Pilot "Rehearsed" Rapid Drops In Altitude Before French Crash

Photo: ANNE­CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images.
Andreas Lubitz, the pilot who crashed a Germanwings flight in March, practiced the dive in altitude he'd later use to down that plane, according to a report from French investigators. 

On a flight earlier that day, Lubitz set the plane's altitude to 100 feet for periods of a few seconds several times, as if testing to see how a dramatic change in altitude would affect the plane's systems. In those instances, the altitude dial was changed back quickly enough to evade detection. That flight landed safely in Spain. 

“To us, it is clear that this was some kind of rehearsal,” Rémi Jouty, the director of the B.E.A., told The New York Times. “We see the same actions being taken in the same circumstances, at a moment when the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit."

The information was released in a report Wednesday by BEA, the French agency that oversees transportation.

Lubitz, 27, was the co-pilot of flight 9525 who is believed to have locked the pilot out of the cabin before deliberatey flying the plane into the French Alps. The March 24 crash, en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, killed all 150 people on board. The flight's black box captured sounds of the captain banging on the cabin door as the plane went down.
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