Extra safety after 9/11 kept doomed plane's cockpit locked - co-pilot's parents in shock

The tragic irony from Germanwings crash in the French Alps this week, assuming that the scenario of the co-pilot's reckless suicide proves the most prevalent, is the fact that the impassable cockpit door was a result of safety measures instituted after 9/11.

In the wake of the simultaneous terrorist hijackings back in 2001, aviation officials and airline companies made entry into an airliner's cockpit almost impossible for would-be hijackers.

The fact that a codepad sequence to open the cockpit door was overridden by the co-pilot remaining at the helm is one such safety facet, ostensibly to prevent anyone from seizing a crewmember and forcing them to enter the code for access to the cockpit.

That's apparently what 28-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz did when pilot Patrick Sonderheimer tried to re-enter the cockpit after a toilet break.

ICAO clarified on Thursday amid the furor over the crash that when a crewmember needs to get into the cockpit and doesn't know or remember the access code, a simple knock on the door or pushing an electronic ringer will suffice.

Nevertheless, according to experienced flight crewmembers, a pre-arranged password or even a set of passwords are agreed to in crew meetings before every flight. Moreover, most modern airliners also give pilots a camera view of the area just outside the cockpit door.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, the parents of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learned that authorities suspected their son crashed the plane into the mountainside only moments before a press conference by the Marseilles prosecutor on Thursday.


They couple were told of the information before it was made public to a throng of waiting reporters and television cameras.

Lubitz's parents had...

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