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Fake pilot ‘on the run’

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Michael Fay forged papers and operated as a pilot for Afriqiyah Airways for eight months. . .

May 14, 2013 11:26 by



A former US Air force officer who fraudulently worked as a commercial pilot for eight months is believed to be on the run, according to the BBC.

Fifty-nine-year-old Michael Fay forged papers, a pilot’s licence and medical records to land himself a job at Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways – and succeeded. He lasted approximately eight months, during which he operated Airbus A320 aircrafts, before he was exposed by another pilot on an internet forum and arrested in February 2011.

Fay illegally flew passengers into Gatwick Airport in Britain on eight separate occasions and has recently failed to turn up at Winchester Crown Court when he was due to be sentenced on May 3. In his absence, he was handed a three-year imprisonment.

Afriqiyah Airways said that they are currently investigating the matter and will treat the investigation with the ‘utmost seriousness it deserves’.

“As a major national carrier, we place great emphasis on the safety and integrity of our crews and aircraft,” said an airline spokesperson. “We understand that his engagement with us may have been arranged through a third-party broker who should have vetted his documentation and credentials before recommending him as a contractor with Afriqiyah Airways.”

Do you remember Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can? Although the film is now over a decade old, Kipp fondly remembers the hauntingly talented performance of DiCaprio as a convincing con artist – or rather, a 19-year-old kid who mastered the intellect, conversational wizardry and mannerisms of a masterful con artist.

While it is based on a true story, it was still difficult to grasp that anyone could ever fool an entire organization into believing he was a qualified and licenced pilot. As it turns out, even in this day and age, it’s more than possible.

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