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Qantas Flight 32 - The Airbus A380 Engine Failure

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Light refreshments at 7.00pm

Richard de Crespigny served as a RAAF officer and pilot for 11 years until joining Qantas in 1986, flying Boeing 747s before converting to the Airbus A380 and becoming one of Quantas’ most senior captains.

It was at the control of the world’s largest and most advanced commercial jetliner when he and his fellow officers were faced with their greatest challenge. On 4 November 2010, early into the Singapore to Sydney leg of Qantas Flight QF32 , one of the aircraft’s four engines exploded, causing extensive damage to the nacelle, wing, fuel system, landing gear and flight controls. As well as keeping the 430 passengers calm, Richard and his fellow flight crew were faced with over 50 major system warnings. He first needed to stabilise the aircraft in the air before assessing how, or even if, the aircraft could be landed with such severe damage to its structure and systems. For two hours the flight crew manoeuvred the crippled aircraft, 50 tonnes overweight and with no way of dumping fuel, for a landing at Changi Airport, Singapore. They landed with just feet to go before the end of the runway, four burst tyres and fuel leaking onto overheated brakes.

This lecture will be a unique opportunity to hear about this extraordinary event as it unfolded in the air and on the ground from the pilot of the aircraft, Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny, who has been credited in the media as “having guided a heavily damaged double-decker jet to the safety of Singapore Airport and averting what could have been a catastrophe”. It is widely recognised as one of the outstanding feats of airmanship in aviation history.

This talk is part of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Cambridge Branch series.

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