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SWISS abandons the rule of two-people in the cockpit

As of Monday, May 1, 2017, the Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) will abandon the rule of two people in the cockpit. An internal audit showed that this precautionary measure, taken in 2015 after the Germanwings crash, did not improve safety, according to the company officials. ( More...

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Roy Ryland 9
I fondly remember those days before jet aircraft when the door to the cockpit was usually open and passengers could see what was happening up there. At times, a passenger would even be allowed into the cockpit area to observe, and chat with the pilots. In my brand new navy uniform, flying from Baton Rouge to Pensacola in 1956, I was singled out and invited into the cockpit by the flight crew! I was astonished! My first view of Pensacola was from the cockpit of a DC-3, a dream made possible by two proud pilots that could see the dream in a young aviation sailor's eye.
skypejp 2
I remember those days too. As a kid in the 60s I used to live in Cameroon (Africa) and we would always travel with Swissair on the Coronado 990 between Geneva and Douala. On every single flight my dad and I would visit the cockpit and chat with the pilots. The flight attendants also would sometimes ask my sister and I to help them distribute chocolates to the passengers, which we joyfully and proudly did. The space between seats was a lot wider then, too. And all passengers dressed up, all men wore suits then. Later as an adult whenever I would travel regardless of the airline I made it a habit to visit the cockpit in flight every single time; and I have flown a lot. On three occasions in the 90s I managed to get to fly in the jump seat from take-off to landing. The first time on SQ between Singapore and Hiroshima on the Airbus 310, then on CX between Hong Kong and Tokyo Narita (night flight) on the Boeing 777 and the third time on LH between Geneva and Frankfurt on the Boeing 737. Those old days are but nice memories now.
Rob Palmer 1
I remember, flying from Wash National to Seatac when in the Army in 1959, on the eastern leg on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser (the first true double-decker) over Ohio in heavy rain, the stewardess couldn't get the strap off some trays strapped to a bulkhead. The snap on the belt was just too tight, and I was asked to help. I couldn't get it off either by fingers, so I went forward where the door was propped open, poked my head in and asked the flight engineer (on the right) for a screwdriver with which I might pry off the mounting strap. He gave me a nice American-made Stanley heavy duty screwdriver with which I performed the task and then went back and gave the flight engineer his screwdriver back. Without the cockpit door open, how can servicemen help out the stewardess?
mike B 1
Just yesterday on a 777-200 EU carrier, kids were in the cockpit in cruise. Great education.
Kevin Brown 23
I don't know what kind of "audit" would prove the two person rule ineffective. There can be no argument that it is safer to have two people in the cockpit at all times. How many other airlines have done away with this rule? I would be less inclined to fly Swiss after reading this. It's predecessor - Swiss air - was wiped out by one fatal accident. You would think Swiss would want to err on the side of safety.
chloksim 2
Swissair was wiped out by stupid management decisions proposed by McKinsey (Hunter-Strategie, Qualiflyer Group).
toolguy105 1
This move proposed by another no nothing management advisory team will do in Lufthansa and its affiliates such as Swiss. If you are going to error you error on the side of safety. Having an F/A in the cockpit when one of the two pilots must take a break does not cost anything except on paper.
chloksim 1
Not sure I understood first phrase. In any case, not only Swiss but the hole Lufthansa Group has decided to abandon the rule.
The decision was not based on financial arguments. Lufthansa Group thinks insecurity is bigger than benefits applying this rule.
Salvador Pena 1
Good. Stay away from swiss air. They don't need You.
Roch Comeau -3
What if the process of having to have a third person come to the cockpit each time to cover for one pilot taking a break leads to a new security risk? Sometimes fixing one issue leads to a new one. I am not saying this is the case here, but it may not be cut and dry.
Kevin Brown 8
I don't see an increased risk. Presumably the cabin attendant would slip into the cockpit at the same time the crew member is leaving to take a break. Likewise when the crew member returns to the cockpits the cabin attendant would slip out at the same time. If anything this would reduce the risk of a cockpit intrusion as their would be two crew members in the area of the door able to ward off an intruder.
Steven Macom 3
Have you seen this in action? The most interesting case I witnessed was on an EMB 145 from Cincinnati to Oklahoma City. A member of the flight crew had to use the facilities, so the lone flight attendant use the drinks cart to barricade herself and the cockpit entrance to allow the flight crew member to exit the cockpit. Door opened, FA and FO traded places, door closed and locked. FO then had to deconstruct the barricade and walk to the only bathroom (in the rear) while we all sat without any visible airline employee in the cabin. FO finished, and reversed the whole process.
Tony Perez 1
Yeah, that happened on a CRJ200. It was quite a show.
djames225 -3
Great in theory except 1 small issue..most cockpit doors are just wide enough for 1 person to transit in or out..I too see an increased risk with more traffic flowing in and out of the cockpit..if folks are upset about security, go back to the 3 person cockpit but those jump seats are not comfortable for a long haul.
Try the economy seats!!
Jim Goldfuss 1
Not an issue on the larger commercial jets (737 or larger) - at least in US.
Something unforeseen happens to the o e pilot &call the passengers
Are put at a huge risk.
djames225 0
It is funny how I am getting negative votes for a practical answer...As I stated to my reply to Kevin...great in theory but won't work to do a simultaneous swap...there is no way 2 people are going to switch spots st same time in a doorway only 21-22.5 inches wide (the width of a 737 and 777 flightdeck door), unless both were the size of a matchstick..I even have to duck a little and turn sideways a bit to get through.
And in saying go back to the 3 person cockpit. I was agreeing with everyone..bad move Swiss and also to Lufthansa for allowing such thought.
Leon Artac 1
Oh for God's sake, no one said they have to go through the door at the same time. One pilot goes out and the other goes in. Easy to figure out right!
djames225 1
Maybe learn to read and summerize before jumping in with a comment..Again, in referring to Kevin's post, when someone says "at the same time", it usually means at the same time!..and as I stated, Great in theory but wouldn't work!
Leon Artac 1
You could have figured you can't go through the door at "exactly" the same time. Right!
spatr 6
John Barton 4
***In the entire history of Commercial Aviation***, there have been 4 incidents where a pilot (not hijacker, that's different) deliberately crashed an airliner in a Pilot Murder-Suicide.

