Days of Change

Individual Terror | March 26, 2015

There is solid evidence that a German plane was crashed into a mountainside by the co-pilot and an unfortunate gap in a security feature used to prevent terrorism.

Back in the old days of hijacking, Flight crews were threatened into flying passenger jets to other locations. The hijacked plane to Cuba was a common story. In those days, you did what they asked and people didn’t necessarily get hurt. On September 11, 2001, the flight crew was murdered as an incentive to get into the plane, or terrorists simply broke due the the weakness of the doors. The pilots were then killed and the planes were crashed.

With hijacking being a death sentence, passengers themselves have often been the law enforcement on flights. At the same time, protection of pilots was made more important. Doors to the cockpit are reinforced. Locking mechanisms make it difficult for even a pilot to get back into the cockpit in case they are being coerced into opening the door.

Lufthansa apparently had an electronic lockout system. Pilot 1 needs Pilot 2 to release the door to get back inside the cockpit. If Pilot 2 is incapacitated, Pilot 1 needs to wait about a minute until the lockout releases. If Pilot 1 is compromised, Pilot 2 can keep him out. It also seems that if Pilot 2 wants to crash the plane, he can lock out Pilot 1 indefinitely.

This kind of procedure should be more secret than the stupid TSA screening methods that are barely effective. Still, the story is that the US has a less automatic system If Pilot 1 steps out, a flight attendant has to remain in the cockpit as a second person. This way, if Pilot 2 is incapacitated, she (or he) can release the door to the cockpit from the inside. This would also make it much harder for Pilot 2 to crash the plane on his own, as the second person might be able to get the door released.

The good news is that plane travel is still extremely safe given the number of deaths per passenger mile traveled. Modern countries with modern technology keep death and misery down to an incredible extent. This tragedy seems to reveal the unfortunate lack of purpose in people’s lives. We spend less time thinking about the sickness of the soul and are faced with examples of it. This pilot was one sick person.

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1 Comment

  1. We spend less time thinking about the sickness of the soul and are faced with examples of it.</i

    Psychiatry has co-opted the soul. It's now mental or emotional illness, with the sick person's race and class determining whether he's a responsible adult or society's victim. Where's a clergyman o metaphysician when you need one?

    Comment by Mary — March 26, 2015 @ 11:31 pm

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