Friday, 24 March 2023

Germanwings flight 9525

Germanwings flight 9525 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN/LEBL), Spain to Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS/EDDL), Germany.

The flight was operated by Germanwings, a low-cost carrier owned by the German airline Lufthansa. On the 24th of March 2015, the aircraft, an Airbus A320-211, crashed 100 km (62 miles) north-west of Nice in the French Alps. All 144 passengers and all six crew members were killed. It was the only fatal crash involving a Germanwings aircraft during the company's 18 years in operation.

The crash was deliberately caused by the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, who had previously been treated for suicidal tendencies and declared unfit to work by his doctor. Lubitz kept this information from his employer and instead reported for duty. Shortly after reaching cruise altitude and while the captain was out of the cockpit, Lubitz locked the cockpit door and initiated a controlled descent that continued until the aircraft hit a mountainside.

The collision with the ground was due to the deliberate and planned action of the co-pilot who decided to commit suicide while alone in the cockpit. The process for medical certification of pilots, in particular self-reporting in case of decrease in medical fitness between two periodic medical evaluations, did not succeed in preventing the co-pilot, who was experiencing mental disorder with psychotic symptoms, from exercising the privilege of his licence.
The following factors may have contributed to the failure of this principle:
- the co-pilot's probable fear of losing his ability to fly as a professional pilot if he had reported his decrease in medical fitness to an AME;
- the potential financial consequences generated by the lack of specific insurance covering the risks of loss of income in case of unfitness to fly;
- the lack of clear guidelines in German regulations on when a threat to public safety outweighs the requirements of medical confidentiality.

Security requirements led to cockpit doors designed to resist forcible intrusion by unauthorized persons. This made it impossible to enter the flight compartment before the aircraft impacted the terrain in the French Alps.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Germanwings
Code: 4U/GWI
Airline: Airbus A320-211
Registration: D-AIPX
Serial Number: 0147
Engines: 2 x CFMI CFM56-5A1
First Flew: 29th November 1990
Age: 24 years 4 months

It made its first flight on the 29th of November 1990 and was delivered to Lufthansa on the 5th of February 1991. The aircraft was leased to Germanwings from the 1st of June 2003 until mid-2004, then returned to Lufthansa on the 22nd of July 2004 and remained with the airline until it was transferred to Germanwings again on the 31st of January 2014. The aircraft had accumulated about 58,300 flight hours on 46,700 flights.

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