Eric is most famous for experiencing a 4-engine failure in a British Airways Boeing 747 as a result of volcanic ash cloud near Jakarta in 1982. The story has been told a few times before (and I’ll certainly be publishing another version of it here soon) so – although Eric shared the nature of the story in ‘brief’ – we refrained from probing him for information that was already public record. Instead, we focused on the more aviation specific questions that many of us have. Eric also gave us a commentary on his accomplished career prior to his command on the 747-200.
Eric’s responses were interesting, enlightening, inspiring… and, at times, somewhat controversial by modern standards.
Eric has quite a unique perspective on crew resource management – saying that “common sense and CRM aren’t that far apart”; and we discussed the nature of handing off duties to non-flying crew so the Captain can better handling emergencies. Eric replied at some length, and recalls that he had a lot of time to let his mind wander while he was flying. He said that he had so much spare time he thought of the wasted 250 pounds in his back pocket! “What a waste of money’, he said.
Eric said that he’s amazed that people are interested in incident 28 years later after it occurred. I would suggest that people are just as interested in Eric as they are in the incident itself; he is a motivating, inspirational, brilliant and captivating speaker. He noted that “…we’ve missed the glorious days of aviation.” I would say that we’ve missed the glorious people like Eric that go with it.
We have some magnificent speakers lined up for upcoming episodes and would encourage anybody interested in aviation to subscribe to our mailing list at flightpodcast.com – we’ll have the final website up soon. You can also follow our new twitter account, @FlightPodcast.
The bloopers themselves from this episode are just as entertaining as the episode itself. Eric’s certainly an entertaining gentleman with a typically dry British sense of humour. I have to apologise to Karlene for our Aussie sense of humour… but she quickly adapted, and I have no doubt that she’ll be drinking Aussie beer and telling inappropriate toilet jokes before too long. The dynamics of our group worked really well.
Compiling the 90-minute interview into a workable 40-minute edit will be a challenge.