GermanWings: Could Airlines implement this security Idea? Watch

Bern Herkins
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I should imagine that everyone reading this has heard the saddening and increasingly sickening news of GermanWings Airbus crash in the alps earlier this week.
It appears that the Captain stepped out of the cockpit and left the co-pilot in control, on returning to the cockpit the Captain was unable to gain access as the door was rightfully locked yet the co-pilot did not allow the Captain back in and sent the plane into a descent.

I have been thinking about a possible solution to this problem and am curious to what others make of this idea.

I believe Air Traffic Control should have more power to control the goings on within the plane. I propose that a small, password protected terminal be placed outside of the cockpit that can be used to communicate with ATC. This would allow pilots, locked out of the cockpit in situations like this, to communicate with ATC, giving them advanced knowledge of what is happening.
The second part of my idea is more bold and perhaps less practical?
Air Traffic Control could send encrypted radio waves to the aircraft that when received by on board computers and authorised by the pilots terminal (in pArt one of my idea) can overide the locked door of the cockpit.
Obviously this radiowave could be faked or blocked by hijackers but because the pilots terminal is also required then hijackers should have a harder time opening the door.

Anyway, that is my idea, what do you think?
My thoughts go out to all who lost their lives and especially to the pilot who desperately tried to regain control of the cockpit.
RIP
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Drewski
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Or you could just have a rule saying there can never be one person alone on the flightdeck? Damn sight cheaper than your idea, and far easier to implement.
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jameswhughes
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If you give someone on the ground control over what happens on the plane, that opens up a whole new wave of possibilities and problems - could you guarantee that air traffic control wouldn't be compromised? Could a passenger use this as a way to get into the cockpit?

The new rule of not leaving anyone alone in there is simpler and cheaper, and can be implemented straight away.
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joey11223
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One idea I had, albeit again it could cause other issues, is unless I'm totally mistaken when the flight is at stable cruising altitude it is in autopilot (I suppose cruise control for cars), and the pilot takes over if necessary, and for take off and landing (albeit even some of that is getting automated now I think). So since the renegade pilot has to take over control of the pilot to suddenly descend and crash into a mountain, maybe it could work in such a way that both pilots must be present for take-off/landing anyway, and during the rest of the flight if the pilot(s) want to take control of the aircraft for some reason, then do to so an 8 digit code, or use of two keys, must be used to allow this, each pilot knowing half the code, or having one key on their person.
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Arbolus
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(Original post by Drewski)
Or you could just have a rule saying there can never be one person alone on the flightdeck? Damn sight cheaper than your idea, and far easier to implement.
(Original post by jameswhughes)
If you give someone on the ground control over what happens on the plane, that opens up a whole new wave of possibilities and problems - could you guarantee that air traffic control wouldn't be compromised? Could a passenger use this as a way to get into the cockpit?

The new rule of not leaving anyone alone in there is simpler and cheaper, and can be implemented straight away.
What if one person overpowers the other? If all of the pilot's attention is on his instruments then he could easily be taken by surprise - in fact, I'm slightly surprised the co-pilot in this case didn't do just that rather than first try and persuade the pilot to leave the cockpit. Then you'd be back to exactly the same problem as before.
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Duncan2012
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If money's no object - let's have CCTV broadcasting to the galley and relayed to ATC, ATC master override with control from the ground, non-lethal anaesthetic gas for the cockpit controlled from the galley and ATC...
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Drewski
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(Original post by Arbolus)
What if one person overpowers the other? If all of the pilot's attention is on his instruments then he could easily be taken by surprise - in fact, I'm slightly surprised the co-pilot in this case didn't do just that rather than first try and persuade the pilot to leave the cockpit. Then you'd be back to exactly the same problem as before.
Crew are instructed to check in on the flight deck periodically. Installing something like a silent alarm would be simple enough for that.

There was no persuasion to leave the flight deck in this case, the captain simply left to go to the toilet.

Don't underestimate the effort taken to fully incapacitate someone, that's not a simple action and in the inevitable struggle it'd be an automatic reaction to unlock the door.
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Arkasia
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Makes no sense, because then it means Air Traffic Control could be compromised.

