Official: 1 pilot locked out of Alpine crash plane cockpit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Official: 1 pilot locked out of Alpine crash plane cockpit

Posted: Updated:
PARIS (AP) - One of the pilots of the German airliner that crashed in the Alps was apparently locked out of the cockpit when the plane went down, an official with knowledge of black box audio recordings said Thursday.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the details emerged from cockpit audio recovered from the mangled black box found among the debris of the aircraft. It was unclear which pilot may have been outside.

The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns budget carrier Germanwings, has described the pilots as "experienced and trained." The co-pilot was just 18 months out of flight school.

The Airbus A320, on a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, inexplicably began to descend from cruising altitude after losing radio contact with ground control and slammed into a remote mountainside in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.

The A320 is designed with safeguards to allow emergency entry if a pilot inside is unresponsive, but the override code known to the crew does not go into effect - and indeed goes into a five-minute lockdown - if the person inside the cockpit specifically denies entry, according to an Airbus training video and a pilot who has six years of experience with the jets.

The pilot, who demanded anonymity because he did not want to meddle in an ongoing investigation, said airlines in Europe are not required to have two people in the cockpit at all times. European regulators have refused to comment on the regulation when contacted by The AP.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the standard U.S. operating procedure is that if one of the pilots leaves - for example to use the toilet - a flight attendant takes their spot in the cockpit.

The New York Times earlier quoted an unidentified investigator as saying someone can be heard knocking on the cockpit door. The Times quoted the source as saying: "And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer."

Lufthansa has refused to identify the pilots, or give details of ages and nationality, but it said the co-pilot joined Germanwings in September 2013, directly after training, and had flown 630 hours.

The captain had more than 6,000 hours of flying time and been Germanwings pilot since May 2014, having previously flown for Lufthansa and Condor, Lufthansa said.


David Rising in Berlin and Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly