Wed, Sep 26, 2012
Allegedly Managed To Fly Free In The Cockpit Of A Commercial Airliner At Least Once
An unemployed Italian man allegedly managed to fake his way into a free flight using a false uniform and ID, passing himself off as a foreign pilot. Police caught up with the man at the Turin, Italy airport after a months-long investigation.
The man reportedly bluffed his way onto an Air Dolomiti plane for a flight from Munich, Germany to Turin, in April, according to Carabiniery paramilitary police. The Associated Press reports that the unidentified man flew in the cockpit jumpseat, but never touched the controls.
Police received a tip about the man and began tailing him several months ago. He had posted on his Facebook page that he was a commercial pilot who had been promoted to captain very early in his career.
When he was caught at the Turin airport, he was again dressed as an airline pilot, but with no airline insignia on his "uniform." He had not passed through security. He led police to a garage where he had stashed several other "uniforms" and false IDs.
Police did not say whether he planned to try to fly again on the day he was apprehended at the airport, or whether he had managed to gain access to any flights other than the one Air Dolomiti flight he allegedly took. A spokesman for the airline, which is part of Lufthansa, said he would not have been able to bluff his way onto a flight as he claimed. The spokesman said no one would be allowed to get on board without a ticket, and said the man might have held a passenger ticket that would allow him to get on the plane.
The police charged the man with suspicion of putting at risk the security of air transport and "usurping a title." He was reportedly free on his own recognizance.
The stunt, if true, is reminiscent of the movie "Catch Me if You Can," which is based on a true story of a man who impersonated a Pan-Am pilot who forged millions of dollars of checks using that and other disguises.
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