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One seemingly plausible theory about the MH370 disappearance is that one or other of the pilots locked the other one out of the cockpit and then depressurised the cabin.

However, this answer mentions a code that can be entered to unlock the cockpit door. Could this apply in this case (on a 777)?

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2 Answers 2

Yes, see the Ethiopian Airlines hijacking in February 2014.

From this BBC article about MH370:

The security of the cockpit door offers protection against intruders, but it also prevents action being taken if something does go wrong. Last month the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines flight waited for the pilot to go to the toilet before hijacking the aircraft and flying it to Switzerland.

As for higher authority codes, from the same answer you linked to:

Even if the stronger code is entered that will open the door the pilots still have some time to cancel the unlock request.

Meaning that if a pilot is willfully locking the other out of the cockpit, there is no way for the other to regain access to the cockpit.

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5  
They must balance the need for the pilot "outside" to get back in to assist (or overpower) the other pilot, and the need to protect against someone taking the key or otherwise forcing the "outside" pilot to unlock the door for them. It's not an easy choice for the designer to make, and so far they seem to be more concerned with the latter case. If there are more cases of rogue pilots, the choice may swing back to making it easier to enter from the outside. As soon as there are a number of hijackings, the pendulum will again swing... –  Phil Perry Mar 27 at 19:22

yes.. if one pilot decides to hijack the plane and the other pilot is locked outside without any way to gain entry back into the cockpit, there must be other ways to ensure passenger and crew safety such as an external distress signal to ATC or senior crew having access to the cockpit that only they can know about and can access...

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Welcome to Aviation! Is this a suggestion of what should be the case, or is that an option that's currently available in such a siutation? –  Qantas 94 Heavy Apr 2 at 13:50

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