Qantas flight QF32 hit the headlines on Thursday after one of its engines detonated minutes after take-off from Changi Airport in Singapore on a flight bound for Sydney. That the flight was able to safely return to Singapore is due in no small way to the flight crew, headed by Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny. The Herald reports:
Two thousand metres above Indonesia, smoke trailing from a shattered engine and with holes punched in his port wing, Richard Champion de Crespigny was an island of calm.
The captain of Qantas flight QF32, responsible for 466 passengers and crew aboard the world's biggest airliner and with an emergency no other Airbus A380 pilot had faced, switched on his intercom.
"I do apologise. I'm sure you are aware we have a technical issue with our No 2 engine ... I'm sure you are aware we are not proceeding to Sydney at this stage. The aircraft is flying safely at this stage. Thank you for your patience."
In the cabin behind, flight attendants moved among anxious passengers who had been rocked by two explosions and a shudder that ran through the fuselage of the double-decked superjumbo.
It's a terrific story; not unlike the calmness under pressure shown by American pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger when he landed his plane on the Hudson River a year or so ago.
Captain de Crespigny wasn't just calm under pressure. Have a look at the video below, and listen as the captain makes the annoucement to passengers; this bloke has ice-water running through his veins. We'd hate to meet him at the poker table!
Anyway, all's well that ends well, and QF32 landed safely, although it blew a few tyres due to debris from the blown engine. The passengers will have some tales to tell. We're not sure that we're going to be rushing to climb aboard an A380 any time soon though!