By Banyan Ryan
“For God’s sake, open the door!” the Captain screamed as he slammed on the cockpit door, trying to get in.
On Tuesday, March 24th, Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed, killing all 150 passengers. Reports say the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, drove the plane into a mountain in the French Alps after the Captain left the cockpit to go to the restroom, leaving Lubitz alone and in control of the plane. According to BILD publication, who released a summary of a currently unreleased ‘black box’ recording from the cockpit, the Captain can be heard from outside the cockpit screaming.
Questions have been raised as to how secure German airline protocols truly are. According to an Airbus training video made in 2001 regarding how to safely use cockpit doors, a codepad is built outside the cockpit in case both pilots are unresponsive, allowing whoever is outside the doors emergency entry. It requires them to enter an emergency access code, which triggers a thirty second timer until imminent unlocking. However, if any action is taken inside the cockpit to deny entry, the door goes into a five-minute lockdown period. Meaning that whoever is in the cockpit at any time has complete control over who may enter.
America has different airline protocols than most other countries. For instance, if one of the pilots leaves the cockpit for any reason, a flight attendant must stand in place of the absent pilot until his/her return. This assures that there are always two people in the cockpit at all times. German airlines do not have such regulations, which has lead many to consider bringing them over after the Airbus A320 incident.
Whether or not these changes are made to Germany’s airline protocol does affect people’s willingness to fly. When asked if she would still fly to Germany if the Airbus’ current protocols were not changed, special education teacher April Holmes says “Probably not. It would make me feel nervous.”
Senior students Travis Conn and Adriana Glausi both agree that changing Germanwings rules to fit more with America’s more strict protocols is a decent idea. Glausi suggests that “they should test all pilots before flying to make sure that they aren’t addicted to drugs, are alcoholics or have any mental illness that would put others in danger.” However, she says that she would still fly to Germany even if these changes were not added to their airline requirements.
Conn has a differing opinion. When asked if he would still fly to Germany, he replied “Only if it were important, like if I was visiting a family member who lived there. If it were any other reason, most likely no.”