Andreas Lubitz, the homicidal co-pilot of the Germanwings Flight 9525 who by all accounts locked the pilot out of the cockpit before deliberately crashing into the French Alps, murdering all 149 aboard, had a Arizona connection. A spokesman for Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, acknowledged “Every Lufthansa pilot does part of their training in Phoenix, simply because the weather there is so good and conditions are good for flying.”
The flight school training program takes between a year and a half to two years to complete, and includes several months in Arizona flying small training aircraft, as well as simulator and classroom work. The Airline Training Center Arizona, an arm of Lufthansa, has trained the German airline’s pilots for 45 years, according to its website, which proclaims “Students From Europe To Asia All Train Under The Sunny Skys (sic) Over Metropolitan Phoenix. Perfect Conditions For Learning To Fly.”
The Phoenix area is home to a large number of flight schools, which make good use of our usually clear skies.
The pilot who crashed a hijacked airliner into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, did his flight training in Arizona. The hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77 were led by Hani Hanjour who trained at the CRM Airline Training Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he received an FAA commercial pilot’s certificate. He had previously been rejected for pilot’s training in Saudi Arabia.
In all probability, they have more rigorous psychological testing.