Just for reference, that's 6,152,832,207 (six BILLION) flights worldwide since 1970, and only 4 incidents, compared with 856 crashes caused by Pilot Error, Weather, etc.


Even then, your odds of arriving safely at your destination are 99.9999893057376%.

There's literally 214 times more reasons to avoid SWISS than this.
Jesse Carroll 1
How many pilots have "Died" by heart attack or was drunk when flying as FO?
One pilot and I'm switching airlines. Luckly I don't use Swiss!
Salvador Pena 1
I Agree John.
Leon Artac 0
See my comment below.
rdlink 6
What a bunch of BS. The pilot union got their hackles up because they think the rule is insulting to their professionalism, so they're going to make flying less safe.

Let's take away for a moment the idea that a rogue pilot could take down a plane again. What happens if the only remaining pilot has some sort of incapacitating incident (i.e. heart attack, stroke, "he had the fish", etc.) while alone in the cockpit?
dj horton 3
If a pilot was determined to take down the plane all they'd have to do is ram the crash axe through the other person's chest. Having another person in the cockpit doesn't solve that issue.

And cabin crews have a key to get into the cockpit, if absolutely necessary.
Charles Adams 2
A key, really? Must be a new rule after the Germanwings crash, right? Wonder if the terrorists know?
They do, now, apparently!
And penicillin doesn't cure viral pneumonia. So let's get rid of penicillin.
Leon Artac 0
Didn't have it on Gremanwings or they would have used it. And,....your solution is....?
Salvador Pena 1
Then Ride A Donkey..
toolguy105 3
I disagree with the so called experts. Yes there have been only 4 pilot suicide by aircraft. Frankly those are 4 too many that could have been prevented had another crew member been on the flight deck to open the door.

As for the cockpit door being opened longer that doesn't pass the smell test either. From the procedures I have seen and read about those extra few seconds would not give someone time to get to the flight deck.

