It takes a lot to impress British Airways. Losing all your flight instruments at night, for example, hardly merits a mention. Respect!
So, in this story an A319 crew is climbing out of Heathrow on a clear night when suddenly everything goes dark. No flight instruments at all, a standby horizon that it seems almost certainly wasn’t illuminated, and just the external horizon to fly by. No radios either.
Unsurprisingly the captain, aged 53, with 11,800 total hours and 4,000 on-type, coped serenely. When the power equally mysteriously returned after a couple of minutes, he spent 40 minutes in the hold fruitlessly investigating the problem and then pressed on to Budapest.
In Hungary, BA’s engineers failed to find a fault and cheerfully put the aircraft back into service. The pilots duly filed a mandatory occurrence report and life carried on much as usual.
When the MOR landed at the CAA however the reaction was less relaxed. Not long after it was at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, and not long after that the aircraft was grounded with Farnborough’s finest climbing all over the avionics.
I doubt that my mortal flesh is ever in safer hands than when it’s securely inside a BA aircraft, and particularly with a 12,000 hour, silver-templed veteran guiding us through the skies – night or otherwise. But I think there will be some debate over this one.