QF32 pilot Captain Richard de Crespigny has defended the actions taken by his crew after an uncontained engine failure forced the Sydney-bound Airbus A380 to return to Singapore’s Changi Airport in November last year.
Speaking at a joint event hosted by the Australian Association of Aviation and Aerospace Industries (AAAAI) and Monash University in June, the veteran pilot hit back at internet criticism which questioned why the crew of QF32 did not land immediately after the explosion occurred, and the decision not to evacuate passengers and crew via the aircraft’s escape slides.
“It was threat and error management. If we’d landed straight away we may have got the approach speed too low and stalled, or approached too fast and ended up off the runway,” de Crespigny argued, adding that it took 55 minutes to stabilise the A380 once the explosion occurred.
“We had fuel, and fuel gave us time.”
On the decision not to deploy escape slides, de Crespigny said the crew was driven by a desire to avoid unnecessary injuries, such as the risk of broken limbs caused by the panic of an evacuation. “Our decision was based on the facts of where are the passengers safest right now,” he said.
de Crespigny also praised the reliability of Rolls-Royce engines and engine technology in general, pointing out that modern commercial jet engines had a failure rate of only 0.3 per 100,000 hours in 2010.