Aircraft Accidents and Integrity

Last week I wrote about the missteps being taken by the BEA in the Germanwings accident; I stated that the lack of incontrovertible evidence did not support the allegations being thrown around about the First Officer, Andreas Lubitz and his actions. Since, as of April 8, 2015, the investigation has failed to produce anything of substance in the way of proof, I don’t yet back off the position.
The Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses, or the BEA, is, according to their website, “the French authority responsible for safety investigations into accidents or incidents in civil aviation” ( In other words, they are the French version of the NTSB. I worked with the BEA before or, I should say, they worked for me; in November 2001, representatives of the BEA assisted the NTSB in the accident investigation of American Airlines flight 587. They were there because an Airbus A300 crashed and they had an interest in the investigation. Their representative was a professional who worked diligently in all disciplines of the investigation.
However, the BEA and the NTSB are not criminal investigation organizations.
What does this mean? In July 1996, in September 2001, and in November 2001; the Federal Bureau of Investigation initially assumed control of the accidents TWA 800, the four 9/11 terrorist attacks and American 587, respectively. Until TWA 800 and American 587 were determined not to be intentional attacks, the FBI controlled the investigation. In Shanksville, PA, at the Pentagon, and Ground Zero, as an NTSB investigator, I was under the authority of the FBI to assist them with the investigation, even though my aviation experience was greater, the FBI was investigating a criminal activity: the intentional destruction of a federally registered vehicle used to kill innocent victims.
I had seen this FBI authority before when I worked for Federal Express in Memphis, TN. In April 1994, an employee of FedEx attempted to hijack a DC10-30 and fly it into the main sorting facility. His efforts were foiled by the brave flight crew, who he tried to kill. Again, the FBI prosecuted the ex-hijacker for trying to seize control of a federally registered vehicle.
The fact that Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) and/or France’s Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieur (DGSI) are not the investigatory bodies in charge of the Germanwings 9525 crash is foolishness on a grand scale. The BEA is not trained to control evidence of this nature; their irresponsible parading of crucial information – that can be described as ambiguous, at best – through the media makes the Malaysian Airlines MH370 accident investigation – an investigation reminiscent of a Marx Brothers movie – look professional by comparison.
The consequences of this mistake are huge; the ripple effects will last for years. And the victims’ families will be reliving these days for years to come.

2 thoughts on “Aircraft Accidents and Integrity”

  1. WRT A/A 587:

    1. How was the determination made that it was an accident rather than a crime?

    2. How could the NTSB Chairman (woman) state, at her first press conference, that this was an accident rather than a crime?

    3. What “facts” did she have at her disposal to support her statement (made just a few hours after her arrival in NYC)?

    4. Does CVR data support the possibility of a shoe bomb explosion being the initiating event?

    5. Do eyewitness data support the possibility of a shoe bomb explosion being th initiating event?

    6. Since this event occurred only two months after the 9/11 attacks and one month prior to Richard Reid’s unsuccessful shoe bomb attack on another A/A flight, why did the public need to be protected from the facts that this accent was a crime?

    V/R, Doug Hughes, ISASI MO4415

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