Unqualified British pilot can’t land, turns back plane
A pilot of 30 years’ experience flying a British passenger plane tells passengers he is “not qualified to land plane” in fog and turn back minutes before landing in Paris.
LONDON – A British passenger plane was forced to turn back minutes before landing in Paris because the pilot of 30 years' experience was not qualified to land in fog, an airline confirmed on Thursday.
Speaking over the address system as the Flybe flight approached Charles de Gaulle airport, the pilot announced to startled passengers "I am not qualified to land the plane" and turned back to Cardiff.
A spokeswoman for the low-cost airline said the pilot was "an experienced aviator with more than 30 years commercial aviation experience flying a number of different passenger aircraft types."
"He has relatively recently transferred his 'type-rating' from a Bombardier Q300 to a Bombardier Q400 and has not yet completed the requisite low-visibility training to complete a landing in conditions such as the dense fog experienced in Paris Charles de Gaulle," she said.
"The captain therefore quite correctly turned the aircraft around and returned to Cardiff; a decision which the company stands by 100 percent."
One passenger, 29-year-old Cassandra Grant, said she had missed a job interview in the French capital as a result.
She told the South Wales Echo newspaper: "Twenty minutes outside Paris, the captain said, 'Unfortunately I'm not qualified to land the plane in Paris. They are asking for a level two qualification and I only have a level five. We'll have to fly back.
"The whole thing beggars belief. If I had not been on the plane, I would not have believed it.
The Civil Aviation Authority described the incident as "quite unusual but probably not unheard of”.
"I guess he thought when he initially took off that conditions would be suitable for him to land," a spokesman said.
"There are different classifications of aircraft and when an aircraft is updated, pilots who have flown an older version have to completely retrain.
"Different climatic conditions like fog require a certain level of skill and he probably didn't have the level of training required for this particular aircraft."
[AFP / Expatica]