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'Hero' Qantas pilot Richard de Crespigny brings plane home

By Angela Saurine news.com.au
Richard de Crespigny, the pilot responsible for safely landing the A380 in 2010, with the repaired plane. Picture: AP

Captain Richard De Crespigny will be on the Nancy Bird Walton when it returns to Sydney. Picture: Alan Pryke

He was flying the Qantas plane which suffered an engine explosion mid-air, but "hero'' pilot Captain Richard de Crespigny said he had no hesitations getting back on the same aircraft for its return to Sydney today.

Captain de Crespigny even took his wife on the flight, which was scheduled to land at 9.20am after leaving Singapore last night.

But this time he was not at the controls - instead he was a guest on the flight, along with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

"I'm proud to be back on an Airbus and an A380 and back in the aircraft that we flew a year ago,'' Captain de Crespigny said.

"I have complete confidence in the A380.

"The investigation that has gone on into this flight has been the most comprehensive in the history of aviation.

"We're all confident that we know exactly what happened and we and our partners have addressed the issue.

"Everything has been analysed and assessed.''

Seventeen of the original cabin crew who were on board the famous QF32 flight will also be working to finally "bring the plane home'', but there will be a different crew in the cockpit.

Captain de Crespigny was labelled a hero after coolly landing the packed jet and saving the lives of 466 when flames burst from an engine shortly after take-off from Singapore's Changi airport on November 10, 2010, damaged the wing and left a trail of debris across the Indonesian island of Batam.

Investigations found the engine failure was caused by an oil leak in the turbine section of the engine, leading to the intermediate turbine disc overheating and being expelled through the engine casing at high speed.

An oil feed pipe in this part of the engine was discovered to have suffered fatigue cracking as a result of a manufacturing error by Rolls-Royce.

The aircraft has undergone a $139 million repair and undergone rigorous testing over the past fortnight, including individually shutting down each of the four engines and restarting it, flying at slow speeds to test anti-stall systems and turning off engine-powered hydraulic systems to ensure that the aircraft remains controllable.

Around 250 tests have also been done on the aircraft while it has been on the ground.

The plane will undergo more testing by engineers before its first commercial flight from Sydney to Hong Kong on Saturday.

It will also fly to London via Singapore and to Los Angeles.

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