Jim was a former Qantas communications director, and has written and researched this book from an insider’s point of view, and with a great deal of knowledge and understanding. The stories vary greatly, from the history of the airline today, to its daily running, and insights into ways Qantas has become such an Australian icon. Included in this recount are photographs taken at various times. In one, sheep are being loaded in a plane, and another is shown flying over New Guinea.
To begin with, this air operation was founded by Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness. The Australian public were drawn to this venture and developed a sense of pride and loyalty. The workers and maintenance staff were encouraged to develop this attitude, and the saying, “We’re off to polish the engines,” became their catch phrase. When a plane crashed in America, engineers were asked to check the same model in Australia, as no one knew the cause of the accident. They removed panels and found all the equipment in order, but kept checking further and eventually found the fault. A world first.
Many stories are told of flying adventures and near mishaps, especially over the mountainous area of New Guinea. The enormous role that Qantas played in evacuating people after cyclone Tracy, in Darwin is heart- warming. At the Anzac march in Sydney in 2002, a group of veterans marched behind a flag titled “Skippy Squadron.” The airline had a long history of war time activity.
Rather chillingly, the author documents all the known crashes and deaths on the Qantas airlines. But compared to any other company, it’s safety record is excellent. He goes on to describe split second decision making by the pilot, and highly efficient reactions by the crew to an incident in Mauritius. The plane overran the landing strip, crashed into an embankment, and caught fire. It was carrying a large amount of fuel, and the crew thought it would explode at any moment. With no safety slides, people had to jump down to the embankment. All passengers survived, although sixteen had minor injuries. Many heroic acts were witnessed that day.
Jim details the business side of the company, with its sales to, and by the Australian Government. This is a thorough and comprehensive look at an Australian icon, told with great pride and accuracy.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|
|Released||re-released January 2018 : initial release November 2015|