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Caption: Richard de Crespigny
Richard de Crespigny 

Conversations 108: Richard de Crespigny

From: Richard Fidler
Series: Conversations with Richard Fidler
Length: 53:29

Embed_button
A conversation with Richard de Crespigny, the pilot in command of flight QF 32 out of Singapore, when one of its engines exploded, crippling the flight systems and terrifying the 440 passengers on board.

Richard_de_crespigny_small Richard de Crespigny is a senior pilot with Qantas, an airline that prides itself on its safety record.

One morning in November 2010, he was the pilot in command of a brand new Airbus A380 jet out of Singapore, carrying 440 passengers and 29 crew.

Just minutes after take-off, one of the plane's jet engines exploded, and fragments tore through the fuselage like shrapnel, crippling the flight systems.

Richard de Crespigny knew something had gone badly wrong, that everyone's life was in serious danger, but the true nature of the accident was unknowable while the plane was in the air. 

As the system failures piled up, he realised he needed to focus on what was working instead of on what wasn't. Meanwhile the cabin crew were keeping a close eye on the startled passengers to stop panic breaking out. 

The world watched the crisis unfold in real time: within minutes of the explosion, shattered engine pieces crashed onto a Pacific island. Images of the debris were tweeted to the world and then picked up by cable news networks. The CEO of Qantas was alerted to the crisis when he was told the share price had suddenly tanked . All this within 15 minutes of the explosion.

Richard brought the crippled plane to the ground successfully, but at some personal cost to himself.
 

Piece Description

Richard de Crespigny is a senior pilot with Qantas, an airline that prides itself on its safety record.

One morning in November 2010, he was the pilot in command of a brand new Airbus A380 jet out of Singapore, carrying 440 passengers and 29 crew.

Just minutes after take-off, one of the plane's jet engines exploded, and fragments tore through the fuselage like shrapnel, crippling the flight systems.

Richard de Crespigny knew something had gone badly wrong, that everyone's life was in serious danger, but the true nature of the accident was unknowable while the plane was in the air. 

As the system failures piled up, he realised he needed to focus on what was working instead of on what wasn't. Meanwhile the cabin crew were keeping a close eye on the startled passengers to stop panic breaking out. 

The world watched the crisis unfold in real time: within minutes of the explosion, shattered engine pieces crashed onto a Pacific island. Images of the debris were tweeted to the world and then picked up by cable news networks. The CEO of Qantas was alerted to the crisis when he was told the share price had suddenly tanked . All this within 15 minutes of the explosion.

Richard brought the crippled plane to the ground successfully, but at some personal cost to himself.
 

Broadcast History

Originally broadcast on ABC Radio, Australia (re-edited here for a US audience).

Timing and Cues

Piece Audio Version

Billboard
In cue: "At one stage I looked..."
Out cue: "... right after this."
Dur: 1'00"

Segment 1
In cue: Theme music.
Out cue: "... That's just ahead."
Dur: 18'22"

Break 1
In cue: Music
Out cue: Music fades
Dur: 58"

Segment 2
In cue: Music sweeper.
Out cue: "... That's in a moment."
Dur: 16'22"

Break 2
In cue: Music
Out cue: Music fades
Dur: 58"

Segment 3
In cue: Music sweeper.
Out cue:"... Thanks for listening."
Dur: 15'47"

Conversations 108.De Crespigny SINGLE FILE Version

Single File
In cue: Theme music.
Out cue: "... Thanks for listening."
Dur: 52'29"

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Right now: 'Conversations with Richard Fidler' (pron: FY-dler) features the hair-raising story of Richard de Crespigny (pron: 'de CREPP-nee'), who was piloting an A380 passenger jet when an engine exploded in mid-air, crippling the flight systems. He brought the 440 passengers safely to the ground, but at some personal cost to himself.

OUTRO:

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Hollywood Sunset Barry Adamson Lost Highway. Fontana Interscope 1997 01:00
Ricky's Theme Beastie Boys The In Sound From Way Out. Capitol 1996 02:00

Related Website

abc.net.au/conversations