Heroic Qantas pilot, Richard de Crespigny, to speak at AIA
For Immediate Release
24 July 2012
Heroic Qantas pilot, Richard de Crespigny, to
speak at AIA Conference in
Richard de Crespigny, the Australian pilot in command who saved the lives of 469 Qantas passengers on flight QF32 on November 4 2010 after its engine exploded mid-flight, will speak at the Aviation Industry Association awards banquet in Rotorua on Thursday, 9 August.
The Aviation Industry Association (AIA) has issued an open invitation to the public to join its members for this special event.
Captain de Crespigny’s New Zealand book launch will take place at the dinner. The book, entitled QF32, provides a vivid account of the harrowing incident. Following the dinner, the Captain will be available to speak with guests and sign books.
On that fateful day, Captain de Crespigny had dead-headed to Singapore from Sydney to take control of the continuation of QF32 (London to Sydney). In mid-flight, one of the aircraft’s engines exploded, setting off a chain reaction of technical failures that created a critical emergency situation.
On top of ensuring that 469 passengers remained calm during the ordeal, Richard had a mammoth battle on the flight deck to keep the aircraft in the air and get it back on the ground.
For two hours he and his fellow crew remained calm as they planned how to stabilise the damage, configure the overweight aircraft, manoeuvre it toward Changi Airport in Singapore and eventually land it safely.
“My account in the book contains important messages regarding teamwork, problem solving, judgement, knowledge, experience and putting years of highly-skilled training into practice. I also cover the after-effects of this hugely pivotal event and how my life has changed forever.
“At the AIA dinner, I will talk through the incident, what I’ve learned as a result and how it’s affected me personally,” explains Captain de Crespigny.
QF32 carries endorsements from astronaut Neil Armstrong and Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, who successfully landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River.
Irene King, Chief Executive of the AIA says she, “personally heard Richard speak last year, which was the catalyst to our determination to bring him to New Zealand. His story is inspirational and tells of some very salutary lessons about the interaction between technology and people.
“The A380 is, arguably, the most advanced passenger aircraft operating in our skies today and it still took every inch of skill and airmanship to guide the aircraft back to safety.”
Getting the A380 aircraft up and flying again has been attributed, in part, to a group of Kiwi companies, led by Metal Tech Engineering of Hamilton.
Following the incident, several New Zealand companies were called in, at short notice, to manufacture the tools and dies required to remove the damaged engine from the aircraft so that it could be repaired and refitted. Following Captain de Crespigny’s talk, a representative from Metal Tech Engineering will provide a short account of the companies’ roles in the retrofitting and repair process.
“Whether you’re an aviation buff or you simply enjoy amazing heroic tales of human triumph, you don’t want to miss this event,” urges Ms King.
The Aviation Industry Association Gala Dinner is on Thursday, 9 August at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua at 7pm. Individual tickets are $167, two for $334 or a table of ten for $2000. There are discounts for AIA members. Tickets can be booked online at www.aia.org.nz/A380 or by phoning 04 472 2707.
Further information about Richard de Crespigny, the incident and his book, QF32:
Australian pilot Richard de Crespigny was in command of the world’s largest and most advanced commercial jetliner on 4 November 2010 when he and his fellow officers were faced with their greatest challenge.
He had dead-headed to Singapore from Sydney to take control of the continuation of Qantas flight QF32 (London origin) to Sydney.
He has now explained explain in vivid detail in his about-to-be-released book QF32 (Pan Macmillan) the drama aboard the aircraft once the engine exploded.
The book carries endorsements from astronaut Neil Armstrong and Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, who successfully landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River.
Says Armstrong: “A gripping tale of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. In QF32, Richard de Crespigny recounts a hair-raising story of responsibility and complexity as he brings 469 passengers and crew safely to Earth after encountering one of the most catastrophic in-flight disasters in aviation history.”
Adds Sullenberger: “A compelling journey of leadership and resilience. I’ve been in the captain’s seat myself when things go catastrophically wrong and Richard’s description of a well-trained crew to save lives gives a unique insight into how experience and judgement can avert a disaster. Anyone who has flown, or is about to fly, should read this remarkable story”.
The damage to the aircraft was extraordinary. Photographs in the book show the extent with pictures never before seen.
On top of ensuring that 469 passengers remained calm during the ordeal, he had a mammoth fight on the flight deck to keep the aircraft in the air and then get it back on the ground. For two hours he and his fellow crew (technical and cabin) remained calm as they planned how to stabilise the damage, configure the overweight aircraft then manoeuvre towards Changi Airport in Singapore.
Once on the ground, a recalcitrant engine refused to shut down, fuel was leaking near white hot brakes and a new environment was set for potential disaster. Passengers remained on board for two gruelling hours before they were safely disembarked. The book tells how he kept them calm and how panic was averted. It also explains why he made the decision to keep passengers on board. Using a slide evacuation posed too many dangers.
The book also reveals how he addressed passengers with full disclosure in the terminal afterwards, preparing them for the press and even giving them his mobile number for possible counselling.
QF32 covers his childhood and why and how he became a pilot, firstly with the Royal Australian Air Force, during which time he was seconded to Government House in Canberra as Aide-de-Camp two Australian Governors General.
QF32 contains important messages regarding teamwork, problem solving, judgement, knowledge, experience and putting years of highly-skilled training into practice. It also covers the after effects of such a pivotal event and how his life has changed forever.
Richard de Crespigny Bio:
1957 Born - Melbourne
1974 Matriculation (Melbourne Grammar)
1975 Joined RAAF Academy (Point Cook)
1979 BSc and Grad Dip MilAv (Melbourne University)
1979 RAAF Pilot's course
1980 Posted to Caribou Transport (38 Squadron, Richmond)
1982 Aide-de-Camp to Sir Zelman Cohen and Sir Ninian Stephen
1983 Posted to Iroquois (helicopter) (5 Squadron, Canberra)
1984 Posted to Sinai Desert (Egypt)
1984 Posted to Fighter Introduction Course and Fleet Support (Williamtown)
1986 Posted to RAAF Instructor's Course
1986 Resigned from RAAF (Flight Lieutenant)
1987 Started "Aeronaut Industries Pty Ltd" - Computer software distribution and development
1986 Joined Qantas Converted to Boeing 747-200 & 300 (Classic)
1989 Converted to Boeing 747-400
2004 Converted to Airbus A330
2008 Converted to Airbus A380
4 Nov 2010 QF32
2012 23 July - QF32 book launched
Married: Coral Mae Ford
Children: Alex (b 1989) and Sophia (b 1990)
Flying Hours: 16,000 (since 1976)
Currently: Launching his first book QF32.
Future: His second book, a technical analysis of big jets, is due out in 2014