The profound reason I fly Qantas 114



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There is a profound reason I fly QANTAS. Safety. It has entirely to do with the quality of crew training. Some people will not fly a particular airline (make your selection), for some probably obscure reason. Many believe they have certain knowledge of a problem, or a garbled version of something heard second or tenth hand but espoused as gospel truth. Much better for all of us take an entirely different perspective.

First, there is one misunderstanding I should dispel. We all know about QANTAS never having a fatal accident but this is inaccurate. Until 1951, the carrier had eight fatal accidents with a total 63 lives lost. Considering aviation at the time and the length of routes flown, even this record was a relatively good. About half the accidents were in wartime, including one aircraft shot down by enemy action. The airline’s last fatal accident was 64 years ago.

From that time, QANTAS’ record is exemplary and pretty well speaks for itself, but the fundamental record is only part of the story. Space does not allow a full discourse, but four major incidents this millennium show something more: the highest possible crew training standards have contributed to aircraft in distress brought in to safe landings with no loss of life. In this sphere, QANTAS is second to no other carrier worldwide.

In 2010, QF32, an Airbus A380 flying out of Singapore suffered a massive failure in one of its engines. The UERF, or uncontained engine rotor failure (basically caused through poor inspection practices at a Rolls Royce factory) allowed large, heavy pieces of shrapnel to burst out of the engine. Substantial damage was done to the electrical and hydraulic systems, and to the wing structure itself.

That giant aircraft returned safely to Changi Airport and made a successful landing. This was greatly due to the ability of the flight crew to understand their aircraft. They were able to ascertain what systems were in fact still working, and to what extent. A continuous and confusing flurry of signals flashed at them on their instruments, but they worked their way through it all. Five cool heads in the cockpit, supported by world’s best training procedures, saved the day… and 469 lives.

Three other major incidents have been handled in exemplary manner in recent years:

A QANTAS Airbus A330 began unexpectedly porpoising off the coast of Western Australia in 2008, diving inexplicably, then climbing sharply before once again diving. This came about basically because of a series of incorrect commands from one onboard computer system to the flight control computer. A huge effort was employed by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to establish the cause, the results of which required Airbus Industries to reprogram their huge international fleet.

At the time of the incident, unbelted passengers were thrown about the cabin, with many seriously injured. Once again, the crew maintained their calm, worked their way through the problem and diverted to a safe landing at Learmonth, rather than continue to Perth. Despite some serious injuries, all caused by the in-air event, everyone survived.

An exploding oxygen bottle caused a sudden decompression in a QANTAS 747 flying Hong Kong to Melbourne. Prompt action by the crew brought the aircraft down to a level where passengers and crew could breathe without the need for emergency oxygen. Despite severe structural damage to a wing root, training kicked in and the experienced crew made a safe emergency landing at Manila.

The fourth incident relates to a 747 flying London – Melbourne. What was basically a design fault in a galley drain allowed water to overflow and cause a massive electrical problem. Three of the plane’s four generator control units were put out of service. In this situation, there was a distinct possibility the 747 could run out of emergency electrical power.

Should this happen, the crew would have difficulty maintaining many essential operations, including fuel transfer. In a worst-case scenario, they may have been required to fly the huge jet on basic instruments similar to those in a light aircraft. They experienced a vast number of error messages on their electronic display screens but again worked their way through these, establishing what was working, and how well. When the aircraft was brought in to a safe landing at Singapore, there was about 14 minutes power remaining in the back-up battery supply.

I have every confidence in the training undertaken by those on the flight deck, as well as the cabin crew, to bring us all safely home. Flying QANTAS is far and away the safest means of transport I know.

What are your thoughts?

John Reid

  1. This is very well befor Quantas used to service their aircraft at Avalon airport. Once again to save money all repair maintainence is now done overseas. The crews are still very good/ the overseas maintainence !!!!!!! Who knows.

    1 REPLY
    • Why would you think that overseas maintenance crews are not trained to the same standards and why do Australians generally think that nobody else in the world knows how to do anything. In a lot of ways Australia is so far behind countries like China in technology that it is no longer funny and we will never catch up.

