Virgin Atlantic Flight Turns Around Mid-Way After a Pilot Was Found to ...

A Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York was forced to turn back to Heathrow airport after the co-pilot admitted he hadn't passed his last flying test.

The bizarre and worrisome moment occurred when the plane was over Ireland. It was at that point that the captain was told the first officer had not completed his training. The Airbus A330, just 40 minutes into its flight, was ordered to return to Heathrow.

Passengers on board had landed in the United States almost three hours later than planned after the jet. The plane is said to be able to carry nearly 300 passengers. Those on the flight were forced to wait on the runway while a qualified substitute pilot was found.

The airline told the travelers that the issue had been caused by a rota mistake and apologized and even assured passengers that their safety had not been compromised. They said that both pilots were fully licensed and qualified to operate the aircraft.

The co-pilot in question needed a 'final assessment flight' with a training captain to be able to fly in as per the Virgin Atlantic policy. His role is that of a first officer. As first officers they are meant to support the captain by communicating with air traffic control and flying the plane.

Although the airline maintained that none of the passengers were in danger as the pilots were both trained, the co-pilot not being fully trained was ultimately why the train was forced to turn back.

Julie and Marc Vincent from Bournemouth were on board the flight and told MailOnline that the staff had blamed the situation on a clerical error. Vincent said: 'We'd just cleared the west coast of Ireland when the captain announced 'you may have noticed that we have conducted a 180 degree turn' before telling us that we were returning to Heathrow due to an 'administration error' and that they needed to get some paperwork signed off legally to be able to continue our journey. "

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