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-   -   SWISS abandoned "2 in cockpit" rule 1 May 2017 (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/swiss-international-air-lines/1840838-swiss-abandoned-2-cockpit-rule-1-may-2017-a.html)

JDiver May 5, 17 11:37 am

SWISS abandoned "2 in cockpit" rule 1 May 2017
 
Swiss International Airlines has decided to abandon the "two in the cockpit at all times whilst flying" rule, according to articles here and here, as of 1 May 2017. (FlightAware and The Local CH.)

'A safety review “concluded that the requirement of having two crew members in the cockpit at all times during a flight does not enhance safety, and actually introduces additional risks to daily operations in flight safety terms (such as the fact that the rule results in more and longer openings of the cockpit door),” it said.' As well, SWISS complies with EASA rules regarding flight crew.

worldclubber May 6, 17 2:59 am

A main driving force have been the pilots. They would rather have nobody in the cockpit during bathroom breaks of one of the pilots than an FA, who has undergone only a very short period of training and much less rigid background checks...

swiss_global May 23, 17 3:32 pm

True that the pilots were the driving force. However, based on my personal observations, this is rather because of the attitude many pilots still have. They cannot face that some of their colleagues committed suicide flying a plane, they don't want to talk about it, they don't want to be reminded. Period.

televisor May 23, 17 7:10 pm


Originally Posted by swiss_global (Post 28350435)
True that the pilots were the driving force. However, based on my personal observations, this is rather because of the attitude many pilots still have. They cannot face that some of their colleagues committed suicide flying a plane, they don't want to talk about it, they don't want to be reminded. Period.

I assume you've spoken to a large number of pilots to come to these conclusions?

Transpacificflyer May 23, 17 11:01 pm


Originally Posted by JDiver (Post 28272320)
Swiss International Airlines has decided to abandon the "two in the cockpit at all times whilst flying" rule, according to articles here and here, as of 1 May 2017. (FlightAware and The Local CH.)

'A safety review “concluded that the requirement of having two crew members in the cockpit at all times during a flight does not enhance safety, and actually introduces additional risks to daily operations in flight safety terms (such as the fact that the rule results in more and longer openings of the cockpit door),” it said.' As well, SWISS complies with EASA rules regarding flight crew.

Unfortunately, those of us who are expected to purchase the product are not allowed to read this "safety review". We are expected to accept it as is. In my line of work, one review does not a policy make. Studies undergo peer review and analysis in a transparent manner. The claim that the rule requires a longer opening of the door is a feeble reason. The german wings crash had the pilot lock the cockpit door such that the other pilot could not enter. The Swiss policy does not address this risk.

Swiss cannot guarantee that we won't have another incident with one of its own highly strung pilots. Considering the fact that the Swiss pilot demographics are the pool from which suicides are more likely (male, caucasian age 35-55) compounded by the fact that this group has a higher rate of suicide than other groups in Europe and is also higher than the world average, Swiss is playing with fire. (These numbers do not include assisted suicide.)

Swiss isn't immune to cockpit problems or pilot illness. and is making a mistake. In any case, I won't be onboard while they test out this new procedure.

televisor May 24, 17 12:39 pm


Originally Posted by Transpacificflyer (Post 28351965)
Unfortunately, those of us who are expected to purchase the product are not allowed to read this "safety review". We are expected to accept it as is. In my line of work, one review does not a policy make. Studies undergo peer review and analysis in a transparent manner. The claim that the rule requires a longer opening of the door is a feeble reason. The german wings crash had the pilot lock the cockpit door such that the other pilot could not enter. The Swiss policy does not address this risk.

Swiss cannot guarantee that we won't have another incident with one of its own highly strung pilots. Considering the fact that the Swiss pilot demographics are the pool from which suicides are more likely (male, caucasian age 35-55) compounded by the fact that this group has a higher rate of suicide than other groups in Europe and is also higher than the world average, Swiss is playing with fire. (These numbers do not include assisted suicide.)

Swiss isn't immune to cockpit problems or pilot illness. and is making a mistake. In any case, I won't be onboard while they test out this new procedure.

You do know that the cockpit doors can be unlocked from the outside (except in the case where the remaining pilot _chooses_ too override that)?

Which means that the _only_ risk is a malicious pilot. (And it's possible the door locking system has been changed in the meantime.)