  2. It’s not just Qantas that train their Pilots to a very high standard, all of the airlines in the world do, a crash can be caused by many different reasons and many are caused by pilot error or so they say, but in some cases maybe the Pilot didn’t have time to react to rectify a problem.

    12 REPLY
    • Disagree – training to qf standards certainly guarantees u a better chance than not should an event occur ✈️

    • Pilots worldwide are trained to the highest standards, are you trying to tell me that other airlines tell their pilots that they will only be half-trained ?

    • Some recent crashes have been the result of the pilots inability to recover the aircraft from a stall, and some have even stalled the aircraft due to panic. This is all basic aeronautical knowledge, something that gets lost with poorly trained pilots operating glorified computer systems.

    • I’ve flown a lot of airlines over he years and Emirates has been my airline of choice for the past few years and I’ve found them to be great and you tend to find a lot of their pilots are Australian or British. One and only time I flew
      Qantas I wasn’t impressed with their service and have never flown with them since. Those incidents they’ve had over the past few years have put me off flying with them, to me that’s them trying to cut costs by sending their servicing offshore so they aren’t thinking of their passengers safety,

    • Officially they are number one on safety. That’s why I would not fly with any other airline.

      1 REPLY
      • I always fly Air New Zealand Lee
        and they are voted the top airline in the world …..

    • Owen Gustafson Airline crash investigations is actually a *TV* show that describes circumstances surrounding air incidents in great detail. Are you suggesting that is all fiction?

    • I don’t recall mentioning anything about it being fiction, actually I don’t think I even mentioned the show.

    • Lee Horrocks , Yeah Lee, I fly with China Southern , they also have an excellent safety record and are half the price and have excellent service both on ground and in flight. I guess it is all personal choice.

    • Trevor Salmon The continuous on-going training of Pilots in Australia is of world standard, other countries are no where as strict in their training and the use of a Senior Check pilot , Stalls are inexcusable it is a basic recovery taught to student pilots and every time you are re-rated on a different type of aircraft. Even private pilots in Australia are subject to re-testing bi-annually or if they have not flown in the last 90 days.

    • Owen Gustafson, you are correct, that is why many won’t fly Qantas, because of the cost. For me it’s about priorities. And safety is number one.

  3. I fly who ever offerers the best price and luggage conditions. Over the last year plus I have in most months flown twice a months some where in the world, and with airlines many may never of heard of. And I haven’t come across a bad airline yet. Never with Qantas or Jetstar, both divisions are far to expensive for what they offer. Jetstar really riles me with there pay for luggage extra con.

  4. I love Qantas the service is fantastic all the time

    2 REPLY
    • I just flew back from the Gold Coast Owen had a lovely lunch not a lot of it but it sounds better than what you had I agree but the service is great though ☺️

  5. Emirates is the best in my opinion I have flown with some great airlines including JAL, Thai and Qantas however I prefer Emirates the service is amazing.

    1 REPLY
    • Worst flight I’ve ever had was with Emirates. Thought I’d give them a go. Seat was rock hard and cut into the back of my legs. So uncomfortable. Couldn’t wait to get off that plane!

  6. We fly Qantas for this very reason wherever possible. When overseas, there is no warmer welcome, when it is time to go home when an Aussie voice greets you as you enter the aircraft, you then know you are homeward bound and couldnt be in safer hands. We love Qantas.

    3 REPLY
    • I agree with you. I have always found the service to be very good and cheerfully efficient. I rate this aspect of Qantas way above British Airways where service can be off hand. I also like Etihad and Emirates.

    • Didn’t always get good service on Emirates when we flew to Europe this year. Used to be good. Always happy with Qantas though.

    • Jill Medew i flew emirates early this year and had fantastic service from Budapest all the way home.

  7. Given my choice, I would always choose Qantas over any other airline. Their safety record,is second to none and in all the years I have been flying, I have never yet come across a less than totally professional, helpful and friendly flight crew.

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