Fake Pilot Flew Passenger Jets For 13 Years

Thomas Salme was working in maintenance at Scandinavian airline SAS, when he decided he wanted to move up into the cockpit. So, he did what any clever and ruthless crackpot would: He practiced on a flight simulator until he thought he was ready to fly, and then printed a fake pilot’s license at home. He got a job at European airline Air One, and spent 13 years flying passengers around Europe until being caught in March. The heavy hand of justice: a $2,500 fine and a one-year grounding.

The Sun rises over the story:

Salme said: “I’d train there [on the SAS flight simulator] for two or three hours at a time at least 15 to 20 times over one and a half years.

“The moral point of view is that I feel ashamed that I did lie but I didn’t ever feel, not once feel, that I put passengers in an unsafe position.”

Air One had invited him to take a test flight in their simulator and he passed with flying colours after faking vital documents.

“I got the crackpot idea to apply as a co-pilot at a real airline so I made myself a Swedish flying permit with a logo out of regular white paper.

“It was a fantasy creation. It wasn’t laminated and looked like something I’d made ay home.

“It was surprisingly easy.”

Salme did apparently have a commercial pilot’s license at some point, but had never qualified to fly passenger planes. Judges praised his safety record at his sentencing, and blocked requests for tougher penalties.

Cockpit con was easy, says pilot [The Sun]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.