National Transportation Safety Board

The mystery of Germanwings Flight 9525

The mystery of Germanwings Flight 9525

Anyone who boards a commercial jetliner knows the safety risks. Passengers buckle up and sometimes fortify themselves with a drink and the assurance that, statistically, flying gets safer and safer because planes are better engineered and pilots are better trained.

That assurance has been shaken by a spate of mysterious air crashes. Last year, a Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 239 people disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, without a trace. This week came the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. On Thursday, a chilling assertion: A French prosecutor said the co-pilot of Flight 9525 locked himself in the cockpit and deliberately slammed the plane into a...