Plane forced to u-turn over Ireland as passengers discover pilot is still in training

A plane to New York was forced to return to London mid-flight after it was revealed that the co-pilot was not properly trained.

The Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 was heading towards JFK airport and was only 40 minutes into its journey on Monday 2 May, when the pilot was found out. Passengers were safely returned to Heathrow after the ‘first officer’ co-pilot told the captain he had not yet completed his final flying test.

He joined Virgin Atlantic in 2017.

The mistake was described as a “rostering error” by an airline spokesperson, as the flight was forced to do a u-turn over Ireland.

“The qualified first officer, who was flying alongside an experienced captain, was replaced with a new pilot to ensure full compliance with Virgin Atlantic’s training protocols, which exceed industry standards,” Virgin said in a statement.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers, who arrived two hours and 40 minutes later than scheduled as a result of the crew change.”