MONTABAUR,GERMANY (TIP): Andreas Lubitz never appeared anything but thrilled to have landed a pilot’s job with Germanwings, according to those who helped him learn to fly as a teenager in this town in the forested hills of western Germany.
On March 26, French prosecutors said Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, “intentionally” crashed the jet into the side of a mountain Tuesday in the French Alps.
Members of his hometown flight club in Montabaur, where he renewed his glider license last fall, told The Associated Press that the 27-year-old Lubitz appeared to be happy with the job he had at the airline, a low-cost carrier in the Lufthansa Group.
After starting as a co-pilot with Germanwings in September 2013, Lubitz was upbeat when he returned to the LSC Westerwald e.V glider club to update his glider pilots’ license with about 20 takeoffs.
“He was happy he had the job with Germanwings and he was doing well,” said longtime club member Peter Ruecker, who watched Lubitz learn to fly. “He was very happy. He gave off a good feeling.”
Club chairman Klaus Radke said he rejects the Marseille prosecutors’ conclusion that Lubitz deliberately put the Germanwings flight into a descent and dove it straight into the French Alps after the pilot had briefly left the cockpit.
“I don’t see how anyone can draw such conclusions before the investigation is completed,” he told the mediapersons.
At the house of Lubitz’s parents, the curtains were drawn and four police cars were parked outside. Police blocked the media from the single-family, two-story home in a prosperous new subdivision on the edge of Montabaur, a town 60 kilometers (nearly 40 miles) northwest of Frankfurt.
A team of investigators entered the home and, on Thursday evening, people could be seen emerging with blue bags, a big cardboard box and what looked like a large computer. Another person who came out was shielded from reporters with a coat by police.
Investigators also searched the apartment that Lubitz kept in Duesseldorf in an upscale three-story building in an affluent neighborhood.