Friday, 28th January 2005
B-test fury over hero pilots
TWO pilots who struggled to land their plane when a
warning light came on ended up being breathalysed.
The pair took three attempts to bring the aircraft down
after they noticed the cockpit light.
But a passenger complained about the aborted landings
and said the crew were "too relaxed".
Both the captain and co-pilot were in the clear after
giving negative samples of breath when they were met by
police in Terminal 3, following the flight from Lyon in
The incident has prompted BA to complain formally to
Manchester Airport police while the pilots’ union Balpa
has also hit out at the officers and the passenger.
BA spokeswoman Sue Redmond confirmed flight BA1952,
coming into Manchester on January 16, twice aborted
landings because of a warning light in the cockpit
indicating problems with the landing gear.
It later emerged there was nothing wrong with the
undercarriage – the warning light was faulty.
The captain aborted the first landing and carried out
a so-called “go-round” so air traffic controllers could
confirm visually that the landing gear had come down as
He decided to carry out a second “go round” to make
doubly sure there were no problems, said Ms Redmond.
The RJ100 aircraft, with 100 passengers on board,
landed safely at the third attempt.
“It’s very disappointing that a passenger would
assume just because a pilot was carrying out a normal
safety procedure that he had been drinking when he had
not been drinking at all,” added Ms Redmond.
“Apparently the female passenger had remarked while
on board that the crew had seemed very relaxed.”
It is understood that BA will be writing a formal
letter of complaint to the airport police.
Captain Mervyn Granshaw, chairman of Balpa, said: “We
are appalled that the police seem to have acted
inappropriately on the comments of a passenger who has
obviously no knowledge of aviation.”
However, sources in GMP confirmed to the M.E.N. that
two pilots had provided negative breath tests following
a complaint from a passenger.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “On
Sunday, January 16, 2005, police officers at Manchester
Airport breathalysed a pilot and co-pilot after a female
passenger on an inbound flight expressed concern about
their conduct. Both tests proved negative and no further
action was taken. Neither member of the flight crew was
arrested. All incidents reported to GMP are treated
seriously and investigated thoroughly.”