Officials describe cockpit conversations and radio transmissions as calm, cool and collected during the first part of the flight, but prior to the crash, the cockpit voice recorder indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not get back in.
What seems oddly like planned action leaves the guy outside “knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer. And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”
At one point, the recorder shows that the locked-out pilot is clearly “trying to smash the door down.”
The plane also exhibited a non-crash and non-approach-to-landing descent rate. A plane nosediving to the earth loses altitude at over 8,000 feet per second. A standard descent to landing is 1500-2000 feet per second. The Germanwings plane descended at 3400 feet per second. A rushed, somewhat deliberate-looking descent that would put the plane at its final resting place.
150 passengers and crew died on the flight and, so far, all that is known is that one pilot left the cockpit and the other pilot was either unable or unwilling to let him back in while the aircraft made a controlled descent into an Alpine mountainside.
The unknowns are significant too:
- why was their was no declaration of an emergency, trouble or even a mention of a technical issue prior to the start of the descent
- how long was the other pilot was out of the cockpit before returning
- How long was the locked-out pilot gone before the plane started the unplanned descent
- The identity of the in-cockpit pilot may be critical to understanding what happened
- Why did the plane neither nosedive nor followe normal glidepath for approach-to-landing
The crash is a tragedy for sure with 150 lives lost, but the information being released is raising more questions than it answers.