Ethics and Sincerity at Lufthansa: The Tragedy of Flight 9525

Full disclosure: I was laid off from a Lufthansa affiliate 2 years ago. Over almost 25 years of travelling to Europe I have flown nearly every major airline. I returned most often to Lufthansa as my carrier of choice. I do not work for Lufthansa any longer. This is not a commercial for Lufthansa. It is an attempt to define a bit of clarity amid a terrible tragedy.

We live in a litigious age, an age of PR spin and plausible deniability, where ethics are massaged and honesty is a distant consideration. Perhaps because of all that, or even in spite of it is why Lufthansa Chief executive, Carsten Spohr’s moral and ethical clarity in the wake of the Germanwings tragedy is so extraordinary. It now seems apparent that the loss in March 2015 of Flight 9525, with a loss of all on board was no accident. The flight was operated by an affiliate of Lufthansa. It now seems apparent that a young co-pilot suffering from severe depression intentionally crashed the plane. Whether the tragedy could have been debated is likely to long be the subject of debate

Immediately following the crash I wrote an article calling for cockpit image recorders. The intention is to take a longer view and too be a counterbalance to a reactionary mainstream Press. Always accusatory, and prone to sowing hysteria, that Press regularly drops stories as quickly as pre-school children lose interest in one toy over another. Rarely is there ever any usable information or a focused perspective.

The revelation that the Germanwings co-pilot, trained by Lufthansa, was known to suffer from clinical depression offered that Press ample fodder. Lost is a human perspective that reminds how nearly all of us will suffer depression in our lives, either due to the loss of a loved one, an accident or perhaps a severe illness. Many will struggle with that depression long term. A subset will endure clinical depression to varying degrees of severity their entire lives. A very few will become lost, as apparently this copilot did, in the psychological maze of deep biological depression. I have heard depression described as the inability to recognize choices, and an impediment to recognizing hope. That, it seems, was underscored only too painfully aboard that ill-fated flight.

That might have begun an inward looking public relations damage control effort by Lufthansa. The victim’s families might have been further insulted with corporatized insincerity, carefully manicured statements and non-apology apologies. Instead, Herr Spohr dared sincerity and honesty where one might have expected and others might have encouraged propaganda.

“This is the worst possible time,” Spohr told reporters, “the worst possible moment, the darkest chapter in the history in our airline. And yet we have full confidence in our pilots, so this is totally incomprehensible… “It appears to be true that the colleague left in the cockpit, the co-pilot, denied him access to the cockpit to initiate the deadly descent into the French Alps.”

The financial cost of this horrible incident is and must be secondary to the pain and anguish of all those who lost loved ones. There is ample opportunity for plausible deniability here. From a PR standpoint it would have been relatively simple to blame Germanwings. I do recall a story about tainted Coca-a-cola in Europe some years back. The local manager, and American, miscalculated European sensitivities in trying to make the situation right by offering every European a Coke. Perceived as a smug response by Europeans, sales of Coke plummeted. Spohr’s deliberate sincerity, however, was more than European in sensibility, but rather human in sensitivity.

As a company, Lufthansa has so far faced this tragedy with contrition. It will and must be a painful process. That pain pales in comparison to the victim’s families. But we should acknowledge that facing it squarely and honestly, as Spohr has done is the moral and decent thing to do. Sad, that when we are challenged so desperately, that sort of moral clarity has become the exception rather than the rule.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Ethics and Sincerity at Lufthansa: The Tragedy of Flight 9525

Full disclosure: I was laid off from a Lufthansa affiliate 2 years ago. Over almost 25 years of travelling to Europe I have flown nearly every major airline. I returned most often to Lufthansa as my carrier of choice. I do not work for Lufthansa any longer. This is not a commercial for Lufthansa. It is an attempt to define a bit of clarity amid a terrible tragedy.

We live in a litigious age, an age of PR spin and plausible deniability, where ethics are massaged and honesty is a distant consideration. Perhaps because of all that, or even in spite of it is why Lufthansa Chief executive, Carsten Spohr’s moral and ethical clarity in the wake of the Germanwings tragedy is so extraordinary. It now seems apparent that the loss in March 2015 of Flight 9525, with a loss of all on board was no accident. The flight was operated by an affiliate of Lufthansa. It now seems apparent that a young co-pilot suffering from severe depression intentionally crashed the plane. Whether the tragedy could have been debated is likely to long be the subject of debate

Immediately following the crash I wrote an article calling for cockpit image recorders. The intention is to take a longer view and too be a counterbalance to a reactionary mainstream Press. Always accusatory, and prone to sowing hysteria, that Press regularly drops stories as quickly as pre-school children lose interest in one toy over another. Rarely is there ever any usable information or a focused perspective.

