GermanWings revisited: A call for honesty
Perhaps it’s worth analyzing what happened after GermanWings crash. Some things happened immediatly and some others required some time to appear:
It was very surprising that, after a few hours, NYT was able to question the A320 safety and a pilot was able to tell that the possible problem could be in the A320 system. All of these happened a few hours after the crash when nobody knew absolutely anything about what and why happened.
Only a few days ago, I found another version: The problem was that Lubitz held a MPL license, license type that has been heavily critiziced from some sides.
I would like to make clear that I am among the people that criticized the Airbus approach to Automation and the MPL license. I still hold that position in both issues but these facts -personal positions, who pays your salary or the compromises of your organization- should never be an easy excuse to forfait an honest behavior.
Obviously, the Airbus approach to Automation did not have any relationship with the crash. If someone wanted to speak about that a few hours after the event, it seems clear that the crash was used an and excuse to get an audience for their merchandise, related or not with the event.
Something similar happens with MPL license. Some of us believe that, as an abstract idea, it could be good but the implementation has some dark faces like the development of a real stick-and-rudder ability and the capacity to decide when nobody else is there to do it.
Lubick held a MPL license but…he also was a very seasoned glider pilot. MPL syllabus can be very centered in plane systems and Lubick, unfortunately, was able to show that he knew how to use them. At the same time, the usual criticism of MPL license would not apply since stick-and-rudder skills are hard to discuss if we speak about someone who used to glide in Alps.
Moreover…Had Lubick not been a real pilot -that he was- but a «system operator», it still should not have any kind of relation with GermanWings crash.
We can speak about organizational failures since a lot of unprocessed information had always been available and it could have been used to avoid the crash but using it to raise unrelated issues -Airbus automation policy, MPLs or many others- is basically dishonest and a lack of respect for both, the people who died and the people who made their best in the subsequent research process.
Concerns about some issues can be very legitimate. Using anything, including a crash with many casualties, as an excuse to raise them is not. That’s why a call for honesty should be required regarding this case and, probably, many others.