A Wannabe Pilot Gets a Ride with No Layovers...Straight to Jail
- By Ginger Hill
- Mar 22, 2013
So, I’m all for kids playing dress up and Elvis impersonators are just plain cool, a little Halloween dress up is fun, even for adults, but a fake pilot on board an aircraft could cause a serious number of fatalities not to mention damage.
At the Philadelphia International Airport, Phillppe Jernnard, a 61-year-old Frenchman, boarded an US Airways plane on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Clad in a shirt with an Air France logo and a pilot-like jacket, it is suspected that the man meandered into the cockpit while passengers boarded the plane for their flight to Charlotte.
As a flight attendant conducted a routine headcount and headed into the cockpit area, the man quickly identified himself as an Air France pilot. Airline employees were immediately suspicious and proceeded to question the man. (It’s a good thing airline employees were on their toes that day!) Based on Jernnard’s answers, and the fact that he did not have the proper credentials, he let the cat out of the bag, as he was ordered off the plane before it left the gate. The man suddenly became irate, and the crew called the police. Phillppe Jennard was arrested on charges of trespassing, impersonating a public servant and lying to police. As of today, he is being held with a bail set at $1 million.
Prankster or trying to channel his inner Leonardo DiCaprio as a con man posing as a pilot in the movie “Catch Me If You Can”?
Who knows? Police are still trying to establish a motive.
A police report did verify that Jernnard stated that he “hated Americans;” however, investigators have not found any links to terrorism. Come to find out, though, the man had a disagreement with airline personnel before he boarded the plane because his request to be upgraded to business class could not be accommodated. (I guess that’s what pushed him over the edge? So, he decided that if he couldn’t sit in business class, he was going to impersonate a pilot so he could get a front-row view…from the cockpit!)
Air France denied that one of their employees tried to board the flight, besides he wasn’t even wearing the airline’s official uniform and badge or even carrying company baggage.
And, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, well, they’re not talking. They are simply referring calls to the FBI.
What a truly strange situation! No motive and just few clues: an irate man, arguing with personnel, pretending to be a pilot, and stating that he hates Americans. Wonder what will become of this?
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.