of god go I'. :(
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
Yep. I often feel I should have joined the military. I need structure, and I've never been good at providing it for myself. Unfortunately, I've been on psychiatric medications (for ADHD, then bilpolar II) since I was five and being off them for any period of time, as I understand is required for basic training, is not an option.

Mental illness is something that makes lives that should be easy (like mine, if I'm honest) much more difficult. I've never attempted suicide, but often thought about it in the dead of winter when my SAD is at it's worst. Depression is debilitating and isolating. Care for others is difficult when you can't bother to care for yourself. I can't condone what happened to 4U9525, of course, but I can identify with someone apparently deep in depression who wanted to end it, and had the means to do so. He died doing what he loved, but in the worst possible way.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Empathy should be applied across the board, and extended to Adam Lanza too. (Empathizing does not require condoning.)

An existence which was not only tortured by depression and suicidal thoughts but by egomaniacal attention-seeking as well must have been an incredibly difficult and painful one.
Empathy is not really a 'should' situation - you either do or you don't, you can't force it.
This is a mass-murder first, and a suicide second.
The thoughts that go into a suicide are very different from thoughts that go into killing a bunch of people first.
That takes an extra kind of psycopathy that is not really part of most people's suicidal impulses. (well, certainly not mine)
I don't wish to diminish Whitebeard's empathy for what being suicidal is like and it's an important issue, I just think it's not entirely applicable here.
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
Not really 'endless'....though with horrid intent? please look up details of FedEx 705 (on Wikipedia)...a suicide attempt that failed, fortunately.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Express_Flight_705

I realize that many who are NOT in the aviation/airline industry possibly are unaware of these historical incidents/accidents. We who are in the industry study them extensively.


Thanks a lot WeedWhacker for drawing my attention to the FedEx flight incident which firmly buttresses the point I made earlier that a pilot who is intent on grounding a plane will do so irrespective of whether the Captain remained in the cockpit or goes for a toilet break. Auburn Calloway, was not supposed to be on that FedEx flight because he and his crew had exceeded their maximum flying hours by just one minute the previous day - but did that stop him from attempting to carry out his heinous act? No! A man or woman who is intent on doing something will try no matter the safeguards in place to deter such an act. Whether he/she succeeds is another matter altogether - which was exactly my point. Calloway did not succeed because it was him versus 3 other strong men! Even though the desperate one-man squad clearly stood no chance against 3 strong able-bodied men, he was not deterred in his intent to murder his colleagues and ground the plane, was he? When people are in a certain place, and convinced that that is the only solution, the vision can sometimes be very tunnelled.

Flight details
Initially, Calloway was the flight engineer on this flight, but he and his crew exceeded the maximum flying hours by one minute the previous day, so the new three-man flight crew consisted of 49-year-old Captain David Sanders, 42-year-old First Officer James Tucker, and 39-year-old flight engineer Andrew Peterson. At the time of the incident, First Officer James Tucker held the position of Captain at Federal Express on the DC-10 and was also a check airman on the type. Aboard Flight 705, Tucker assumed the role of first officer. FedEx Flight 705 was scheduled to fly to San Jose, California with electronic equipment destined for Silicon Valley.
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In my humble opinion, more safeguards may only present with a different set of challenges as can be clearly demonstrated by the Germanwings incident but it is what we have to live with - reinforced bullet proof door which were introduced to deter terrorist hijacking only ended to serve another aim - the Captain being locked out! With all the will the world, that poor Captain stood no chance against that door! It breaks my heart! Poor man!
 
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Brainiachick

Active Member
Thank you @TWCobra for mentioning Egypt 990. Many have forgotten that event. (But, not those of us in the industry)....

