Fake Pilot Pleads Guilty to Fraud

A French man accused of impersonating a pilot at Philadelphia International Airport pleads guilty to fraud

Philippe Jeannard, 61, pleaded guilty to fraud today for impersonating a pilot and heading into the cockpit of a U.S. Airways flight at Philadelphia International Airport.

Jeannard was wearing a shirt with an Air France logo and captain's epaulets on his shoulder, had a ticket for a Florida-bound flight on March 20 and asked at the check-in counter for an upgrade, authorities said.

He became upset when he was told there were no available seats, authorities said. A supervisor asked if he was an airline employee, and "the defendant responded that he was," authorities said.

A flight attendant noticed that he had an Air France ID card and asked "as a matter of courtesy" if he wanted to speak to the pilots, authorities said.

The pilot and co-pilot told authorities that he entered the cockpit while they were performing their preflight duties and checks and said he was a Boeing 747 pilot, according to officials.

The U.S. Attorney's office says the I.D. card belonged to a former employee of Air France.

State charges of trespass, forgery and false impersonation were dropped last month so that Jeannard could be federally prosecuted.

A sentencing date has not been set, but Jeannard faces up to 6 months in prison.


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