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Fake pilot sat in cockpit on commercial flight

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Fake pilot sat in cockpit on commercial flight
Leonardo DiCaprio in the film "Catch Me If You Can". Photo: DPA
08:23 CEST+02:00
A man who disguised himself as a pilot and sat in the cockpit of a commercial flight from Germany to Italy had a stash of fake uniforms and identity cards in his garage – just like the film “Catch Me If You Can”.

Perhaps copying Leonardo DiCaprio in the Hollywood film about a notorious fraudster, the unemployed 32-year-old man dressed to impress – and convince – and got himself a seat in the cockpit of an Air Dolomiti flight from Munich to Turin in April, daily paper Die Welt reported.

The two real pilots on flight apparently failed to notice the Italian was an imposter, but Lufthansa, which owns Air Dolomiti, stressed that he had not flown the plane but had just sat in the cockpit during the flight.

Lufthansa spokesman Christoph Meier told Die Welt that there was no way that anyone, not even a pilot, could board a Lufthansa flight without a ticket – meaning that the man may well have had a seat booked in the cabin.

It has taken since April for Italian police to track him down – and they said when they arrested him at Turin airport on Wednesday he led them to a garage full of pilot-style shirts and trousers as well as a handful of fake identity cards.

He will now face charges of compromising air traffic and abuse of official titles. On his Facebook page, the man boasted of having been promoted to pilot by Lufthansa, despite being very young for such a position.

The Local/jcw

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