Here, you have again assisted me to prove my point that these deliberate acts can happen regardless of all the precautions - 'the possibilities are endless.....' may sound like an exaggeration but it does indeed hold true in the examples you have highlighted yourself. In the case of the Egypt Air fatality of 1999, the offending pilot also put pressure on the Captain to let him take over even it was clearly not his turn. There was a clear schedule used by Egypt Air which the First Officer Al-Batouti breached! I am no pilot, but your thinking that only those in your industry know and remember air fatalities that most profoundly affect all of us is truly misguided.

Please do read the below:

Aircraft
Flight 990 was being flown in a Boeing 767-366ER aircraft with the registration SU-GAP, named Tuthmosis III after a pharaoh from the 18th Dynasty. The aircraft, a stretched extended-range version of the standard 767, was the 282nd 767 built. It was delivered to EgyptAir as a brand new aircraft on 26 September 1989.

Cockpit crew
Flight 990's cockpit crew consisted of 57-year-old Captain Ahmed El-Habashi, 36-year-old First Officer Adel Anwar, 52-year-old relief Captain Raouf Noureldin, 59-year-old relief First Officer Gameel Al-Batouti, and the airline's chief pilot for the Boeing 767, Captain Hatem Rushdy. Captain El-Habashi was a veteran pilot who had been with EgyptAir for more than 35 years and had accumulated approximately 14,400 total flight hours, more than 6,300 of which were in the 767. Relief First Officer Al-Batouti had close to 5,200 flight hours in the 767 and a total of roughly 12,500 hours.

Because of the 10-hour scheduled flight time, the flight required two complete flight crews, each consisting of one captain and one first officer. EgyptAir designated one crew as the "active crew" and the other as the "cruise crew", sometimes also referred to as the "relief crew". While there was no formal procedure specifying when each crew flew the aircraft, it was customary for the active crew to make the takeoff and fly the first four to five hours of the flight. The cruise crew then assumed control of the aircraft until about one to two hours prior to landing, at which point the active crew returned to the cockpit and assumed control of the aircraft. EgyptAir designated the captain of the active crew as the pilot-in-command or the commander of the flight.

While the cruise crew was intended to take over far into the flight, the relief first officer entered the cockpit and recommended that he relieve the command first officer 20 minutes after takeoff. The command first officer initially protested, but eventually agreed.
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And the list of commercial airline accidents is a very long one which you can find here on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accidents_and_incidents_involving_commercial_aircraft
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
But in this case, according to the cockpit recording, he made that offer twice, instead of just waiting for that 'call'. I think other captains may remember similar exchanges if they took place.

I completely agree. Following this weird request of Lubitz that his Captain should go to the toilet and that of Al-Batouti of Egypt Air of 1999 recommending he took over amidst protestation, because it was clearly not his turn or in line with policy, these may become indicators for pilots to refuse such requests from their colleagues outright. What an un-trusting working environment that would make for pilots, but better sorry than dead.
 
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Hevach

Senior Member.
Here, you have again assisted me to prove my point that these deliberate acts can happen regardless of all the precautions - 'the possibilities are endless.....' may sound like an exaggeration but it does indeed hold true in the examples you have highlighted yourself. In the case of the Egypt Air fatality of 1999, the offending pilot also put pressure on the Captain to let him take over even it was clearly not his turn. There was a clear schedule used by Egypt Air which the First Officer Al-Batouti breached! I am no pilot, but your thinking that only those in your industry know and remember air fatalities that most profoundly affect all of us is truly misguided.
He didn't say all, he said many. Which based on the social media chatter and even media reports calling this particular event unprecedented is true.

But yes, you're right: All precautions are only precautions. Foolproof, assuming spherical fools in a vacuum. Physical access and malicious intent are nearly impossible things to control for, almost any precaution could be circumvented by somebody with both, especially if they knew the systems.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Thanks a lot WeedWhacker for drawing my attention to the FedEx flight incident


You are welcome. Another event that perhaps is pertinent in this discussion is the one involving PSA 1771, in 1987:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Southwest_Airlines_Flight_1771

Slightly different perhaps (a disgruntled, fired employee who still had a previous airline/airport ID badge)...still, these instances are a tiny, tiny percentage of the huge number of normal, every-day flights and hard-working, sane people who operate and are employed by airlines all over the World.

