Imposter Pilot Nabbed After Europe Flight

Man had fake uniform, fake friends, fake Facebook page

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 24, 2012 2:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's Catch Me If You Can all over again: Italian cops have arrested a man who's been posing as a pilot for months or longer. The unnamed man sure seemed like a pilot—down to fake flight crew buddies in his Facebook photos—and he managed to ride in the cockpit at least once this year as a "third pilot" during a flight from Turin to Munich. But he didn't actually use the controls, the BBC notes. Authorities caught up with the man enjoying a coffee at an airport bar in Turin.

He revealed to police a garage full of flight paraphernalia, including extra uniforms, fake IDs, and fake flight theory manuals. For his false identity, the man had adopted the name Andrea Sirlo; "Sirlo" is a flight corridor over Turin. Online records even say "Pilot Andrea Sirlo" flew from Munich to Turin on another commercial flight in October 2011. It was Sirlo's Facebook photos that gave him away to police, who'd been on the lookout for months following an aviation official's report. The official thought Sirlo looked too young to be a captain.

A captain's hat on a plane.
A captain's hat on a plane.   (Shutterstock)
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