Fake pilot arrested moments before take-off

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

A pilot has been arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport for flying passenger planes for 13 years with a false licence.

The 41-year-old Swede was in the cockpit of a Corendon Airlines Boeing 737 about to take off for Ankara with 101 passengers on board when police arrested him. The move by the Dutch authorities followed  a tip-off from the Swedish authorities.

The Turkish low-budget airline was informed in advance and had a second pilot lined up to take over the flight.

The fake pilot says he has been flying for 13 years on a false licence and had spent at least 10,000 hours flying hours in the cockpit. He had worked for airlines in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Italy. After his arrest the man appeared to be relieved that his deception had come to light and immediately removed his stripes.

The man does have a pilot's licence, but as it was not valid for passenger aircraft he had tampered with it.

A lawyer acting for Corendon Airlines said the fake pilot had worked for the airline for the last two years and that he had “expertly misled the company with his false papers”. He had also managed to pass tests with flying colours at other airline companies.

The lawyer called it pure luck that the man had never flown alone and said he would never pilot a Corendon Airlines flight again.