Drink-flying pilot cleared

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The pilot who failed an alcohol breath test before attempting to fly a Virgin Atlantic flight from London Heathrow to JFK airport has been cleared.

The 47-year-old, whose identity has not been released, was stopped by police as he attempted to board the plane on March 31st, resulting in an hour-long delay as the airline sought to find an alternative pilot.

Now it has emerged that the pilot's diet, which caused him to create unusually high acetone levels, issued a false positive on the breathalyser test which resulted in his being arrested under a section of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. Subsequent blood tests revealed he was safe to fly.

"He has been cleared and is over the moon. He is now free to resume his flying career," a Virgin Atlantic spokesman told the BBC.

"It has been a tough week for him but he is now delighted."

Pilots, flight engineers and cabin crew face a much stricter legal limit of alcohol while onboard than motorists do with the legal limit standing at nine microgrammes and 35 microgrammes of alcohol in their breath respectively.

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