I'm reminded of a spate of what came to be termed "going-postal" from a few years ago. Hang, let me search:
This reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_postal

I'm not certain there will likely be a way to "weed-out" such behaviour. Not given the large population diversity in this modern World.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
I think thats the crux of the matter, it is obvious the guy lived to fly so to speak, and the fear of that love being removed through health issues, both optical and mental tipped him over the edge.


I had a similar opinion of myself, in that I deluded myself that I was indispensable and irreplaceable and having accrued a large EOD and CIED database in my head, truly felt that 'going sick' would let everyone down.

Regardless of PR campaigns, there remains a stigma attached to mental health issues in the British Military, and I assume this is common in other cliquey professions. I needed a couple of near-misses for me to seek help, and it was actually of great relief that I could stop pretending.


Whilst at the time my future looked bleak, as I felt my value was entirely my experience and the contents of my head, I have since had assistance in raising my 'share-price' in other areas, so there ARE alternative if you look hard enough.

We actually know not much about Mr Lubitz, some details that point to explanations, but if he was secretly on medication, these can have unpleasant side effects, especially if he sourced them by dubious means.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
I am envisioning this thread as more of a sort of "explanation" for non-pilots, and less of an actual "de-bunk" of anything.
And, some other issues have been raised, as well?

I will leave that to the owners/moderators to determine, and decide.

This post has meandered a bit, but I think it adds value.

No-one is suggesting that Mr Lubitz had PTSD, but this project does have some powerful imagery about how one believes they are seen by others, and how they see themselves, and how they really are:

http://distractify.com/pinar/veteran-vision-project/

From the little we know about Mr Lubitz, he certainly concealed some issues he was having from his employer and aviation authorities.
 
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Faithless

Member
Initially I was inclined to believe the murder/suicide theory. Nearly all of the facts released so far point to this.
There's one thing nagging at me though. In the recent CVR transcript it states that Lubitz put on his O2 mask, which is why they could hear him breathing above the noise of the captain trying to gain entry.

I'm wondering why, if he was in a controlled decent with no depressurisation, knowing what was about to happen, did he put on the oxygen mask? I'm Hoping some of the pilots here can offer an opinion? I know its only a tiny detail but it seems rather odd. Or does it? Obviously none of his behaviour in the final 15 mins was 'normal'.

Again, I'm still leaning towards murder/suicide, not trying to fuel any conspiracy. Just made me think that maybe, just maybe, Lubitz was confused?
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
Obviously none of his behaviour in the final 15 mins was 'normal'.

in truth, I think this answers your question

suicide has to be one of the most irrational acts a human can do - so expecting rationality seems pointless

(I am abstracting suicide from assisted dying and that ilk)
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
Initially I was inclined to believe the murder/suicide theory. Nearly all of the facts released so far point to this.
There's one thing nagging at me though. In the recent CVR transcript it states that Lubitz put on his O2 mask, which is why they could hear him breathing above the noise of the captain trying to gain entry.

I'm wondering why, if he was in a controlled decent with no depressurisation, knowing what was about to happen, did he put on the oxygen mask? I'm Hoping some of the pilots here can offer an opinion? I know its only a tiny detail but it seems rather odd. Or does it? Obviously none of his behaviour in the final 15 mins was 'normal'.

Again, I'm still leaning towards murder/suicide, not trying to fuel any conspiracy. Just made me think that maybe, just maybe, Lubitz was confused?

That Lubitz may have been confused in the final moments is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. To say that he may have suffered a mental breakdown of some sort or a serious distortion of reality is also not far fetched given his difficulties. These are all possibilities, but the evidence points strongly to murder/suicide.

I came across this today and was quite intrigued by it - such is the advantage of freedom of speech:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/201...ings-plane-crash_n_6983132.html?ncid=webmail1
 
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