Andreas Lubitz is the German pilot who apparently flew a passenger plane with 150 people to a deliberate and deadly crash in the French Alps on 24 March 2015. There were no survivors and the confounding details of the event were pieced together by authorities in the days after the crash. Andreas Lubitz was from the western German town of Montabaur, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Frankfurt. The Guardian reported after the crash that Lubitz had been a member of a local flying club, Luftsportclub Westerwald, which said in a statement on its website that “Andreas became a member of the association and wanted his dream of flying to be realised. He began in the gliding school and made it to become a pilot.” Lubitz qualified as a pilot in 2008, then worked as a flight steward before becoming a first officer in September of 2013, according to Carsten Spohr, the CEO of Lufthansa, who spoke in a press conference after the crash. Lubitz began flying for Germanwings, a Lufthansa subsidiary, in September 2013 after standard training by Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen. Over the next 18 months he recorded 630 flight hours for the airline.
On 24 March 2015, Andreas Lubitz was the co-pilot on Germanwings flight 4U9525 from Barcelona, Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany. The flight crashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers and crew aboard, after a steady and unusual descent from 38,000 feet that began about 30 minutes into the flight. The cause of the crash was a mystery at first, but after the plane’s “black box” was found, audio recordings showed that Lubitz was apparently to blame. According to French prosecutor Brice Robin, the audio indicated that Lubitz locked the cockpit door after the pilot left to go to the bathroom and then flew the plane down to a deliberate crash: “The co-pilot is alone at the controls. He voluntarily refused to open the door of the cockpit to the pilot and voluntarily began the descent of the plane.” French authorities said that Lubitz was not known to be linked to political extremist groups or other terrorists, but German prosecutors later reported that he had suffered from depression in the past. Multiple reports said that investigators searching his home after the plane went down found a torn-up doctor’s note that called for him to go on medical leave. A statement from Duessedorf prosecutors said, in part, “Torn-up current medical certificates — also pertaining to the day of the act — were found, which after preliminary examination, support the assumption that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and his professional circles.”