Deep Background

Europeans toughen pilot vetting after suicide crash


January 18, 2017

The 32-member European Aviation Safety Agency, which is part of the E.U., is strengthening its rules for evaluating the medical and psychological fitness of pilots on the continent.  The EASA is taking the action in response to the March 2015 crash of a Germanwings flight by a suicidally depressed pilot in which all 150 people on board were killed.  The action strengthens  the initial and follow-up medical exams of pilots, including alcohol and drug screening, and comprehensive mental-health assessment.  Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, had locked himself inside the jet’s cockpit, barring the co-pilot from reentering.  Lubitz then crashed the plane, which was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.  Details emerged only afterwards that he had suffered from severe depression and had researched methods for committing suicide.