Hats off to Captain Richard de Crespigny!
Photo © 2012 AP via AAP/Wong Maye-E
Qantas is justifiably famous for its boast that in has never had a fatal plane crash in the jet age.
But that record was suddenly, and dangerously, under threat for a nail-biting hour and 45 minutes on the 4th of November, 2010.
Four minutes after taking off from Singapore en route to Sydney, flight QF32 was suddenly thrown into peril when the number 2 engine of the Airbus A380 exploded.
Shrapnel ripped through the wing and fuselage, affecting 21 of the plane’s 22 computer systems.
As 54 error messages sounded in the cockpit, the experienced Captain Richard de Crespigny and his crew nursed the plane back to Singapore, making their way methodically through no less than 125 checklists.
Despite serious damage – including to braking systems, landing flaps, flight controls, and the engine adjacent to the one that exploded – they managed to land the plane safely. All 440 passengers and 29 crew were safely evacuated.
After the ordeal, passengers praised Captain de Crespigny for his flying skill, as well as his announcements every ten minutes keeping passengers informed of the situation.
Once on the ground in Singapore, he even gave passengers his mobile number and encouraged them to call him if they had any concerns.
Captain de Crespigny has now written a book about that dramatic day. It’s called QF 32, and he’ll be telling The Project all about it tonight.
Footnote: the engine explosion was found to be a result of a fault in the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine. Rolls Royce copped the blame and paid compensation. The aircraft is now back in service, after more than $140 million in repairs. In the wake of the explosion, A380s and Trent 900 engines were checked all around the world.