Republican vows to ensure Germanwings can't happen here

Republican vows to ensure Germanwings can't happen here
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A top House Republican on Friday said the United States should take steps to prevent a domestic accident like the Germanwings flight that was apparently deliberately crashed by its co-pilot. 

French authorities have accused 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz of locking the captain of Germanwings Flight 9525 out of the cockpit and intentionally crashing the plane in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterLobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he would consider taking steps to ensure a domestic pilot could not copy Lubitz’s actions on a flight in the United States.

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“As we continue to learn the facts of this tragedy, we need to be sure that the procedures and protocols in place in our aviation system can prevent a similar incident here,” he said in a statement. 

“It’s encouraging that some non-U.S. air carriers are already taking immediate steps and implementing a requirement, already in place in the United States, that two crew members be in the cockpit at all times,” Shuster continued. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the aviation community to ensure that the U.S. aviation system remains the safest in the world.”

Officials in France, where the flight crashed, have not labeled the German Lubitz a terrorist. Reports Friday indicated that Lubitz destroyed a doctor's note excusing him from work on the day of the crash before he entered the cockpit for the fatal flight.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show Lubitz was certified as a pilot by U.S. officials. The FAA certification lists Lubitz as a “private pilot (foreign based),” who was allowed to fly single-engine places and gliders in the U.S.

U.S. airline industry officials have said an accident like the Germanwings crash is unlikely to happen on a domestic jetliner because American regulations require two people to be in airplane cockpits at all times. 

“Every airline in the United States has procedures designed to ensure that there is never a situation where a pilot is left alone in the cockpit,” the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement that was provided to The Hill earlier this week. 

Norwegian Air has pledged to implement the two-person cockpit requirement, and Germanwings parent company, Lufthansa Airlines, followed suit on Friday.