Flying is safer than ever before, yet in this era of locked cockpit doors and pilot screening, authorities said Thursday that a single aviator was able to deliberately crash a commercial airliner in the French Alps, says the Washington Post. The disaster has raised questions about how pilots are evaluated and how airlines can be sure that such a horrifying, if rare, event won't reoccur.
Aviation security experts say what unfolded on Germanwings Flight 9525 could not have happened on a U.S. airliner because of strict security procedures adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Cockpit doors were strengthened, and airlines now lock them at all times, with most doors requiring security codes known only to a handful of people onboard. Moreover, U.S. pilots cannot be left alone in the cockpit — the fatal error that investigators say doomed the Germanwings flight. “It's just a common-sense issue,” said aviation security expert Glenn Winn. “If you have a two-person cockpit, you don't leave [one of] them alone up there.”