FAA Had Questioned Mental Health Of Pilot In Germanwings Crash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five years ago Federal Aviation Administration officials questioned the mental fitness of the Germanwings pilot who crashed an airliner in the French Alps last month, but they awarded him a U.S. pilot license after his German doctor said he had fully recovered from severe depression, government records show.

The records, posted online by the FAA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, show Andreas Lubitz applied for a U.S. pilot license while he was employed by Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, and was training to be an airline pilot at a flight school in Phoenix in 2010. As part of the application, he initially submitted a medical form to the FAA asserting he had no mental disorders. He then resubmitted the form acknowledging he had been treated for severe depression from 2008 to 2009.

The FAA initially sent Lubitz a letter warning that his license application could be denied and giving him 30 days to provide a letter from his doctor describing his treatment and his current condition. The license was granted after he provided letters from his doctor describing his treatment and saying he had recovered.

Lubitz had suffered an episode of severe depression because he was unable to cope with “modified living conditions,” according to the letters. Lubitz was treated with two drugs, Cipralex and Mirtazapin, which, along with therapy, “enabled him to develop sufficient resources for getting on with similar situations in the future,” the doctor, whose name was blacked out by the FAA, said in one letter.

Prosecutors believe Lubitz intentionally crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf on March 24. Cockpit voice recordings indicate Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit after he had left. The captain can be heard on the recordings demanding to be let back in and trying to break down the door.

Lubitz and all 149 others on board the plane were killed in the crash.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest World-news
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: