Richard de Crespigny named Member of the Order of Australia

Captain Richard de Crespigny
Captain Richard de Crespigny (AM)

Richard de Crespigny, who was at the controls of flight QF32 when its engine exploded shortly after it took off from Singapore in November 2010, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

The Qantas captain received his award, which was announced in the Australia Day honours list on Tuesday, “for significant service to the aviation industry both nationally and internationally, particularly to flight safety, and to the community”.

“As captain and pilot in command he played a major role in saving the lives of 469 passengers and crew on board Qantas Flight 32 out of Singapore on 4th November 2010 after one of its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines exploded causing a major fire and extreme danger to the A380 aircraft itself and all on board,” the Australia Day 2016 honours list said.

The uncontained engine failure on board the Qantas Airbus A380, VH-OQA, occurred shortly after the flight took off from Singapore bound for Sydney on November 4 2010, with parts of the engine cowling found on the Indonesian island of Batam.

Despite significant structural and systems damage, de Crespigny and his colleagues in the flight deck – Qantas’s first A380 and named after Australian aviation legend Nancy-Bird Walton – managed to return to Singapore Changi Airport for a safe landing. No passengers or crew were injured. The double-decker superjumbo underwent significant repairs that took 16 months to complete and cost $139 million before it eventually returned to service in April 2012.

Investigators found the failure was a due to a fatigue crack in an oil feed-pipe in the number two Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine of the aircraft. This led to an internal oil leak and fire, with the turbine disc eventually bursting through the engine casing.

Comments

  1. adammudhen says

    Well deserved, if you haven’t read “QF32” yet, I suggest you pick it up, it’s a great read.

  2. Cheryl says

    If anyone truly deserved such an award; it’s this guy. Congratulations Richard.The effort you and your team put in that day was extraordinary; amazing team work, led by the best.

  3. Stewart says

    ….an award which he will no doubt share equally with the other flight deck occupants who as a team collectively managed the situation on the day…

  4. Vannus says

    What Richard, & Capt Chesley Sullenberger have in common, is they learned to fly originally in their respective Air Force’s.

    Nothing beats that, as they learn everything there is to know, & both these two gentleman have put their ‘basic’ skill & knowledge to good effect, saving hundred’s of lives under their command.

    Congratulations, Richard!

    This award should NOT have taken so long to be put forward, & presented.

  5. Ex Qantas apprentice, LAME and F/Eng says

    A well deserved award which must apply to all members of that Aircraft’s Crew both cockpit and cabin crew.
    An example of operating strictly by the book and completing each drill and pausing to detect any degradation of A/C performance before proceeding to the next drill.. I can’t help but think how the pilot’s work load at the time would have benefitted with an experienced Flight Engineer.

  6. Smej says

    Great team effort but someone has to get the nod. Well done Richard. A flight engineer as a technical representative on the flagship type is worthy of consideration if only for another perspective in lateral thinking of the situation especially if the crew isn’t supplemented. Worthy of a simex trial..

  7. Aussieflyer says

    “”
    What Richard, & Capt Chesley Sullenberger have in common, is they learned to fly originally in their respective Air Force’s.

    Nothing beats that, as they learn everything there is to know, & both these two gentleman have put their ‘basic’ skill & knowledge to good effect, saving hundred’s of lives under their command.””

    Just a reply to Vannus, whilst I’m sure Richard and Sully are great pilots, don’t forget the majority of airline pilots today have come from a civilian only background. There have also been plenty of situations where pilots from a civilian only background have managed to safely land their crippled aircraft. I believe the British Airways double engine failure in Heathrow in 2007 was an example
    Civilian pilots are trained in the same engine and system failure procedures, and receive full theoretical and practical initial training.

    In Qantas’ case, they recruit pilots from a wide variety of backgrounds (cadets, flying instructors, charter pilots, RFDS, turboprop pilots, other airlines, ex-air force) The key factor is they are all trained to a very high standard, and every single one of them could have achieved the same outcome as Richard on the day.