The revelation that the Germanwings co-pilot, trained by Lufthansa, was known to suffer from clinical depression offered that Press ample fodder. Lost is a human perspective that reminds how nearly all of us will suffer depression in our lives, either due to the loss of a loved one, an accident or perhaps a severe illness. Many will struggle with that depression long term. A subset will endure clinical depression to varying degrees of severity their entire lives. A very few will become lost, as apparently this copilot did, in the psychological maze of deep biological depression. I have heard depression described as the inability to recognize choices, and an impediment to recognizing hope. That, it seems, was underscored only too painfully aboard that ill-fated flight.

That might have begun an inward looking public relations damage control effort by Lufthansa. The victim’s families might have been further insulted with corporatized insincerity, carefully manicured statements and non-apology apologies. Instead, Herr Spohr dared sincerity and honesty where one might have expected and others might have encouraged propaganda.

“This is the worst possible time,” Spohr told reporters, “the worst possible moment, the darkest chapter in the history in our airline. And yet we have full confidence in our pilots, so this is totally incomprehensible… “It appears to be true that the colleague left in the cockpit, the co-pilot, denied him access to the cockpit to initiate the deadly descent into the French Alps.”

The financial cost of this horrible incident is and must be secondary to the pain and anguish of all those who lost loved ones. There is ample opportunity for plausible deniability here. From a PR standpoint it would have been relatively simple to blame Germanwings. I do recall a story about tainted Coca-a-cola in Europe some years back. The local manager, and American, miscalculated European sensitivities in trying to make the situation right by offering every European a Coke. Perceived as a smug response by Europeans, sales of Coke plummeted. Spohr’s deliberate sincerity, however, was more than European in sensibility, but rather human in sensitivity.

As a company, Lufthansa has so far faced this tragedy with contrition. It will and must be a painful process. That pain pales in comparison to the victim’s families. But we should acknowledge that facing it squarely and honestly, as Spohr has done is the moral and decent thing to do. Sad, that when we are challenged so desperately, that sort of moral clarity has become the exception rather than the rule.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Murder Flight

The Crash of Flight 9525, and how the Aviation Industry weighs Profit over Safety.

2006. That was the last time anyone had a substantive discussion about cameras in the cockpit, CIRs, In the wake of this latest air disaster the time to rediscover that critical conversation is now. And while the likelihood that CIRs might have prevented the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, lessons and data learned from previous crashes continue to make flying the safest form of travel on the planet. The logic and arguments against CIRs simply do not stand scrutiny or make any sense.

At the time of this report investigators were leaning more and more to the stark and unsettling conclusion that the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, deliberately crashed the aircraft in the French Alps during what would have been a very routine 2 hour flight between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. The aircraft, an Airbus A320, with 150 passengers and crew is operated by a subsidiary of Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier. Indications are that Lubitz did not suffer any medical condition. The pilot could be heard knocking on the door, and then attempting to smash open the door in the seconds before the aircraft slammed into a mountainside, killing all aboard instantly.

The issue of CIRs, Cockpit Image recorders has never received serious or adequate debate by government regulating bodies, airlines or the public for that matter. The media also has failed in taking up the issue, even despite their general hysteria over security and terrorism. Rand Paul’s sales driven effort to arm pilots last year garnered far greater media attention. That virtual blackout leaves commercial airlines, their employees and most especially the flying public vulnerable to disaster like Flight 9525, and eliminates a critical tool for investigators.

Slow Progress

Despite recommendations from the NTSB, FAA, The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the nonprofit, nongovernmental body, the European Organization for Civil Aviation (EUROCAE), progress has been desperately slow in coming. Much of the focus was on real-time streaming of data from the aircraft, something that was deemed unfeasible and prohibitively expensive. The larger question of building upon data collection for crash and incident investigations was all but dropped. The necessity to augment with images/video current monitoring and collection systems like the Cockpit Voice Recorders, CVRs, and Flight Data Recorders, FDRs, the so-called Black Boxes, would seem to be elementary. Resistance to CIRs has been fierce.

