I was fairly early for my flight back from Amsterdam today so I chose to sit in seat 1A. Which meant I got to sit next to a pilot catching a lift back to London. Didn’t really have much to say to him but until he got to pages 10 & 11 of the complimentary Daliy Mail he was reading:
The story of BA flight 009 and the words every passenger dreads
With unbelievable restraint, Captain Eric Moody addressed British Airways flight 009 as his Boeing 747 drifted inexorably down towards the Indian Ocean.
Displaying the stiff-upper-lip spirit that built an empire, he uttered the words that are every air passenger’s worst nightmare: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get it under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.’
Minutes before, while cruising at ten kilometres above the sea, Captain Moody had instructed his first officer to send a Mayday call to ground control in nearby Indonesia. The date was June 24, 1982, and this extraordinary flight has since gone down in aviation history.
The story has a happy ending and seeing I wasn’t a nervous flyer he was quite chirpy and enjoyed chatting about it. If anything he sounded a little envious of incident and the opportunity it gave the pilot to be so understated.