You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Sky-High Scare: Flight Forced to Turn Around After Pilot Reveals He's Not Qualified to Fly Passengers on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York were in for a shock on Monday.

By Emily Rella

entrepreneur daily

Steve Parsons | PA Images | Getty Images

Whether you're prone to being a nervous flyer or not, it's normal to have fears on an airplane when you hit a bit of turbulence or discomfort during your voyage.

But at the end of the day, once you board a plane, you're putting your faith and trust in the pilot operating the vehicle that they will get you to your destination as safe and as quickly as possible.

But for passengers flying on Virgin Atlantic Flight VS3 from London to New York on Monday, a new fear was unlocked as the plane had to be turned when it was found that the two pilots operating the vehicle did not have the proper internal requirements to be operating the plane.

Translation: The person flying the plane was not technically qualified to be doing so.

Related: Major U.S. Airline Announces New Ticket Type With Added Perks

Here's what happened.

About 40 minutes after the aircraft had left London's Heathrow airport, it was found (though not clarified precisely how) that the first officer had not completed Virgin's internal "final assessment" flight.

Since the captain was not licensed to be a trainer for the final flight, he did not pass the requirements that would have allowed the trip to be the first pilot's final assessment.

It's of note, however, that both pilots passed all of the UK flight regulation requirements, just not all of those for Virgin Airlines specifically.

The plane was hovering above Dublin at the time before the crew was made aware of the "rostering error."

Related: Passengers Furious After Southwest Airlines Leaves Thousands Stranded

Virgin apologized to passengers after the flight landed back in London and took off with a properly trained first pilot, arriving in New York nearly three hours after the originally scheduled time.

"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 Atlantic said in a statement.

The incident comes at a time when airlines are facing staffing shortages and other troubles as a result of the pandemic, with a January survey from Reuters showing that nearly one-third of pilots globally are still not flying.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.

Management

HR Could Be Withholding The Critical Data You Need to Boost Retention and Drive Results. Here's How to Take Control and Gain Access

To get people data into the hands of managers so they can use it to drive business results, companies must break down barriers between HR and the rest of the organization

Business News

Google's 'Find My Device' Will Finally Roll Out to Android Phones. Here's Why It Was Delayed.

Both Android and Apple iOS users will receive unknown tracker alerts on the Find My Device network.

Business News

Elon Musk Says AI Technology Will Be Smarter Than 'Any Human' By 'Next Year'

The billionaire spoke about the rapid advancement of the technology in a livestream interview on X.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.