I personally believe each crew member/flight attendant should be given a unique code, and if all are entered within a short period of time, the door unlocks.
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Manitude
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(Original post by Arbolus)
What if one person overpowers the other? If all of the pilot's attention is on his instruments then he could easily be taken by surprise - in fact, I'm slightly surprised the co-pilot in this case didn't do just that rather than first try and persuade the pilot to leave the cockpit. Then you'd be back to exactly the same problem as before.
The proposed policy would reduce the chances of another tragedy occurring rather than eliminating the chance. It's a policy that wouldn't cost much to implement and could have prevented last week's tragedy. It's surely better to do something (even if it's not 100% effective) than to do nothing, no?
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by joey11223)
One idea I had, albeit again it could cause other issues, is unless I'm totally mistaken when the flight is at stable cruising altitude it is in autopilot (I suppose cruise control for cars), and the pilot takes over if necessary, and for take off and landing (albeit even some of that is getting automated now I think). So since the renegade pilot has to take over control of the pilot to suddenly descend and crash into a mountain, maybe it could work in such a way that both pilots must be present for take-off/landing anyway, and during the rest of the flight if the pilot(s) want to take control of the aircraft for some reason, then do to so an 8 digit code, or use of two keys, must be used to allow this, each pilot knowing half the code, or having one key on their person.
Or just have two people in the cockpit at all times.
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joey11223
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
Or just have two people in the cockpit at all times.
My only concern about stewardess going in when pilot goes out, though in fairness this could happen between two guys as well depending on strength levels, is that if the co-pilot/pilot really has the intent, they could still surprise launch themselves at whomever else is in there and knock them out, then take control. Outlandish for the most part though. Basically I suppose the point is this sort of thing is insanely rare. It's a bit like saying how do we make buses safe because the driver MIGHT drive off a bridge on purpose, or how to do we make houses safer because a determined homicidal thief MIGHT break through a window and kill someone inside before stealing their possessions.
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domonict
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(Original post by Arkasia)
I personally believe each crew member/flight attendant should be given a unique code, and if all are entered within a short period of time, the door unlocks.
That is the system at the moment but the code can be overridden by the occupant of the cabin. El Al have cabin toilets so that the pilots do not leave.

While taking remote control is one ideA, what happens if someone else manages it?
Also aircraft are out of range/contact for a long time on long haul.
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Arkasia
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(Original post by domonict)
That is the system at the moment but the code can be overridden by the occupant of the cabin. El Al have cabin toilets so that the pilots do not leave. While taking remote control is one ideA, what happens if someone else manages it? Also aircraft are out of range/contact for a long time on long haul.
No, it's not. There is a backup code that unlocks the door (given the person inside the cockpit doesn't over-ride it), but that is one code per plane, not one code per person. I'm talking about each flight attendant receiving a code unique to them, and if all unique codes are entered, then the door opens, with no override possible.
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domonict
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So a hijacker can threaten all the crew outside and gain entry?
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by joey11223)
My only concern about stewardess going in when pilot goes out, though in fairness this could happen between two guys as well depending on strength levels, is that if the co-pilot/pilot really has the intent, they could still surprise launch themselves at whomever else is in there and knock them out, then take control. Outlandish for the most part though. Basically I suppose the point is this sort of thing is insanely rare. It's a bit like saying how do we make buses safe because the driver MIGHT drive off a bridge on purpose, or how to do we make houses safer because a determined homicidal thief MIGHT break through a window and kill someone inside before stealing their possessions.
Suprise launch themselves?

Ever been in the cockpit of a plane? You could hardly Suprise launch yourself out of the seats?

So you have a concern about an event happening that we're talking is less likely to happen than winning the lottery and then winning the football pools in the same week.
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Sephiroth
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Or just put a toilet in the cockpit and don't allow the pilots out at all.
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Drewski
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(Original post by Sephiroth)
Or just put a toilet in the cockpit and don't allow the pilots out at all.
Cockpits are far too small for that, would require a complete redesign of tens of thousands of aircraft, that's far too expensive to be practical, not when other (vastly cheaper) measures solve the problem just as well.
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Sephiroth
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(Original post by Drewski)
Cockpits are far too small for that, would require a complete redesign of tens of thousands of aircraft, that's far too expensive to be practical, not when other (vastly cheaper) measures solve the problem just as well.
Just replace the seats with toilets and they won't even have to get up. :P
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Drewski
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(Original post by Sephiroth)
Just replace the seats with toilets and they won't even have to get up. :P
Ah, the glamorous world of an airline pilot!
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Maker
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(Original post by Sephiroth)
Just replace the seats with toilets and they won't even have to get up. :P
Adult nappies are cheaper and you can do that straight away.
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