Germanwings: Could hackers have crashed the doomed passenger plane rather than co-pilot Andreas Lubitz?
This article appeared
at Mirror Online
9 April 2015
By Laura Connor
Aviation experts have controversially suggested that the plane’s electronics could have been hacked before it crashed into the French Alps
The doomed Germanwings passenger plane that crashed into the French Alps could have been the work of electronic hackers, aviation experts have controversially claimed.
Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, is believed to have deliberately accelerated the plane into the mountainside after barricading himself in the cockpit of the Germanwings A320 Airbus.
But in a letter to the Financial Times newspaper, aviation boss Matt Anderson suggested that the plane’s electronics could have been hacked before killing all 150 people on board.
Mr Andersson, president of Chicago-based Indigo Aerospace, said: “It could be from any number of causes, including external electronic hacking into the aircraft’s control and navigation systems through malware or electromagnetic interception.
“This is one reason military and head-of-state aircraft are generally installed with specific shielding and additional active protective measures. Civilian aircraft are not.”
Investigators found that the plane’s second black box confirmed that killer co-pilot Lubitz intentionally crashed the tragic Germanwings plane as it flew from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.
Germanwings’ parent airline Lufthansa apparently knew six years ago that Lubitz had suffered from a “serious depressive episode” during flight training, but said he had passed all subsequent medical checks.
Records also show that he sought help from up to five doctors for mental health problems before crashing the plane on March 24.
But Mr Andersson said the public should wait for a “thorough, multi-party professional air safety investigation” before coming to any conculsions.
“Both the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR) of the Germanwings flight 9525 have yet to be subject to international standards,” he said.
“Until they are, many broad assertions currently presented to the public may turn out to be erroneous, misleading or in some cases lead to improper or counterproductive regulatory and other reactions –including misplaced liability, financial and insurance claims.”
Mr Andersson isn’t the only aviation expert to suggest the plane could have been the victim of hackers.
Former commercial pilot Jay Rollins told US television channel MSNBC that it could have been a “hacking incident”.
“This aircraft is highly computerised,” he said.
“There’s one possibility that no-one has brought up. I wonder – could this be a hacking incident?”
Mr Rollins also compared the Germanwings disaster to the loss of a US drone over Iran in 2011, which was blamed on electronic hacking by some therorists.
“Suddenly the aircraft starts responding to outside forces,” he said.
“If something like that were going on it would be very disturbing for the pilot.”
It has also been suggested this week that Lubitz spiked the cockpit coffee of flight captain Patrick Sondenheimer with a drug making him go to the toilet.
Lubitz surfed on-line for diuretic drugs before his murder-suicide at the controls of the plane.
The latest information comes from Lubitz’s computer seized by Dusseldorf prosecutors shortly after the disaster, according to reports in Germany.
It is still being trawled as police seek to establish the reasons for the tragedy.