Today, 4th November 2015 marks the 5th Anniversary of the QF32 event.
QF32 is a story of team excellence, where eight teams pooled their knowledge, training, experience working in intrepid teams to overcome a black swan event.
I again wish to thank the 8 teams of more than 1,000 people who helped deliver 469 passengers and crew home to their loved ones. The teams include:
- the 5 pilots,
- the 24 cabin crew,
- Singapore Air Traffic Control,
- Singapore Police,
- Singapore Rescue and Fire Fighting Services,
- Singapore and Qantas Ground Staff,
- Qantas Crisis Centre (hundreds in four tiers), and
- the 440 passengers.
Stories Five Years later …
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau writes: “Five years on: how the QF32 investigation improved safety”
I have pleasure in publishing three stories from three separate groups of people who were drawn into the event.
Story 1 – by Adrian, Maria Freer – QF32 Passengers – United Kingdom
It’s been 5 years – how time flies (excuse the pun) but QF32 is forever in our thoughts.
There’s not many days when I don’t think about the QF32 incident. It will stay with us for the rest of our lives. What the captain and crew did that day to bring us all home safely is nothing short of a miracle.
Time has moved on but Maria and I will always owe the crews of QF32 for keeping us safe . We look forward to meeting you all and having a chat over beers we owe you. Maybe then we can draw a line under it and move forward.
We think of ourselves as fortunate to survive an incident that only a select few people in the world experience and few survive, so I guess it wasn’t our time to go.
Thanks again to Richard and to all the QF32 teams. Without you I’m sure it would have been a different outcome and this message wouldn’t have been written.
(Adrian’s and Maria’s two children Luca and Leo were also on board QF32)
Story 2 – by Carolyn and Derwyn Jones – QF32 Passengers – United Kingdom
The odds were stacked against us. We should not be here.
The success of the QF32 endeavour has meant a lot to us personally. Five years on from the event we have seen our children mature and achieve further professional success – our grandchildren grow and flourish. We have led a rich and fulfilling life during these years. The incident has motivated us to maximise every moment of the ‘More Time’ that we had been granted – not least by travelling to over 20 different countries in the last five years.
We fully appreciated the difficulties being addressed by the QF32 pilot and cabin crew teams (on our behalf), only incrementally and sometime after the episode. Five years later, we now find ourselves in a pivotal position to explain the experience from our perspective. As passengers who witnessed the entirety of the prolonged crisis, we have the privilege to describe these series of serendipitous incidents.
Over the past five years we have endeavoured to raise awareness of the exemplary management of this prolonged critical event. These efforts culminated in us initiating the Facebook group ‘QF32 – publish globally’ three months ago with the intention of leading up to today’s 5th anniversary of QF32. We created this Facebook group for two significant reasons:
- Firstly, we felt it was important to raise global awareness of the quality of crisis management that was involved in this venture. In this way, at a general level, the flying public would then be able to more fully appreciate the importance of the need for quality training and effective leadership in aviation. We felt this was a particularly important issue in this age of the proliferation of budget airlines, and the myriad of cost cutting measures which are so frequently being introduced within the public sector.
- Secondly, and even more importantly, we make the case to the new publishing company ‘Informa’ to produce QF32 in an academic format to document and enhance the already high standards achieved in aviation safety. One of the ways this could be accomplished is in the form of a qualitative case study narrative. A presentation of this kind would have the potential to benefit not only students and professionals within the aviation industry, but it could also assist others in high risk and dynamic industries who face similar challenges. After all, this text was written by an expert witness – the lead pilot at the time – and it graphically demonstrates the value of the human (ingenuity and teamwork) and corporate (safety, risk and leadership) factors that underpin safety in aviation.
The media is replete with dramatic accounts of failures and disasters worldwide. However a lot more could be learned from examining the the issues associated with success. These are the elements of resilience that were managed so brilliantly on board QF32. These are also the keys to our success for our personal and corporate lives.
So let’s celebrate and amplify the successes of QF32 by spreading the QF32 story world wide. We call upon ‘Informa’ to publish QF32 for the academic industry as a reference text on knowledge, experience and risk-crisis management. You will have the support, energy and enthusiasm of over 2,000 members of our Facebook group ‘QF32 – publish globally’.
