While the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) was holding its first press conference in Paris yesterday, following the recovery of one of the Germanwings flight 4U 9525 two black boxes, although without giving any additional elements concerning the reasons for the accident (a quite normal action in this sort of situation), the New York Times seems to have had access to other information.
According to the American newspaper, one of the two pilots, it is not known which one, was outside the cockpit, and unable to regain access. According to the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) recording, he repeatedly knocked on the door, but without response.
This information was given to the New York Times journalist by one of the people involved in the investigations. The information was also transmitted to the French Agence France-Presse by a source close to the investigation.
As a reminder, following the attacks of 11th September 2001, in the United States, commercial aircraft cockpit doors are armoured, and equipped with a digital code, known only to the crew members. Authorisation to open the door – or not - is given by the pilot/s by activating one of two buttons : "Unlock" or "Lock". In addition, a latch allows the door to be locked from the cockpit interior.
Does this indicate that the accident was due to illness or a voluntary act of the lone pilot in the cockpit ? If it was illness, why was the interior latch locked ? This leads to all sorts of assumptions. The BEA has not confirmed the New York Times information.
What remains to be known is the subject of discussion between the two pilots before one of them left the cockpit ; for the moment a complete mystery. The BEA has listened to the black box audio recording, and should now respond quickly to confirm or refute this information.
Lufthansa and Germanwings will today inform about further details on the accident involving its Germanwings flight 4U 9525. Carsten Spohr, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, together with Thomas Winkelmann, Spokesperson of the Executive Board, Germanwings, will hold a press conference at 14h30 in Cologne.