European pilots are deeply disturbed by the latest turn in the investigation of the tragic Germanwings 4U 9525 crash. The reports of investigators and French prosecutors that this could be a result of a deliberate attempt to destroy the aircraft are shocking and our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives. As trusted professionals, who invest a lifelong career in making air travel safe, this is a very difficult day for us.
We understand that many facts point to one particular theory for the cause of this event. Yet, many questions still remain unanswered at this stage. A key priority for accident investigators – and prosecutors – must be to gather and analyse thoroughly all data, including the technical information about the flight. Accident investigations are complex and time-consuming processes, but they are the only way to grasp and understand completely what has happened. The prevention of future disasters – even more so than establishing blame – is the first priority for both pilots and the travelling public. In pursuing this, the thorough analysis of the Flight Data Recorder will be crucial to verify and shed more light on the situation depicted by the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) data.
We stress the need for unbiased, independent investigation into the factors leading to this accident. The leaking of the CVR data is a serious breach of fundamental and globally accepted international accident investigation rules. The motivation for and consequences of this will need to be addressed. Given the level of pressure this leak has undoubtedly created, the investigation team faces a serious distraction. The required lead of safety investigators appears to have been displaced by prosecutorial considerations. This is highly prejudicial, and an impediment to making aviation safer with lessons from the tragedy.
We, pilots, are safety professionals. As such we are determined to work with manufacturers, operators and authorities to improve safety, as we have always done. We will continue on the path to work jointly with these colleagues in an open, trusted environment. Even if this turns out to be a single extraordinary event, we are committed to making improvements to ensure flying becomes even safer than it has always been.
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For further information, please contact:
Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General, Tel: +32 2 705 32 93
Kameliya Encheva, ECA Communications Officer, +32 490 411 203
Note to editors:ECA is the representative body of European pilot associations, representing over 38.000 pilots from across Europe. Website: www.eurocockpit.be