The co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 Andreas Lubitz was locked inside the cockpit by himself at the time of the crash. The door defaults to a locked position when closed but the Lubitz refused to unlock the door upon captain’s request.
According to an Airbus video describing the standard procedure for entering the flight deck, the captain of the Airbus A320 would have requested reentry into the cockpit by first notifying the co-pilot by phone that he wanted to enter before pressing the hashtag on a keypad outside the cockpit door.
A buzzer would then sound for three seconds inside the cockpit alerting the co-pilot to unlock the door—something Lubitz didn’t do.
If it were a case of an incapacitated co-pilot, the captain could have entered a numerical code that would trigger an override of the lock.
The alert would then sound for 30 seconds before the door unlocks, giving the person outside five seconds to enter. However, this emergency unlock process can be overridden by manually switching the control to the lock position. In this case, the keypad and buzzer are deactivated and the door remains locked for five minutes unless otherwise unlocked from inside the flight deck.
“He operated this button for a reason we don’t know yet,” Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters. “But it appears that the reason was to destroy this plane.”
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