And when you take that into account, and compare it to the risk of a malicious FA, you'll realise why this policy change was made. (Note: cockpits include tools that are useful in emergency situations...)

I won't fly swiss because of their terrible seating and baggage policies, but not for safety related reasons.

KLouis May 29, 17 3:19 am


Originally Posted by Transpacificflyer (Post 28351965)
...[snip]...Swiss cannot guarantee that we won't have another incident with one of its own highly strung pilots. Considering the fact that the Swiss pilot demographics are the pool from which suicides are more likely (male, caucasian age 35-55) compounded by the fact that this group has a higher rate of suicide than other groups in Europe and is also higher than the world average, Swiss is playing with fire...[snip]...

Could you also tell us how many cases of "suicide by plane" there have been and whether the stats allow for a country-specific risk assessment. My guess (only a guess!) is that these will be much weaker than the usual (in)famous medical statistics (don't start "screaming", I'm a medic myself ;)).

worldclubber May 29, 17 5:33 am


Originally Posted by televisor (Post 28354323)
And when you take that into account, and compare it to the risk of a malicious FA, you'll realise why this policy change was made. (Note: cockpits include tools that are useful in emergency situations...)

Which does make some sense, as pilots are much more closely monitored than FAs and it requires much longer traning to get a seat in the cockpit. Pilots have always argued that FAs in the cockpit could be much more of a danger than the occassional sick pilot.

Transpacificflyer May 30, 17 6:56 pm


Originally Posted by KLouis (Post 28372956)
Could you also tell us how many cases of "suicide by plane" there have been and whether the stats allow for a country-specific risk assessment. My guess (only a guess!) is that these will be much weaker than the usual (in)famous medical statistics (don't start "screaming", I'm a medic myself ;)).

You ask a leading question because we all know that the frequency of suicide by plane is quite low. However, I will turn it back on you by stating that a majority of the recent passenger jet crashes by suicide involved a pilot locking others out of the cockpit. Examples are EgyptAir 990, LAM 470, and GermWings 9525.

There are not many studies using large data pools. However, a starting point is here;
“Airplane Pilot Mental Health and Suicidal Thoughts: A Cross-sectional Descriptive Study via Anonymous Web-Based Survey,” Alexander C. Wu, Deborah Donnelly-McLay, Marc G. Weisskopf, Eileen McNeely, Theresa S. Betancourt, Joseph G. Allen, Environmental Health, online December 14, 2016, doi: 10.1186/s12940-016-0200-6 (Study funded and conducted under auspices of Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.)

1848 people from 50 countries responded, although the majority who responded were from 3 countries (Canada, USA and Australia). Pilot unions >5 unions), airline representatives (>65 airlines), pilot groups (>12 groups), and aviation safety organizations (>2 organizations) were involved. 3485 surveys were downloaded by December 31, 2015. The takeaway was the significant number of pilots with mental health issues.

If we apply this to the general population pool, we can model with confidence the expected numbers in any given country specific pilot population. In countries where a rate of suicide is higher, it is not unreasonable to expect that those countries' pilots would also demonstrate a higher frequency.

My opinion is that the presence of someone in the cockpit acts as a deterrent. Both as a physical and as an emotional deterrent. As several failed attempts have shown, there have been physical interventions. More importantly, the presence of someone is an emotional deterrent because it can dissuade a person predisposed or borderline from carrying through with a deviant behavior. If you take into consideration the common approach to "jumpers", the mere presence of someone in proximity acts to calm the jumper and facilitates the avoidance of a fatality.

mmff May 31, 17 6:00 am


Originally Posted by Transpacificflyer (Post 28351965)
Considering the fact that the Swiss pilot demographics are the pool from which suicides are more likely (male, caucasian age 35-55) compounded by the fact that this group has a higher rate of suicide than other groups in Europe and is also higher than the world average, Swiss is playing with fire. (These numbers do not include assisted suicide.)

Can you provide the source for these data? I'm not questioning your statement, just curious.

Transpacificflyer May 31, 17 6:15 pm


Originally Posted by mmff (Post 28382193)
Can you provide the source for these data? I'm not questioning your statement, just curious.

