Monthly Archives: July 2019

With regard to the Frontal 21 television report on 18 June 2019

Between claims and reality

A Frontal 21 television report on 18 June reported on the Germanwings crash. According to its own statement, Frontal 21 claims to uncover grievances, stimulate discussions and “get to the bottom of” certain topics. But the broadcast on Germanwings demonstrated precisely the opposite: The themes were poorly researched and many statements wrong, as the examples below show.

Cockpit door locked from the inside

In the broadcast the following statement is made: “Andreas Lubitz sat alone for several minutes in the cockpit, had locked the door from the inside, locking out the flight captain”.

As we have already shown in our August 2018 article (see above link), it is verifiably established that the cockpit door was not locked from inside. It is noteworthy, however, that despite having the emergency access code crew members could not open the cockpit door. If for some reason the door is not manually unlocked from the inside, the cockpit can be opened by entering the correct code on the keypad. Mr van Beveren, who prepared an expert report on the Germanwings crash (on our behalf), had learned that shortly after the accident, hints from Germanwings insiders indicated that this keypad had already malfunctioned in an earlier incident: On the ground, the cockpit door was accidentally shut and automatically locked but could not be opened using the keypad. This is an important clue that you, Frontal 21, should have investigated.


Also, the programme says: “At first glance, Andreas Lubitz appears sporty and fit, but suffered from depression and sleep and anxiety disorders”. At the time of the crash Andreas did not suffer from depression, as prosecutor Kumpa concluded (see above link).

The closing note of the Düsseldorf prosecutor states: “On the one hand, according to the results of the investigation, there are no indications that Andreas Lubitz was mentally ill when he was hired as a flight attendant and later as a pilot at Germanwings.” And further, it was determined: “None of the treating physicians in 2014/2015 — be they psychiatric specialists or other doctors – diagnosed depression with Andreas Lubitz at that time. In addition, no physician or therapist detected suicidal thoughts or were any reported by the patient. There was also no evidence of atypical aggressive behavior.”

Andreas Lubitz did not suffer from depression at the time of the crash.

Indeed, Andreas was treated from November 2008 to April 2009 for depression, seven years before the crash, and had reported this to his employer (i.e., Lufthansa). After recovering in 2009, he was invited by the flight school to continue his training, and completed it successfully. In all broadcasts so far the question is always raised about how someone with such an illness could be allowed into the cockpit. Unsurprisingly, it is brought up again by a family member in the Frontal 21 programme.

It should be said once again that Andreas had completely recovered in 2009, otherwise he would not have been able to start his training again. And let us add that as parents we would not have allowed our child to continue flying and perhaps sacrifice him as a consequence.

We have tried to explain the possible cause of his eye problem 2014/2015 in an article from October 2017 (see link above).

As it can directly affect every passenger, should not the civil aviation topic described there be given more public attention?

Final remarks

The Frontal 21 broadcast talks about so-called “inevitable consequences”.

It is stated that the four-eyes principle (i.e., always at least two people in the cockpit) was introduced in 2015, but as the policy went almost completely unnoticed by the flying public it was abolished two years later. Furthermore, in their final report the French investigators demand clear rules for doctors as to whether and when it is necessary to overrule “physician/patient confidentiality” without them having to fear legal consequences. Lawyer Ulrich von Jeinsen, who represents relatives, criticizes the fact that this has not happened so far. Obviously, the responsible authorities do not see any need for action and consider such new measures (also demanded by the relatives) to be unproductive. Well, perhaps a suitable measure would be to search again elsewhere for the real reasons for the crash.

All in all, this contribution by Frontal 21 was poorly researched, just a renewed rewarming of previously communicated content, and thus completely superfluous.


further posts:

Comprehensive investigations of the crash cause?