This change by German Air safety and the German Air group has more to do with dollars and cents. Most likely one crew member on each flight needs to be trained flight deck procedure in order to be on the flight deck in that capacity. Training cost time and money something airlines don't like to part with.
Tom Bruce 7
don't like it... too many things can go wrong... thousands and thousands of flights... eventually the dice will come up "snake eyes"....
Paul Smith 2
The two person in the cockpit rule is when one of the cockpit crew needs to go to the loo someone from the cabin crew comes in. This was put in place after the Germanwings debacle. It is NOT one person cockpits.
rene burlet 1
It actually was a result of 9 /11 not German Wings
mike B 2
Glad they weren't flying the A300 with the snap-off tail feature (JFK) or the AF A330 that went in wings level (somewhere over the equator). Pilots are pilots for a reason.
Eric Schmaltz 1
Maybe someday someone will design a cockpit with a lav. Problem solved.
Kurt Anderson 1
This conversation is a waste of time. Its called "beating a dead horse". Stay Safe All.
Tom Zaidman 1
Unfortunately one way or another the risk of a deliberate crash will always exist. Only a crew of three (today not cost posible) the best solution..
If the crew member in the cockpit flips a lever on their side of the door, NO ONE is getting in unless they can dismantle the front end of the cabin. A key will not work to open the door.
Leon Artac 1
The lever can have a key on the outside that disconnects the lever action. Ever fix a door handle at home?
Yes I have and if you check into this you will find that when the lever is operated from the inside of the cockpit, short of going outside and deploying a window emergency release, which is impossible, you can not over ride the door. This is not a house door.
Leon Artac 0
Can be fixed to work that way i"m sure.
In about 1978 (I had obtained my private pilot's license 2 years earlier)we took our first Lufthansa flight to Germany. I introduced myself to the Steward and asked whether I'd be able to visit the cockpit. He went up front to ask and returned within 10 minutes, inviting me to come up front. Besides the pilot and copilot, there was also the navigator/flight engineer who sat at a long desk facing the right side wall of the cockpit. I remained up front for about an hour, conversing with the crew. An unforgettable experience, while we experienced good moderate turbulence over the Atlantic.
Jc Medina 1
Guess I am. Lt flying Swiss anymore!!
Leon Artac 1
I fondly remember the days when crazies weren't flying because of strict mental tests and evaluations. I remember when a person that tries to take over a plane is kicked the death or subdued by the passengers. Where are we passengers with balls anymore.
Leon Artac 1
That's fine if you aren't on the plane that is taken over by the crazy pilot. Tell that to the people that died on the last one. Statistics are great for the ones that survive. It doesn't cost anything to put a flight attendant in the cockpit while the pilot is out for a pee break.The override thumb print is a great idea as well. I remember the PSA crash several years ago when a ex-employee got on a flight and killed both pilots. A locked door would have prevented that as well but it took 911 to get that done. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
McBlemmen 1
I thought they meant one pilot per flight, but that's obviously not the case. I'm fine with this.
Just install a turnstile that fits two people,with proper I.D. to access.
andrew beech 1
Common sense at last! Two person rule a knee jerk to appease the media. Much greater threat to have a new 'unknown' cabin crew member standing behind the sole pilot.You'll never totally eradicate the intend of the German Wings event.
Well that's a pretty asinine standard - "totally eradicate". Classic straw man argument. We'll also never totally eradicate disease, so I guess we should just stop treating disease.
jack cagle -1
This is certainly a much better solution than nothing. Thanks for the post, Kevin.
David Rei 0
Does the cockpit door automatically lock when closed?
If not, do pilots tend to lock it as a reflex action when someone leaves?
I don't know how this works, but I hope there's no risk that a pilot could have a health issue when he's alone in the cockpit and the second person can't return to the cockpit because the reinforced door can't be opened. Is this a valid concern?
Jim Goldfuss 2
Yep...the person in the cockpit has complete control of the door. While it can be overridden from outside, the person in the cockpit can "override" the override.
John Taylor 1
Stupid irresponsible policy reversing sensible 2 pilot cockpit crew policy. Not going to fly Swiss Air
Tom Novak 0
Now German airline companies to follow SWISS with the same reason. You can read the full article here:
"The association also found it highly doubtful that the presence in the cockpit of a person without operational knowledge would really improve safety." Holy sh*t, what an either ignorant or manifestly dishonest statement. The main purpose of the 2nd person in the cockpit is to be able to unlock the g/d cockpit door to let in the pilot who's not IN the cockpit. Holy frickin' cow, can their statement be any MORE asinine???
Paul Curs 2
As a retired airline captain that conducted the easily accomplished "two person procedure" many times, I believe your comment is "Spot On", Andrew. Terrorists are likely celebrating -- they'll find out where the emergency cockpit door key is hidden.
Leon Artac 1
Great! Finally a person that knows what they are talking about. A Retired Captain I can believe in not the fly by the seat of their office chair kind.
Leon Artac 0
Unless the pilot in the cockpit is nuts!
gerardo godoy -1
Have pilots and first officers wear a
"piss" bag like astronauts and then they wont have to leave the cockpit, maybe a "stop bowels action" pill for the duration of the flight!!!. Flying is getting dangerous from their own. When will SWISS start hitting and kicking passengers as American, United and all those lousy USA airlines????, they might start this practice as a "new" service..The airlines don't want to to spend a penny on safety if they can avoided it and the "authorities" today, everywhere, are so corrupt they don't care..that's the New 21st Century for you...
Leon Artac -1
Big mistake. They are setting themselves up for a terrorist takeover! I won't fly with Swiss.
Swiss Air is just telling the aviation world how CHEAP they are going. So whats next ,is the maintence crew now going to have only one out of ten mechanics that are required to be licensed ?
Jim Capone -1
a bad idea all the way around .. and on many levels. will have consider travel plans regarding the use of Swiss.
e lavelle -2
Recently the pilot of a Las Vegas bound flight had a fatal heart attack during landing. The co-pilot took over. Are Swiss pilots immune from heart attacks?
chloksim 1
Swiss pilots are not immune and the co-pilot will take over! There will be two pilots on every flight. We are talking about whether there should be a second member of the crew in the cockpit or not while one of the two pilots is outside the cockpit. Is this so difficult to understand?


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