I retired from a major airline in 1997. In those days, anybody who had things to do in the cockpit -- such as mechanics and flight attendants -- had a cockpit key ["Profile of Germanwings pilot prompts deep unease," News, April 6]. One key fit every plane in the fleet. The door wasn't exactly flimsy, but not crash-proof either.

Then the Sept. 11 attacks happened, in which the hijackers may have taken a cockpit key from a flight attendant to enter the cockpit. Hence, all airliners were fitted with crash-proof cockpit doors.

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The door is locked from inside the cockpit by means of a deadbolt. This made it possible for the co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus to do his dirty business in isolation.

I don't buy that he's a victim. If you're suicidal, jump off a bridge or hang yourself. Don't take 149 others along. What his agenda was nobody knows: possibly to harm the company through the multimillion-dollar compensation payout that's coming. In my book, he's a mass murderer of the worst kind.

Hans van Ophemert, Kings Park