MIAMI— “It will be a different decision, on every day, for every crew on an aircraft. But every pilot should be armed with the knowledge to make that decision.” –Qantas A380 Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny.
His name is Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny. He flies the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, for Qantas Airways. And on November 4, 2010, on Flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney, he and his crew suffered what is called a “Black Swan event.”
A “black swan” is an event so rare as to be unpredictable, but one that comes with major consequences. For example, 9/11, or the Black Monday financial market meltdown.
On November 4, 2010, Captain de Crespigny’s black swan came in the form of an engine failure.
A simple engine failure on a four-engine jet such as the A380—or even on a two-engine, for that matter—would not be much of an event. Moreover, it is extremely rare; only one out of every five pilots will experience one in their career.
Even so, flight crews train for engine failures all the time. So, too, hydraulic failures, electrical failures, flight control failures—you name it, the professional airline pilot has practiced it.
But how about all system failures at once? This is what Captain de Crespigny experienced when his Number 2 engine exploded inflight, resulting in a grueling, 4-hour event.
In an amazing demonstration of airmanship, CRM and determination, Captain de Crespigny and crew saved the ship and its passengers, who all walked safely away, with not a single injury.
Best-selling author of the award-winning book, QF32, Captain de Crespigny is now a worldwide sought-after speaker.
This is his story.