A Virgin Atlantic flight was forced to turn back en route to New York after realizing the co-pilot was still in training, leaving passengers furious at the delay
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A Virgin Atlantic plane was forced to return to Heathrow after the co-pilot was found to be in training, sources say.
The plane bound for New York was 40 minutes underway when Virgin Atlantic managers at the scene discovered that the first officer had not yet completed his final exams.
Chaos was caused when the Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 was forced to return to London an hour after flying into London while over Ireland on Monday and then waited on the tarmac until a qualified pilot was found.
Passengers were upset by the long delay and the knock-on effect for other flights and connections.
That Flight VS3 finally arrived in New York two hours and 40 minutes late.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
A source tells The sun : “You could have cut the tension in the cockpit with a knife.
“The plane got as far as Ireland and then they found out the first officer was still in training.
“The skipper had no choice but to return to Heathrow and find a more experienced crew member.
“Everyone was embarrassed and the passengers were angry.”
While first officers are qualified pilots whose job is to ensure the safety of the flight, assist the captain and communicate with air traffic control, Virgin Atlantic policy requires them to be accompanied by a training captain, it said.
The airline insisted that the aircraft’s safety was not compromised and that both crew members were fully licensed and qualified to fly the aircraft.
This was reported by a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic The Telegraph, said: “Due to a roster error, flight VS3 from London Heathrow to New York-JFK returned to Heathrow shortly after take-off on Monday 2 May. The qualified first officer, who flew alongside an experienced captain, was replaced by a new pilot to ensure full compliance with Virgin Atlantic’s training protocols, which exceed industry standards.
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers who arrived 2 hours and 40 minutes later than planned due to the crew change.”
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority told the news agency: “Virgin Atlantic has brought the incident to our attention. Both pilots were appropriately licensed and qualified to conduct the flight.”
The Mirror has reached out to Virgin Atlantic and the Civil Aviation Authority for comment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/virgin-atlantic-plane-forced-turn-26876611 Virgin Atlantic's plane was forced to return to the United States mid-flight because of an untrained pilot