Last updated: 02:32 PM ET, Thu April 30 2015

FAA Had Questions About Germanwings Co-Pilot in 2010

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | April 30, 2015

FAA Had Questions About Germanwings Co-Pilot in 2010

A bombshell New York Times report today claims the Federal Aviation Administration had brought up questions about the mental state of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz as far back as 2010, according to newly released documents.

The documents were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of several news organizations.

Lubitz was the co-pilot last month on Germanwings Flight 9525 when he locked the pilot out of the flight deck and allegedly deliberately flew the plane into the side of the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.

The FAA apparently had reservations about whether to grant Lubitz a pilot’s license in the United States after learning he had been treated for depression a year earlier, from January to October of 2009. As part of being accepted into Lufthansa’s pilot training program – Germanwings is a low-cost budget airline of parent Lufthansa – Lubitz was sent to an academy in Arizona to learn how to fly smaller planes.

But the FAA was assured by Lubitz’s doctor that he was over his bout of depression, and the agency allowed him to attend the school in Arizona with a warning that if he suffered another episode of depression he would be prohibited from flying.

The Times noted that the documents show a Lufthansa flight doctor had given Lubitz a clean bill of health in April of 2008, but he was diagnosed six months later with “reactive depression,” a form of depression brought on by traumatic of life-changing events.

By January 2009, though, he was undergoing treatment with psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs, the Times wrote.


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