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Fake pilot flew passengers 13 years - full story, Google translation

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Fake pilot flew passengers 13 years - full story, Google translation

Old 21st May 2012, 21:07
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Fake pilot flew passengers 13 years - full story, Google translation

Thomas flew passengers for 13 years without a pilot's license
He fooled everyone. Airlines, colleagues, family and friends. Swede Thomas Salme managed to work as a pilot without a valid pilot's license.
In the 13 years.
- I said a prayer and then no one would check my paper more carefully, he says.

It's been two years since his arrest at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. What the evening began as an ordinary flight ended with Thomas Salme had to leave their uniforms and their lives in the cockpit - for good. Without any formal education had Thomas had put 10 000 flying hours behind him, carrying a million passengers and carry about 3 500 takeoffs and landings. Thanks to a big mouth, a fake certificate and a big portion of luck and skill.
If someone had just picked up the phone to the Transportation Board in Sweden, it had been run, says Thomas.
On some occasions, asked for further information but Thomas managed to always come up with any explanation, dribble and mislead. He himself was surprised that it went. Certificate, he had made himself. It was simple, had no stamps and paper was not even laminated. But according to Thomas, it was the "right things".
- The script also quite different, depending on which country's aviation authority that issued it. Then they found me just have highly skilled and highly credible. I flew like a god! Thomas says confidently, laughing.
The dream of a life in the air began early for Thomas. Dad Heiki was a gifted amateur photographer, and Thomas was his disciple. More often they went out to Arlanda airport to take photos.

- It said it bam! I was love with everything about air to do. Rumble of jet engines, the smell of jet fuel brought a yearning to discover the world and I decided then and there to become a pilot, said Thomas.
Growing up in the Stockholm suburb Jordbro was a lot about football, friends and girls. The school was so-so, the motivation was missing, but aviation terms, radio and meteorological terminology plugged into Thomas so he could sleep. With the help of Microsoft's flight simulator program on the computer, he learned early the rules of civil air traffic and to fly from distance A to B.
When Thomas was 19 and going into the military, his mother suddenly died of cancer.
- It was hard, we were very tight and I ended up in a life crisis. In the military, I was placed as Group Commander of Gotland, and was probably quite happy to get away from everything, but I did not last there. Were exempted because of my depression.

In the following years he spent with the litter to work in the U.S., London and in Aruba. But pilot dreams persisted and he used the last money from his mother's inheritance to take private pilot's license at Bromma flight school. He was in good company, Thomas had SAS CEO Janne Carlzon as classmates.
- But he and most others moved on to the U.S. to train, I could not afford and stayed here in Sweden. And that's when I got the idea to run my own race, explains Thomas.
A race that consisted of manipulating governments, businesses, friends and family. Thomas himself did not see it so, but as an opportunity to come true his dream and obvious to almost any price.
- I knew what I was doing was wrong, but once I start something I finish until I'm in goal. Then when I discovered how easy I made my way, I was not so stupid that I kept, acknowledges Thomas.
The road to a place in the cockpit went first through the SAS Flight Academy (now Oxford Aviation Academy) at the airport where he called and boldly presented himself as an unemployed pilot in need of simulator training. An acquaintance who was a technician at the school made sure that Thomas could come in and night-time access to the simulators. This went on for about a year with ten to twelve training sessions on each of two to three hours.
- I was extremely goal-oriented, devoted all his time trying to get me the knowledge and training I knew would be needed. I copied the flight manuals for flight school, went home and studied until it sat. Did my own tests and questioned myself.
Finally he arrived at a point where it felt right to examine how far the knowledge would take him. Thomas began to look for jobs on different airlines, sent a resume with fake contracts, references and fake name of airline, "Alladin Airlines" was one of them.

- Deep down, I did not think it would carry all the way to a job. So you can imagine how I felt when I received responses from several companies and also was called for interview.
Italian Air One was one of the companies found Thomas CV interesting and sent him a ticket with British Airways to Dublin to interview and test flight.
- I never hesitated, said yes in a second because that was my chance to show off. Fly, I could and also good, says Thomas with an obvious security.
During her visit to Dublin, he was flying for the company's chief pilot and chief training manager. Tested in various inclement weather conditions, fire, flying with one engine in particular.
- Yes, I was shaky as hell, not during tests, but the hotel was the panic and nervousness that they would check my papers that were not quite in order, so to speak.
But the certificate endorsed and Thomas could be back in Sweden just under a week when he was told: "Welcome to Air One, Mr. Salme ..."
Directly following a two-week general course in Rome, which went well and therefore was Thomas finished and checked out a pilot of the aircraft type Boeing 737. Clearly there were gaps and loopholes in the industry that Thomas both benefited from and slipped in on.

