Investigators have not made any explicit safety recommendations relating to medical checks following the inquiry into the deliberate LAM Embraer 190 crash in Namibia in November 2013.
None of the 33 occupants survived after the captain, left alone in the cockpit, commanded a rapid descent which culminated in a high-speed collision with terrain.
The crash, in November 2013, occurred in strikingly-similar circumstances to the loss of a Germanwings Airbus A320 in the French Alps some 16 months later.
Namibia’s government approved the release of the LAM final report on 5 April, just three weeks after French investigators detailed their findings about the Germanwings event.
While the Germanwings case involved a pilot with a known history of psychological treatment, and generated multiple safety recommendations centred on medical checks, the LAM inquiry does not indicate a similar record of problems for the Embraer captain.
It says he held an airline transport pilot licence, valid to September 2014, and a valid medical certificate, and that a medical report from the Mozambican health ministry showed he had “gone through evaluation and physical aptitude for carrying out pilot duties”.
He was last examined in August 2013, three months before the crash, as part of a routine medical check “including psychological evaluation”, the inquiry adds.
While the check-up resulted in physical advice, the inquiry does not specify whether there were any notable psychological findings. Investigations later showed that the captain had been through a number of difficult personal circumstances including the suicide of his son just nine months earlier.
Both the captain and the first officer of the LAM aircraft were “suitably rested”, it states, adding that the captain had taken leave the day before the crash.
Cockpit-voice recorder information from the ill-fated Maputo-Luanda flight revealed no obvious pointers to the subsequent developments.
Most of the conversation for the first 1h 50min was “dominated by general discussion about the country’s politics and social activities”, says the inquiry.
“There was a cordial if not pleasant conversation between the two crew members in the cockpit,” it states. “At no point was there a hint of any [non-procedural] activities or other deviation.”
After the first officer left the flightdeck for the lavatory, cockpit-voice recorder information indicates altitude changes being dialled into the pre-selector some 1min 15s after the cockpit door closed.
Changes to the pre-selector resulted in the aircraft departing from its assigned cruise level and entering its fatal descent.
Investigators list six safety recommendations but none explicitly appears to relate to medical and psychological checks for cockpit crews.
ICAO should establish a working group to look into “threat management emanating from both [sides] of the cockpit door”, the inquiry says, and “avert the locking-out” of crew members.
Source: Cirium Dashboard