Make rules uniform

Experts believe the Germanwings plane was deliberately crashed by the co-pilot. Fredrik von Erichsen / AP Photo
Experts believe the Germanwings plane was deliberately crashed by the co-pilot. Fredrik von Erichsen / AP Photo

As the explanation that the co-pilot deliberately crashed Germanwings flight 4U 9525 gathers strength, a perplexing question hangs over the investigation: “Why was there only one pilot in the cockpit?” According to standard practice in many countries, should a pilot leave the cockpit, a flight attendant joins the other pilot to ensure two people are present at all times. This is referred to as the “rule of two”. Shockingly, though, this is not a universal standard – contrary to a general idea that the global aviation industry is governed by common rules and practices. Even though American and Australian airlines are required to follow the rule of two, European airlines do not.

The tragedy of flight 4U 9525 underlines the need for unified and global standards for aviation practices such as the rule of two. There already are standards, such as the use of English in air traffic control, so benchmarking sound practices shouldn’t pose any obstacle. Tragedy is often the spark of change, especially in aviation.

Published: March 28, 2015 04:00 AM

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