We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 1 Apr 2015 01:06 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Revealed: Emirates pilot who predicted cockpit dangers before Alps crash

Dubai-based Jan Cocheret wrote about the potential for such an incident happening less than two months ago

Revealed: Emirates pilot who predicted cockpit dangers before Alps crash

A Dutch pilot based in Dubai issued a chilling warning about the dangers of being locked out of a cockpit just weeks before the Germanwings crash.

As well as being a Boeing 777 pilot with Dubai-based airline Emirates, Jan Cocheret also writes articles for various media and lectures on aviation topics.

He wrote an article for a specialist flight magazine less than two months ago before 27-year old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz managed to lock his captain out of the cockpit, forcing the Airbus 320 to crash into the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.

In his column in Piloot en Vliegtuig (Pilot and Plane), Cocheret wrote about his own security concerns, warning that the measures, put in place after the terror attacks in September 11, could also be used against those in the cockpit.

Writing in the column, Cocheret said: “I seriously sometimes wonder who’s sitting next to me in the cockpit. How can I be sure that I can trust him? Perhaps something terrible has just happened in his life and he’s unable to overcome it.

“I hope I never find myself in the situation where I go to the toilet and return to find a cockpit door that won’t open.”

His Facebook post on March 26, with a link to his column, is accompanied with the comment: “Unfortunately, this terrible scenario has become reality.”

Earlier in the article, he says there have been a number of previous incidents where pilots have shut out fellow pilots, such as in November 2013, when the captain of flight TM470 from Mozambique to Angola brought down a flight, killing all 33 on board.

“He waited for his colleague to leave the cockpit, and once that happened, he sent the plane into a nosedive towards the Namibian desert. The last sound heard on the cockpit voice recorder was a desperate banging on the locked cockpit door,” Cocheret wrote.

He also wrote about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that disappeared just over a year ago, suggesting that the 239 people on board may have suffered the same fate as those last week.

“A year later, still no one knows what happened to the missing Malaysian Boeing 777. One of the scenarios which is still being investigated is a deliberate takeover by one of the pilots when his colleague briefly left the cockpit,” he wrote.

Airlines across the Middle East and Europe have changed their cockpit rules to ensure that two crew members are in the cockpit at all times.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.
Nezaud 5 years ago

After 11Sept, the United State FAA put in place a law, forcing all US airlines to keep at all times two crew in the cookpit. That was done after the installation of the steel doors.
Basically, the FAA has predicted this danger long time ago, and no one eals.

David Thomas 5 years ago

Using simple common sense, when the new burst proof doors were fitted, I was stunned AT ITS STUPIDITY. Even I & probably hundreds of thousands of others could see the obvious security flaw, but didn't dare think it. Even the 2 at all times rule has its pitfalls, is an air stewardess weighing in at 10 stone going to fight her way to the door lock switch, overcome a determined terrorist or suicidal pilot?..I think not! one punch she is down & out, when a madman decides to take an aircraft out, he's determined to do it. Having worked with mentally disturbed patients, I can assure you that at times of distress or mental disturbance they fight well above their weight, this new rule isn't a tight security solution either, as for the Stewards & Pursers.. unless they are all ex marines & bodyguards employed as cabin crew, I fear they are on a hiding to more disasters, if they rely on slightly built females & effeminate gentlemen to protect the aircraft they are on a very perilous route indeed

David thomas 5 years ago

Using simple common sense, when the new burst proof doors were fitted, I was stunned AT ITS STUPIDITY. Even I & probably hundreds of thousands of others could see the obvious security flaw, but didn't dare think it. Even the 2 at all times rule has its pitfalls, is an air stewardess weighing in at 10 stone going to fight her way to the door lock switch, overcome a determined terrorist or suicidal pilot?..I think not! one punch she is down & out, when a madman decides to take an aircraft out, he's determined to do it. Having worked with mentally disturbed patients, I can assure you that at times of distress or mental disturbance they fight well above their weight, this new rule isn't a tight security solution either, as for the Stewards & Pursers.. unless they are all ex marines & bodyguards employed as cabin crew, I fear they are on a hiding to more disasters, if they rely on slightly built females & effeminate gentlemen to protect the aircraft they are on a very perilous route indeed

langyaw 5 years ago

a quick, pre-flight screening of all pilots should be mandatory. the slight delay will be worth it.
-- langyaw

abusidra 5 years ago

Is it too difficult to keep or hide a duplicate key somewhere in the cabin or with the pilot or assistant pilot? Anyways, when anyone becomes crazy, he can go to any level anyhow, anyway. Just as they make the Doctors sign a humanity pledge, pilots also to be brain washed to be more responsible and take oath on their holy books to be sincere and serious in their assigned duties as pilot.

Mosa 5 years ago

When you put the lives of 200+ people in one person's hands, you are bound to test,examine and assess that person's mental stability at regular intervals to make sure their mind is clear and capable of handling so many lives at 35,000 ft above ground SAFELY.

Security measures are methods of Prevention only, not a foolproof solution to avoid a mishap. Having two crew members in cockpit doesn't mean they can fight the pilots, it just means you have a hope that if one or two people go insane in the cockpit, atleast the other one or two can TRY putting up a fight to alert others/ATC.

However, it has to one of the mandatory policies for the airline management to put the entire crew through mental assessment tests.
I am surprised 150+ people had to die for everyone to realize this element

Just a Frequent Passenger 5 years ago

That burst-proof cockpit door regulation was a typical politically driven quick shot administered and decreed by the US FAA. It was not thought through to the end (as the recent LAM and the Germanwings cases have shown), so a good idea went wrong during its detail design and implimentation. This Dubai-based pilot is only just one who is thinking what others have been thinking and trying to voice for many years. But some people still believe that what is regulated and decreed by the US FAA is good for everybody. It's not.
Have a safe flight and a happy landing.

Ahmed 5 years ago

Kudos to David Thomas who has said precisely what was going on in my mind. Unless perhaps we allow the security staff who are normally on board the aircraft to go the cockpit should a Pilot or Co-Pilot want to stretch or use the toilets.

Ahmed Mahdi.

Captain Jets 5 years ago

I think the real solution hides behind good screenig and checking before training as a pilot, during service or after changing jobs. I come from that generation where not everybody could dream of becoming one, but fast track training had made anybody could
become a commercial pilot at any age or was doing any job before even a road cleaner, it was a job only for the elite distinguished characters in society and just a dream character for others, I am sorry if my opinion will hurt somebody but it is the truth about this job. I agree no cabin crew can overcome a suicidal mission by a madman and there is no pilot could enter the cockpit and just come out from a steep dive or inverted dive just that simple without a further damaging the transport jet that is known for its fast gravitational acceleration once it is steeply dived....!

Parvaiz Ahmad Wani 5 years ago

The unfortunate incident is yet another demonstration of an unfortunate vagary of human character, especially when in 'total' control of things!