Paris- A flight data organisation, said data from the transponder of the Germanwings plane that crashed in France, showed that someone had manually altered the autopilot altitude to less than 30 meters.
FlightRadar24, which tracks aviation traffic, said on Friday in Paris that there were indications that between 09:30:52 and 09:30:55 local time, the autopilot of the aircraft was manually changed from 38,000 feet to 100 feet.
“9 seconds later the aircraft started to descend, probably with the ‘open descent’ autopilot setting,” it said.
Flight 4U9525 left Barcelona around 10 am (0900 GMT) on Tuesday, and disappeared from radar around an hour later.
It later crashed into a mountainside 165 kilometres north-east of the southern French city of Marseille, killing all on board.
It said the transponder data further confirmed the announcement made on Thursday by French authorities that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, manually began a descent procedure when alone in the cockpit.
Lubitz did not respond when the captain and crew pounded on the locked door.
The FlightRadar24 said data was collected from the transponder’s automated responses to interrogating radar requests.
Meanwhile, an aviation report indicated that the revelation has prompted aviation authorities to review safety procedures.
It said the procedures have so far focused on scenarios such as keeping possible hijackers out of the cockpit, rather than containing problems on the flight deck.
David Morgan, New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety, said it was changing its rules to require two crew members in the cockpit at any time.
He said the new rules would mitigate any risk posed by one pilot becoming incapacitated while operating an aircraft.
Morgan said if one of the two pilots operating the flight needs to leave the cockpit for a short time a crew member would be required to enter the cockpit in their place.
The report said Canadian aviation authorities were making the same move, as well as individual airlines in Britain, Norway and Iceland.
Australia Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, said safety procedures were being reviewed as after every major aviation incident.
He said airlines in Australia are currently not required to have two people in the cockpit at all times.
There were 150 people on the plane, including some 75 Germans, 50 Spaniards, and over a dozen other nationalities, records show. (dpa/NAN)