Aviation News

March 4, 2010

Catch Me If You Can: Fake Airline Pilot Arrested

Corendon Airlines 737-4Q8 TC-TJC on approach to Amsterdam

Corendon Airlines 737-4Q8 TC-TJC on approach to Amsterdam. (Photo by Joop Stroes)

As Captain Sullenberger hung up his pilot’s cap, a Swedish man resigned to Dutch authorities at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport yesterday with the fact that he had been flying for 13 years—and 10,000 hours—with a forged pilot’s license.

The man, whose name is not Frank Abagnale (his actual name has not been released), confessed to his scheme in the cockpit of a Corendon Airlines 737-400 as he prepared to take 101 passengers from Amsterdam to Ankara in the airline’s native Turkey.  This marked the end of an illegal career during which he flew for airlines in Turkey, the UK, Italy, and Belgium, and eluded investigators as he traveled around Europe.

The 41-year old Swede, who resides in Milan, misled airline officials with forged documents, though he does apparently possess an expired commercial pilot license.  Commercial pilot licenses simply allow the holder to fly for hire and not necessarily “commercial” passenger-carrying flights on airline.  He would also have needed a Boeing 737 type rating, but it is unclear if he actually possessed one.

A hearing is scheduled this weekend for forgery and flying without a license.

On the bright side, we are confident that Corendon is not at risk of letting children fly their airplanes.

Frank Abagnale as portrayed by Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can

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