By Mark Swint Author of “OCULUS: The Zebulon Initiative
I must step away from the normal issues of this blog to speak about the crash of Germanwings flight 9525 in France yesterday. As many of might know, I am a senior captain for a major U.S. Airline and I fly Boeing 777s. In fact, I am in Hong Kong on a trip right now.
I have listened, as have many of you, to the endless analysis on the 24 hour news media. I am appalled by the things I hear and I suppose those of you who are not pilots might be even more confused than I. Let me clear a few things up for you.
Anytime an aircraft is above 29,000 feet it must be on autopilot. the autopilot will maintain the aircraft on its planned course and keep it at its last assigned altitude until given fresh commands by the flight crew. Secondly, while the door on today’s airliners are very secure there is a code that will give a pilot on the outside access to the cockpit UNLESS the pilots in the cockpit actively deny that code. Denying the code will lock the door for 30 minutes from any further attempt to enter via code entry. So, the fact that the pilot who left the cockpit could not regain entry to the flight deck indicates that the pilot inside was actively keeping him out. Now, Richard Quest on CNN was adamant that the highest probability was that the pilot at the controls most probably had a medical event of some kind. I respectfully disagree. If the pilot on the flight deck had, for example, passed out, the pilot on the outside would have been able to enter the cockpit 30 seconds after entering the proper code. Also, the autopilot would have continued to fly the plane on its planned course and at its assigned altitude. The fact that a pilot made a normal radio contact with the controllers and then went radio silent at about the same time that the plane began an unusually steep descent indicates that this was an intentional act of hijack, piracy, terrorism…call it what you may. the aircraft descended for eight minutes until impact at a rate of descent greater than that possible with the autopilot in control. In fact, the aircraft would have had to either deploy the speed brakes on the wings (Which is done manually) or the plane would have had to exceed its maximum airspeed limitations in order to get a 4,000 foot per minute rate of descent.
I find it odd that the news agencies have all the details on the flight hours of the pilots and their years of experience and yet will not give us their names. Why is this? I fear political correctness is interfering or ele political pressure is being exerted to quash that information. Either way this whole thing stinks. But make no mistake…this was not an accident.