New rules in wake of airline crash, not new for US flights

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (MEDIA GENERAL/KHON2/AP) – Immediate changes are being made across Europe after it was discovered that the Germanwings co-pilot intentionally crashed the plane killing all 150 people on board. The co-pilot waited for the pilot to leave the cockpit and then locked him out allowing him to steer the plane toward the ground.

Just 24 hours ago, the CEO of Lufthansa Airlines, Carsten Spohr said during a difficult news conference, “It doesn’t matter what kind of safety measures you have. A single case like this cannot be excluded by any system you have.” But, already changes are being made.

Just one day after those findings, Europe’s aviation safety agency is recommending all airlines across the continent always have two people in the cockpit of a flying aircraft. Some airlines have already started following the rule.

It’s also a rule airlines operating in the United States already have in place. KHON2 spoke with aviation analyst, Peter Forman, who said the FAA requires that there must always be at least one other crew member with the pilot in the cockpit.

“So if the pilot who was upfront passed out for some reason, then you would have another person there to open the door and let the other pilot back in,” Forman explained.

For example, if the pilot needs to go to the bathroom, a crew member may take his or her place for the time being.

On Thursday, during Spohr’s news conference he said this about co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, “He was 100% fit to fly without any restrictions. His flight performance was perfect. There was nothing to worry about.”

We now know that wasn’t true either. Unbeknownst to the airline, Lubitz had failed to tell them about medical papers that said he was to be on medical leave. We do not yet know if that illness was mental or physical.

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