In the aftermath of Germanwings 9525 in 2015 many airlines instituted a two-person rule for the cockpit (aka "two-man rule") - with a flight-attendant replacing whichever pilot left the flight-deck.

In 2017 the industry rescinded that rule. Articles about the repeal of the rules don't mention what alternative processes are being used to prevent another occurrence of sole pilot murder-suicide - or a hypothetical where both pilots have suicidal intent - or when a single pilot is incapacitated while the other pilot is out of the cockpit for medical reasons or other reasons?

The problem being that while the reinforced cockpit door can be opened with an access-code, the occupant of the cockpit can countermand (indefinitely?) the access attempt. Has that policy been changed?

What safety-rule or practices are being instituted to protect against this - or is the pilot murder-suicide scenario being removed from the threat-model entirely? (so if I see one of the pilots banging on the cockpit door while in flight I should resign myself to my fate?)


1 Answer 1


The French accident investigation board, Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile (BEA), investigated this incident. The report was completed in March 2016. Among the recommendations for EASA was better medical and psychological monitoring by the aero medical examiners. Explicitly not recommended was the already mentioned practice of the two person rule, which leads to the security door being open too many times.

An aero medical examiner recommended that the pilot should have been committed to a mental facility two weeks before the incident. This fact only surfaced during the investigation. So his mental state was detected but because of lax institutional rules, nothing happened. The report can be found at bea.aero.

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    $\begingroup$ Very nice information. Apart from the recommendation regarding the "better medical and psychological monitoring," was anything implemented? $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Dec 31, 2019 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ "Explicitly not recommended was the already mentioned practice of the two person rule" – I looked at the report for a few minutes, and from what I saw, it looked like the two-person rule was recommended. Can you point out where the report recommends against this rule? $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2020 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ No, the two person rule was created as an intermediate solution. After the report came out, this was rolled back. One of the reasons was, that the cockpit door was left open longer and more often. This was undesirable. $\endgroup$
    – mike
    Jan 9, 2020 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ Well, you write that the two-person rule was "explicitly not recommended," so I was hoping you could point out exactly where the two-person rule is recommended against. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2020 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ This is a large part of the problem today: "the potential financial consequences generated by the lack of specific insurance covering the risks of loss of income in case of unfitness to fly" and BEA recommendation is "mitigation of the consequences of loss of licence". Someone pathologically anxious for their future is not going to provide an excuse for redundancy. Recognize problems are legitimate, encourage to tell about them instead of hiding them. That's a base of TQM and good management. Else nurses start hiding they broke a vaccine phial and inject water instead, as we have seen. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    May 17, 2021 at 16:46

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