Last updated: 03:10 PM ET, Thu September 10 2015

British Airways Pilot Retiring After Engine Fire Incident

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | September 10, 2015

British Airways Pilot Retiring After Engine Fire Incident

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The pilot of a British Airways airplane that suffered a catastrophic engine failure in Las Vegas Tuesday was heralded as a hero, and he now claims the incident was the final straw that will force him to retire.

In a report from Jon Schuppe of, 63-year-old Chris Henkey was considering retirement before the engine of the plane he was piloting caught fire, but the incident was caused him to call it a career a bit earlier than expected.

Henkey claims that this incident was the first life-threatening emergency he faced during his 42-year career, and he told that he would no longer be working as a pilot, instead focusing now on enjoying his retirement.

This was supposed to be his second-to-last flight, but he will not be making a curtain call.

Witness reported that Henkey acted quickly and calmly under pressure, bringing British Airways Flight 2276 to an emergency stop just before takeoff when he realized one of the plane’s engines had caught fire.

The flight was scheduled to leave McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas en route to Gatwick Airport outside London Tuesday afternoon, but Henkey slammed on the breaks and brought the plane to a complete stop before taking off.

Henkey immediately called in an emergency to the air traffic control tower and firefighters were on the scene a short time later. There were only 27 minor injuries to the 159 passengers and 13 crew members on board at the time, and the pilot is credited with their survival.

Even while being praised as a hero, Henkey was modest when he told, “It's not just me. It's the whole crew, really.”

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