All education and training takes place in a simulator because it is a question of educating the "real" pilots with previous experience. This meant, therefore, in reality, that when Thomas Salme performed its first flight on Air One, he had never sat behind the controls and flying for real.
- I had 100 total hours on the Cessna and the simulator, that's it! A little tense, I was that first trip, but the worst moments was over for me. I remember there was a domestic flight to Naples with 148 passengers and it struck me during the flight that it was easier and more natural than sitting in a simulator. I was so damn happy and floating on clouds - in more ways, but exactly why I could not tell the captain I flew with the time, Thomas laughs out loud.
The secret he carried on and the lies associated with the color of course his life and living. He had to think about what he said and told him to his colleagues and friends about his former "pilotliv".
- Yes, I lied, and in some places I went on firmly, to get me more credibility, I guess, says Thomas.
- At one point I said to the wrong person because I was trained in the Air Force. Then it went on to go really bad, after I kept a lower profile.
After only two years at Air One Thomas was promoted to captain. He met the Italian Giovanna, married and started a family. No one knew about the secret he carried. Not his wife, not his father, none of his friends.
- No, no I never betrayed a word, and not that I told my closest was only to spare them. This meant of course that constantly live with a feeling anxious even though I sometimes "forget" it. As soon as the phone rang and I saw that it was from the company was always my first thought: "Now it's over."
But it would take 13 years before his secret cabled out and became headlines in the world. "Bluff The Pilot," "Fake Pilot," and parallels were drawn with the character Frank Abagnale Jr. in the film Catch me if you can.
- But he drew just wearing their uniforms, laughing Thomas, I was flying course.

March evening in 2010 would have a regular flight between Amsterdam and Ankara. Board waited 101 passengers, but before the start came the police and representatives from the Dutch Aviation Authority and said they wanted to make a routine check.
- As soon as they asked for my papers and I told him who I was or rather who I was.
News of the hoax spread and became a worldwide buzz in magazines worldwide. How could this happen, no one knew?
- Yes, unfortunately so did my next find out what it was via television news and newspapers.
Giovanna, my ex-wife that I was surely different from then, was of course shocked and outraged, as is my dad. There was some uproar in the beginning says Thomas.
- But I was released so quickly and while in custody and during interrogation, I was almost declared a hero. Neither the newspapers wrote something really negative about me.
For police and staff at the jail, I repeatedly tell you how I faked my certificate, they liked the story. The policemen who arrested me, drove me from prison, pounded me in the back and wished further success.
Thomas children Philip and Nicolo were told that their father was not a real pilot by all the commotion. Thomas says that he carefully explained how and to what he did was wrong.
- It may sound crazy, but in school I was signing autographs for students and teachers.
When asked what he misses from his 13 years as a pilot he answers instantly.
- Nothing. I learned early on not to get caught up in it that is lost in life, I let go and move on, says Thomas crass.
Today, Thomas Salme found a new day and a new profession that fascinates him. Thomas is a football photographer at the San Siro stadium in Milan, and shares a studio with world-renowned fashion photographer Graziano Ferrari. One day, he finds himself on a catwalk, the next plate he Ibrahimovic during a match between Barcelona and Milan.
- When there are only two Swedes on the plane - I and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he says, and sounds happy.
He likes where things happen and are drawn to the unexpected. Pop up problems on the way he resolves them.

When he was arrested in 2010, after his scam discovered, Thomas immediately focused on how he would make the best of it.
- Then I was as relieved. It was heavy to carry around the fear of being discovered and to live with the lies. I was sure that the punishment would be less than ten years, but it broke, I never. I was planning to use the time to study and write a book.
Now it was not ten years behind bars for the fake pilot Thomas Salme. The punishment for having flown around about a million passengers in 13 years without a valid pilot's license was, strangely enough, only two weeks in jail and fines of up to 20 000.
And grounding one year.
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Old 21st May 2012, 21:39
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At least he did not overshoot his destination while looking at internet porn...
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Old 21st May 2012, 22:25
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100 hours in a cesna and a load of sim time is just about as much as any of the new pay 2 fly first officers start with these days. The only thing he hadn't done was pass the written exams, most of which have little or nothing to do with flying anyway.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 09:56
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There have been several such stories over time; there was an Eastern Airlines captain in the USA who flew most of his career without a licence, I seem to recall. I presume they manage to pass all their sim checks along the way without any problem.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 10:04
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I do have a sneaking admiration for someone who can do this for so long and get away with it. He might have been more careful than some correctly documented pilots, simply in order to avoid any incidents which would have lanuched an enquiry, so he might not have been worse than a qualified pilot.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 18:35
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There have been several such stories over time; there was an Eastern Airlines captain in the USA who flew most of his career without a license, I seem to recall. I presume they manage to pass all their sim checks along the way without any problem.
I remember that, if I recall correctly, he was a former military pilot that separated from the service with only a private license. He had every intention of converting his military experience into a ATR, but he was hired by Eastern much quicker than he expected. So he lied and got away with this for years, he was nailed when he upgraded to a new aircraft, the FAA inspector noticed that something was wrong with his old pilot's license, checked the airman's records in Oklahoma City where it was discovered that the only FAA license he held was that of a Private Pilot.

I don't recall what happened to him after that, probably went to work for the FAA if I had to guess.
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Old 24th May 2012, 22:42
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Gann's Fate Is The Hunter tells us of "Captain" Dudley, who was found out only through his incompetency.
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Old 24th May 2012, 23:19
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A facinating and amusing story at least he did nt kill any one .In my career (albeit in general aviation)I met a few young brash,cocky extremely well documented pilots with only one discount to their CV and that was that they couldnt fly !
Old 28th May 2012, 04:30
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Flying for thirteen years??

For goodness sake! Someone give him a landing slot!

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