Publishing QF32 in Europe and the USA would be the best way to honour the endeavours of the pilots and cabin crew of QF32, and the collaborative efforts of over 1,000 personnel from many countries who facilitated our safe return to Changi Airport on November 4th 2010.
First stop on Jossie Harris’ honeymoon – the A380 cockpit (VH-OQD) (26Aug15)
Story 3 – by Kelly Teo – Air Traffic Controller – Singapore
I was the tower controller handling your final approach back into Changi on that fateful day. Reading QF32 brought back so many memories.
No amount of Sim training for emergencies can ever prepare a controller for an emergency like QF32. On that day, while preparing for your approach, no one knew what to expect.
As the only approach rated controller in the tower that day, I was tasked to man the runway frequency when you were coming in to land. All the emergency procedures and RT were running through my head when I cleared you to land on long finals. You asked for a 20 miles final and as a tower controller, I knew I had to reassure you that all the assistance you need upon landing are all ready.
I can never forget how you told the firemen: “Qantas gives you permission to spray water into our engine to shut it down”. Thank you for a valuable lesson in handling this sort of emergency. Whenever I do on job training with a trainee, I will always relate this incident and your book to them.
Highest Respect for Airbus and (You’ve Gotta Love) the A380
I have the highest respect for Airbus. The Airbus A300 in 1974 was Airbus’ first aircraft and the world’s first twin-engine widebody jet in commercial service. Today, just 41 years later, Airbus has grown to become one of the world’s best airline manufacturers.
The A380 continues to be a passenger magnet:
The A380 fleet has carried more than 100 million passengers in more than 2 million flying hours on more than 270,000 revenue flights. (Interesting, that’s an average sector length of just 7.4 hours)
- Passengers I meet during my walks through the cabin love the smooth ride and overwhelming sense of calm that pervades the cabin. The ride in our A380 seats during the cruise is no different to your seat in your lounge room at home.
- Click here to view the LoveA380 web site where you can tour the A380 and review passenger’s comments.
- Passengers are especially thrilled to fly in VH-OQA – Nancy-Bird Walton.
- I continue to update my blog about the A380, Storm Petrels and Sweet Spots
Highest Respect For Rolls-Royce
I maintain the highest respect for Rolls-Royce. I have toured the Trent 900 manufacturing plants in Derby (UK) and Singapore. I have seen the technology, dedication and care that goes into making the most complex components on the Airbus A380 and A350.
Congratulations to Rolls-Royce for designing, building and maintaining the most remarkable engines in the automotive, military, maritime and aviation industries for over 111 years.
I will write more about Rolls-Royce technologies in future posts.
Some passengers on board QF32 may have suffered some form of stress. Many have addressed and resolved their issues. I wrote in my book “QF32” how I resolved my stresses.
My next book (due 2016 ) includes chapters on neuroscience, the mind, the startle effect and post traumatic stress (PTS).
I remain available to meet passengers and to help them in whatever way possible. Contact me below if you have outstanding questions or if you need my help.
Here is last year’s blog on the 4th Anniversary of the QF32 event.
Qantas celebrates its 95th anniversary on the 16th November. This will be a grand event with lots of celebrations. The celebrations have already started with a charity flight to Longreach in Qantas’ 737 ‘Retro Roo’
I have great pleasure to continue my patronage to Disabled Wintersport Australia and other organisations. We have exciting plans for 2016, so come and join us!
There are still many stories to tell about the QF32 event. I will publish more:
- Passenger “back stories”,
- Additional information that the publisher removed from my QF32 book, and
- Other stories relevant to the event.
I am head down working on a tight deadline to finish my next book that has the working title “Phoenix“. My book “QF32” explained what happened on the 4th November 2010. Phoenix will explain HOW and WHY behind QF32 and resilience in general. It will be published in late 2016. Stay tuned ….
Thank you again to the 1,000 people who helped 469 passengers and crew return home. This was a massive team effort, we studied and trained for this, we practiced for this.
The QF32 story – it’s not about me as the pilot in command of QF32, the pilots, the cabin crew or even my airline. It’s a story of resilience and team excellence where 8 teams pooled the industry’s knowledge, training, experience and worked together to survive a Black Swan Event. It’s about aviation that for the last 110 years has shared their knowledge and experience to made aviation safer for the travelling public.
We should all feel proud.
Coral and I send you our best wishes.