Why were the voice recordings of the cockpit voice recorder not clearly assigned?
The assignment of the captain’s and copilot’s voices was purely speculative
As in every Airbus A320, various microphones were installed in the cockpit of the crashed Germanwings plane and these recorded the audible activity on the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Each microphone is assigned to a separate track on the CVR with a recording time of 30 minutes.
The various microphones record the verbal communication of the pilots in addition to any kind of noise in the cockpit. These sounds include, for example, alarms in the cockpit, adjustments to the control knobs (as far as they are acoustically perceptible), repositioning of the pilots’ seats, the closing and opening of the cockpit door, etc.
Even with acoustic recording of the opening and closing the cockpit door, it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that someone indeed exits or enters. This would only be possible with video recordings, which do not exist.
On page HA 05111 of the French Investigative File (German translation) the following assignment of the microphones and recorded tracks were documented during the playback of the CVR on March 26, 2015 by gendarmes of the Air Traffic Gendarmerie SRTA Paris-Charles-De-Gaulle: “Tracks 1 and 2 correspond to the headsets of the captain and the copilot.” From this it can be concluded that track 1 is assigned to the captain and track 2 to the copilot.
However, later on page HA 05129 of the same investigation file, transcriptions of the CVR two days later on 28 March 2015 by gendarmes, four BEA engineers and a person of German descent at the Air Traffic Gendarmerie SRTA Paris-Charles-De-Gaulle, indicate that the microphones and thus the track assignments were the other way around. This is documented as follows:
Track 1: Copilot’s headset
Track 2: Captain’s headset
To prove beyond doubt and to ensure that the copilot, Andreas Lubitz, and the captain, Patrick Sondenheimer, were actually present in the cockpit during the last 30 minutes, a voice identification should have been carried out. For this, one would have a close relative (for example the co-pilot’s parents and the captain’s wife) listen to the CVR playback.
The reality was different: According to HA 05127, at the CVR listening session on 28 March 2015 at the Air Traffic Police SRTA Paris-Charles-De-Gaulle the following conclusion was reached: “As some tracks are difficult to understand, the session is interrupted to clarify the relevant voice excerpts. Due to the facts collected in these listening sessions, we can assume that the powerful voice captured by the various tracks is that of the flight captain.”
This is confirmed in a further session by gendarmes of the Aviation Gendarmerie SRTA Paris-Charles-De-Gaulle on 28 May 2015. On page HA 05266 of the French investigation file the following is documented: “We determine that the strong voice emanating from the various tracks is that of the captain, Mr. Sondenheimer, and Mr. Lubitz is the weak voice.”
From the point of view of Andreas Lubitz’s parents the following is noted:
- Andreas Lubitz had a normal male voice. The statement that he had a weak voice is purely speculative and unproven.
- Andreas Lubitz’s parents have applied to various institutions to listen personally to the cockpit voice recorder and thus to contribute to a voice identification. Specifically, these institutions were:
- German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation
- the Dusseldorf public prosecutor
- BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile) in France
All these requests were rejected with absurd and unreasonable explanations.
In response to a Lubitz family request, the Dusseldorf prosecutor informed them that neither he nor the BFU were ever in possession of the original cockpit voice records or a copy. The German investigation authorities were never provided with this important document of the accident investigation…