Captain Robert Piché, the Air Transat pilot who safely glided his A-330 to the Azores in August 2001 after a rupture in the the plane`s fuel lines dumped most of the aircraft`s fuel, has been awarded the Medal of Honour by the Province of Quebec.
The presentation was made in Montreal on Tuesday, November 5, by Madame Louise Harel, president of the province`s National Assembly.
The dramatic landing of Air Transat Flight TS 236 made headlines around the world.
The aircraft, en route from Toronto to Lisbon, Portugal, lost power to both engines after thousands of kilograms of fuel were dumped, apparently due to mechanical error. Piché guided the jet in a 70-mile glide to Lajes Airport in the Azores for an emergency landing. The aircraft blew out all eight main gear tires, but all 304 passengers and crew members were spared.
Mme. Harel praised the pilot`s exceptional courage and calm in maneuvering the jet to safety. In her remarks, she added, “[Capt. Piché] reminded us in a spectacular way of the infinite capacity of the human being to triumph over almost any circumstance.”
ALPA has also recognized Captain Piché for the achievement, presenting him and the flight`s co-pilot, First Officer Dirk De Jager, with ALPA Superior Airmanship awards at the Association`s 2002 Air Safety Forum in August.