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Sat, Jun 09, 2007

Man Posing As Pilot Boards Plane Unopposed

Lack of Aviation Knowledge Tipped off Real Pilot

An unemployed man from southwest China bought a pilot's uniform online, downloaded some identification items and proceeded to the Beijing Capital International Airport.

When Shu Shi, 23, approached the gate, airline employees allowed him to board a flight to his home province of Guizhou, according to the Beijing News, which didn't identify which carrier was involved.

The plan began to unravel, though, when the plane's real pilot struck up a conversation with him and noticed that his fake colleague didn't know as much about aviation as his carrier uniform let on.

The airline captain then felt compelled to put the imposter under supervision and handed him over to law enforcement upon arrival at their destination.

Media reports liken the incident to the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me If You Can," in which Leonardo portrays a man performing similar acts of deception before getting caught. The movie was based from the real-life exploits of Frank W. Abagnale, who successfully impersonated a Pan Am pilot on several occasions throughout the 1960s and 1970s... although he never tried to actually get into the cockpit.

Shu Shi wasn't so crafty. For his attempted fast-track into the right seat, he was detained for 10 days and fined the equivalent of $65 dollars, the Beijing News said.



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