The data is from public health records, such as WHO. It's not a secret. Keep in mind that suicide has its own specific cultural, religious, gender, and age characteristics.
However, I don't think we should get bogged down in a discussion of the suicide rate per se. I certainly am not arguing for a multi person presence in the cabin simply because of the fact that there is a slightly higher rate of suicide amongst the Swiss. If that was the case, then one would have to demand that a mental health crisis counselor be a permanent fixture on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight deck as their rate is around 3X that of the Swiss. What I do know is that Sh*t happens. Fires, sickness, breakage. Suicide was only one of the issues. Minor issues can become big issues fast. I don't believe the reviews undertaken to support the decision to allow solo presence have been done. I get it. Some disagree with me and I certainly don't make policy. All I can do is control my own purchase decision.

8420PR Jun 1, 17 12:07 am


Originally Posted by Transpacificflyer (Post 28385367)
All I can do is control my own purchase decision.

But no European airline now has a 2-in-cockpit rule, so would you not fly in Europe at all?

txl087 Jun 1, 17 9:58 am

@Transpacificflyer

some general clarification and a few thoughts to think about:

On the flight deck, at least one pilot must always be in his/her seat. The reason why some, mostly US based carriers, have a 2 man rule is because if one of the pilots leaves the Cockpit, somebody needs to open the door if the other one wants to get back in. As most of them do no have video cameras installed, somebody needs to check trough the peephole that the person requesting to enter the cockpit is in fact a crew member. And that can only be done by a FA so that the remaining Pilot can stay in his seat.

Yes, the 2man Cockpit rule was installed after crash because of the fear of another crash. HOWEVER, this was primarily because a single carrier in Europe introduced the rule right after the accident screaming "how safe" they are now. Consequently the european carriers had to follow, not for safety, but for marketing reasons. The requirement/recommendation by the authorities was a not thought trough reaction so everybody can see that they are doing something.


The recommendation to remove the rule is based an EASA study (agency responsible for Aviation safety in europe). Believe me, they are not the ones who do listen to the pilots and/or Airline lobby. And to be honest, I do not think that it is possible to really say what is safer: 2man Cockpit rule with Cockpit doors remaining open longer creating a higher risk of somebody unwanted entering, or the possibility of a sick pilot.

Some people have to wrap their mind around the fact, that you will never ever create 100% safety. There is always a risk. It might be the sick Pilot, the open Cockpit door because people constantly have to enter/renter due to the 2man rule, the not completely checked FA etc. STILL, you are safer than taking any other means of Transportation. The only difference is, that if something that big happens, it creates more Attention because more people are affected. But looking at the numbers: 1.25mill death in car/bus accidents according to the WHO, compared to the estimated 1000 in planecrashes (http://www.statisticbrain.com/airpla...sh-statistics/.

Transpacificflyer Jun 1, 17 7:02 pm


Originally Posted by 8420PR (Post 28386371)
But no European airline now has a 2-in-cockpit rule, so would you not fly in Europe at all?

Are you sure about that? I prefer to approach this is a "procedure" and not as a "rule". Prior to the rush to embrace the "rule", the procedure of many airlines was to have 2 people in place as much as possible. Ryanair was one of the airlines that had a n internal rule to that effect and to the best of my knowledge still does. I don't know if BA has changed back yet. I suppose if Willy Walsh can save money he will, but until then it's as is. And just to be a smartass, the Russians still have a 2 person requirement. (Not in the EU, but in Europe aren't they?) I don't know if KLM has switched back.

To be honest, I don't fly much within Europe on airlines other than AF/KLM and I suppose I shouldn't mention safety in the same breath or criticize the *A airlines in comparison.

I noticed this comment;
Some people have to wrap their mind around the fact, that you will never ever create 100% safety. There is always a risk. Understood. However, when I think of the Qantas flight 32 with the catastrophic engine failure. There were 5 pilots in the cockpit at the time, 2 of whom were check pilots, and they were all used for the safe resolution of this crisis. I also think of BA flight 5390 where the captain was sucked out of the airplane when the windshield failed. All very rare events, but, they did occur.

swiss_global Jun 5, 17 10:45 am


Originally Posted by televisor (Post 28351242)
I assume you've spoken to a large number of pilots to come to these conclusions?

It's not representative in a scientific sense, but it's roughly two dozens over time ... I live in a place where many (mainly LX) pilots live.


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