MIAMI — “I think the Australian culture contributes greatly to the piloting community. Australians have descended from convicts that were dispatched from England. So there is a bit of convict blood in most Australians. We have a bit of a rascally attitude, and we have a healthy disrespect for authority just by itself. To be respected, you have to be respectable. And leaders need to build respect to be respected. So, Australians will always challenge authority, and have that great rascal attitude. And what that means is that Australians are happy to say Stop.” –Qantas A380 Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny.

Captain de Crespigny flies the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, for Qantas Airways. 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.

The lessons of QF32 apply to anyone who is working in a high-risk environment that needs leadership and teamwork to survive. Actually, everyone who works in a place where failure is not an option.

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 the second part of his story.