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Sun, Mar 21, 2010

Hero Pilot Of BA Flight 38 Blacklisted By Rumors

Former BA 777 Captain Peter Burkill Unable To Find Work Despite Heroic 2008 Landing

Peter Burkill, Captain during the 777 short landing incident at Heathrow in 2008, has recently broken his silence on the crash and why he is unable to find another airline job.  Burkill was under orders to refuse interviews while at BA and has now written a book about the incident.

Burkill claims that British Airways refused to correct media reports and rumors that he "froze" in the cockpit during the unexpected engine rollback and that the First Officer was forced to land the plane.  He maintains that their roles were consistent with emergency training and contributed to the lack of casualties.

According to a January 2010 report released by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), Burkill took action to extended the flaps and kept the aircraft aloft long enough to clear an additional 51 meters of ground.  The final ILS antenna was only 40 meters behind the aircraft, meaning the plane would have impacted it without Burkill's intervention.

"I was forbidden to talk to the media whilst at BA.  When I left BA I had heard that other airlines may not like publicity so I remained mute to the press," notes Burkill on his personal blog. 

Burkill was employed by BA until accepting a voluntary redundancy in May 2009.  He says rumors at the company made some crew members afraid to fly with him in the cockpit.  Burkill blames BA for not publicly denouncing the false allegations.

In another entry, Burkill wrote "Now that I have to accept that it appears as though I am unemployable as a commercial pilot I have nothing to lose in publicly stating what has happened with regard my job search since leaving BA."

Since that time he has not been employed by another airline and claims to have not gotten a single interview.  Redacted descriptions of emails and conversations with multiple airlines are recounted by Burkill on his blog.  He claims he is being discriminated against even though he maintains a "No accident/No incident" statement on his license (because the incident was not caused by pilot error).

Burkill says that even though his wife has increased her hours as a medical technician and they are publishing a book, they were still forced to sell their home to pay their bills.  He is now considering careers outside of aviation, though he still wants to be in the air.

"I will miss flying, it is in my blood, it’s all I ever wanted to do," wrote Burkill.

FMI: http://peterburkill.com

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