A June 2009 FAA report, Federal Aviation Administration FDM Systems and NORSEE, estimated the cost of CIRs installed or retrofitted on commercial aircraft to be between $10 and 20 thousand Dollars USD per aircraft. That is indeed a sizeable price tag, but then so are catastrophic disasters and ignorance. Each carries a monumental price tag. However, a revolution in recordable media has occurred in the last 6-7 years since the FAA report was issued. There has been a substantial increase in storage capacity, quality, as well as reductions in weight, durability and size. More than that, speaking directly to financial considerations, there have been amazing reductions in the cost of that media, in some instances a doubling or quadrupling of storage capacity for a fraction of the cost. Given all of that, arguments and opposition to CIRs at the airline level become painfully thin and weak.

The airline Pilots Association, ALPA, the industry’s largest pilot’s union, with over 64,000 members continues to be the loudest opponent to CIRs. Their concerns center almost solely around privacy issues. Communications and actions by pilots in the cockpit are already recorded and preserved on the CVR and FDR. Numerous court rulings contradict the notion of blanket privacy in the workplace; the flight deck of a commercial aircraft should be no different.

Prevention

CIRs, like currently required CVRs and FDRs collect raw data for investigators after an incident has occurred. Innovation and understanding gleaned from previous incidents and the anticipation of future incidents feeds the body of data critical to designing safer aircraft and in preventing future accidents. It simply makes no rational sense to ignore a critical body of data. Such a system would have proved a powerful tool in determining in a timelier manner then destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine in July 2014. The lack of CIRs is rather like blindfolding law enforcement or playing only the audio portion of a bank robbery. It simply does not make any sense.

It is time to rekindle that conversation. CIRs would not have prevented to tragedy of Flight 9525, but it might help prevent future such disasters. What is required are not hollow recommendations by bodies without legislative or oversight authority. What is required is legislation that would require CIRs on all commercial aircraft as a first step. Next would be a global requirement by all commercial carriers.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Polar Vortex! What they aren’t telling you on the Weather Channel

Next week, when that smartass in your office makes the obligatory “Where’s global warming,” comment about the bone chilling cold settling over the country, you can hammer him with an answer. For almost a week now the weather channel has been attempting to panic people about a monster storm in the Pacific Northwest that will victimize 60 million Americans with a soul freezing polar vortex, But that is only part of the story, and for that smartass in your office the storm can be attributed in part to global warming.

The simple version is this; the Pacific currents act as something of a race track, coming off the warm equatorial waters off of South America and running around the Pacific rim to Alaska, where it splits and drives down the coast or across North America. Weather is global, so it is affected globally, but there are regional drivers and regional patterns.

For 5 years I ran a portion of United Airlines’ cargo logistics for the Pacific. In that capacity I was also intimately aware of the operations of Quantas, Malaysian Air, Lufthansa, JAL and a number of other Pacific carriers. My nightmare day in and day out was maintaining supply in several critical stations in which winds, weather and weight were a constant challenge. I was good at reading the weather patterns in order to achieve success and maintain supply and equipment for United’s $600 million regional operation. I know Pacific weather.

So here is what you tell the smartass at the water cooler on Thursday; A Columbia University study found that the Pacific had “warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000″. The warmest region of water in the Pacific a two weeks ago spawned the latest in a series of mega storms. The last storm, Nuri grew to a category 5 super storm with sustained winds of 165mph, with gusts to 180mph. Recall the super storm Haiyan that devastated the Philippines in 2013. Both storms are among the strongest ever recorded in human history.

Well, Nuri never went away. Instead it spun north up the Pacific rim where its massive low pressure system will slide down the Northwest seaboard. As it does it will force frigid air over northern Canada.

So listen for the idiots, who will scoff this week at global warming and manmade climate change, but here it is, about to kick us all in the ass, which is what you should do to the smart ass at the water cooler. It will help you feel a bit warmer.

http://ecowatch.com/2013/11/01/pacific-ocean-warming-at-fastest-rate/pdo_pattern/

http://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/alaska-storm-pushing-cold-air-toward-mainland-us/ar-AA787Pj


CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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