Chilling recording of the last 10 minutes on Germanwings flight released

2015-05-07 09:02
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Cape Town - The BEA, the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority has released the Preliminary Report on the Safety Investigation into the fatal Germanwings flight crash that happened in the French Alps on 24 March this year. 

The report, which contains all preliminary evidence to the case, also types out the last ten minutes of the flight. The chilling sounds give some insight into the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz's last moments alone in the cockpit. It is presumed that Lubitz, who had a history of mental illness, purposely crashed the plane killing all six crew members (2 flight crew and 4 cabin crew) and 144 passengers on board.

The report, written in chronological order, reads as follows: 

At 9 h 02 min 54, autopilot n°2 was engaged in ‘‘CLIMB’’ and ‘‘NAV’’ mode; autothrust
had been engaged about a minute earlier.

At 9 h 12 min 15, during the climb, the buzzer to request access to the cockpit
sounded for one second. Noises similar to the cockpit door opening and then closing
were recorded, following which a flight attendant was present in the cockpit. The
three crew members then started a conversation about how the stop at Barcelona
had gone.

At 9 h 15 min 53, noises like those of the opening then the closing of the cockpit door
were recorded.

The flight attendant left the cockpit. Following that, some discussions took place
between the co-pilot and the Captain about managing the delay that resulted from
late departure from Barcelona. At 9 h 27 min 20, the aeroplane levelled off at a cruise
altitude of 38,000 ft. The flight crew was then in contact with the Marseille en-route
control centre on the 133.330 MHz frequency.

At 9 h 29 min 40, the flight crew was transferred to the 127.180 MHz frequency of the
Marseille control centre.

At 9 h 30 min 00, the Captain read back the controller’s clearance allowing
him to fly direct to the IRMAR point: ‘‘Direct IRMAR Merci Germanwings one eight Golf’’.
This was the last communication between the flight crew and ATC.

At 9 h 30 min 08, the Captain told the co-pilot that he was leaving the cockpit and
asked him to take over radio communications, which the co-pilot read back.

At 9 h 30 min 11, the heading started to decrease and stabilised about a minute later
around 23°, which is consistent with a route towards the IRMAR point.

At 9 h 30 min 13, noises of a pilot’s seat movements were recorded. 

At 9 h 30 min 24, noises of the opening then, three seconds later, the closing
of the cockpit door were recorded. The Captain was then out of the cockpit.

At 9 h 30 min 53, the selected altitude on the FCU changed in one second
from 38,000 ft to 100 ft. One second later, the autopilot changed to ‘‘OPEN DES’’
mode and autothrust changed to ‘‘THR IDLE’’ mode. The aeroplane started to descend
and both engines’ rpm decreased.

At 9 h 31 min 37, noises of a pilot’s seat movements were recorded.

At 9 h 33 min 12, the speed management changed from ‘‘managed’’ mode
to ‘‘selected’’ mode. A second later, the selected target speed became 308 kt while
the aeroplane’s speed was 273 kt. The aeroplane’s speed started to increase along
with the aeroplane’s descent rate, which subsequently varied between 1,700 ft/min
and 5,000 ft/min, then was on average about 3,500 ft/min.

At 9 h 33 min 35, the selected speed decreased to 288 kt. Then, over the following
13 seconds, the value of this target speed changed six times until it reached 302 kt.

At 9 h 33 min 47, the controller asked the flight crew what cruise level they
were cleared for. The aeroplane was then at an altitude of 30,000 ft in descent. There
was no answer from the co-pilot. Over the following 30 seconds, the controller tried
to contact the flight crew again on two occasions, without any answer.

At 9 h 34 min 23, the selected speed increased up to 323 kt. The aeroplane’s speed
was then 301 kt and started to increase towards the new target.

At 9 h 34 min 31, the buzzer to request access to the cockpit was recorded
for one second.

At 9 h 34 min 38, the controller again tried to contact the flight crew, without any
answer.

At 9 h 34 min 47 then at 9 h 35 min 01, the Marseille control centre tried to contact
the flight crew on 133.330 MHz, without any answer. The aeroplane was then at an
altitude of 25,100 ft, in descent.

At 9 h 35 min 03, the selected speed increased again to 350 kt

- Subsequently, and until the end of the recording:? the selected speed remained at 350 kt and the aeroplane’s speed stabilised
around 345 kt? 

- The autopilot and autothrust remained engaged; the cockpit call signal from the cabin, known as the cabin call, from the cabin interphone, was recorded on four occasions between 9 h 35 min 04 and 9 h 39min 27 for about three seconds

?- Noises similar to a person knocking on the cockpit door were recorded on six occasions between 9 h 35 min 32 and 9 h 39 min 02;? muffled voices were heard several times between 9 h 37 min 11 and 9 h 40 min 48, and at 9 h 37 min 13 a muffled voice asks for the door to be opened

- Between 9 h 35 min 07 and 9 h 37 min 54, the Marseille control centre tried to contact the flight crew on three occasions on 121.5 MHz, and on two occasions
on 127.180 MHz, without any answer

- Between 9 h 38 min 38 and 9 h 39 min 23, the French Air Defence system tried to contact the flight crew on three occasions on 121.5 MHz, without any answer

- Noises similar to violent blows on the cockpit door were recorded on five occasions between 9 h 39 min 30 and 9 h 40 min 28

- ? Low amplitude inputs on the co-pilot’s sidestick were recorded between 9 h 39min 33 and 9 h 40 min 07; the flight crew of another aeroplane tried to contact the flight crew of GWI18G at 9 h 39 min 54, without any answer.


At 9 h 40 min 41, the ‘‘Terrain, Terrain, Pull Up, Pull Up’’ aural warning from
the GPWS triggered and remained active until the end of the flight.

At 9 h 40 min 56, the Master Caution warning was recorded, then at 9 h 41 min 00 the
Master Warning triggered and remained active until the end of the flight.

At 9 h 41 min 06, the CVR recording stopped at the moment of the collision with the
terrain.


It was as this exact time on 24 March 2015 that the Airbus A320-211 operated by Germanwings, programmed to undertake scheduled flight 4U9525 between Barcelona, Spain, and Düsseldorf, Germany, crashed with six crew members (2 flight crew and 4 cabin crew) and 144 passengers on board.

The same crew had made the outbound flight, taking off from Düsseldorf at 06:01, landing in Barcelona at 07:57 on that same day.


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