Richard de Crespigny is arguably Australia’s best-known commercial airline pilot. He’s also one of the nation’s outstanding corporate speakers.
The Qantas A380 captain 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 in early November 2010.
In the very early stages of the Singapore/Sydney leg of flight QF32, one of the aircraft’s four engines exploded.
The damage to the aircraft was extensive. On top of ensuring that its 440 passengers remained calm during the ordeal, Richard de Crespigny had a mammoth task 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 to stabilise the damage, configure the overweight aircraft, then manoeuvre it towards Changi Airport in Singapore.
Once safely 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 nervous hours before they safely disembarked.
The incident brought into play Richard de Crespigny’s considerable skills involving teamwork, leadership, crisis management and problem solving – and putting many years of highly-skilled training into practice. A combination of these factors now provide the theme of his corporate presentations that have seen him address some of the world’s largest and most important industry and corporate groups.