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.