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Catch me if you can...and they did.

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Catch me if you can...and they did.

Old 22nd Nov 2019, 02:31
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Catch me if you can...and they did.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/trave...light-for-free


Apologies if this has been posted before. While it might be a recent article, there is nothing in the story to tell when this actually happened, so it may be an old event.
I should have mentioned there is a link in the article to original reporting from the 'Times of India' and while still no date of the event is given it states Monday in the TOI 's recent article so maybe this has just happened.

Last edited by Lord Farringdon; 22nd Nov 2019 at 03:12. Reason: Additional information
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 03:06
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From The Washington Post:

An Indian businessman attempted a ‘Catch Me If You Can’ scheme. He got caught.
November 20

Rajan Mahbubani was dressed in a pilot’s uniform Monday: dark slacks, a crisp white shirt and golden aviation pins above his left shirt pocket and atop his hat. Should there be too much bright sun while in flight, his aviator glasses were just in reach.

Mahbubani, 48, was ready to board an AirAsia flight as a passenger from New Delhi headed toward Kolkata, India. Being dressed as a pilot had its privileges, including seat upgrades and the exclusive permission to walk past airport plebeians.

The Delhi native loved the perks and the pilot lifestyle, posting Instagram pictures and TikTok videos of himself in the cockpit.

Those social media posts and travel perks would’ve been fine if Mahbubani had actually been a pilot.


Instead of flying off to Kolkata on Monday, he found himself heading to jail when authorities arrested him at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for posing as a Lufthansa pilot, NDTV reported.

A chief security officer of the German airline tipped off the Central Industrial Security Force that there was a suspected passenger dressed as a captain for the airline, which lead to Mahbubani’s arrest, the television station reported.

Mahbubani, a consultancy agency owner, told police that he bought his fake pilot identity card from Bangkok two years ago, the Indian Express reported.

Authorities also uncovered pictures of Mahbubani dressed as an army colonel and other outfits in his cellphone, the police told the paper.
“During interrogation, Mahbubani said that he is a frequent traveler and used to impersonate a pilot of international airlines to gain easy access during security clearance and have preferential treatment from security agencies and airlines,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Sanjay Bhatia told the Hindustan Times.

The Times of India reported that the businessman is being interrogated by police and intelligence agencies. The exact charges against him are unclear.

Mahbubani’s antics are drawing comparisons to famed fraudster Frank Abagnale.Abagnale, a notorious con man turned respected authority on forgery, faked a pilot identification card and a Federal Aviation Administration license to fly across the world.

Abagnale’s clever schemes and ability to evade authorities was later the subject of the 2002 Steven Spielberg-directed blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio titled “Catch Me If You Can.

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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 03:47
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The key point here is: "Charges are unclear". What are they going to charge him with? Impersonating a pilot? That's not a crime. Buying a fake pilot's ID? That's not a crime, either? Seat upgrades? For crying out loud!

The whole language of the article is the representation of modern journalism. "Authorities also uncovered his pictures". They just checked his Facebook page!!! Comparing him to Frank Abegnale is absolutely stupid. Abegnale was prosecuted for check fraud, not impersonating a pilot or flying around the world. However, "the businessman is being interrogated by police and intelligence agencies". Which, as is traditional in India, involves a couple of bamboo sticks and torture-du-jour, and may eventually persuade him that he actually is a criminal.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 03:57
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Originally Posted by UltraFan
Impersonating a pilot? That's not a crime.
Doesnít seem to be a crime. Iíve known a few in my time that were impersonating pilots and nobody ever arrested them.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 04:07
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There are quite a few here on pprune as well who pretend they are a real pilot.
College of mine, and thus a real pilot himself, showed me his fake LH id he bought in bkk. Hilarious. His photo and a fake name: Hans Riesenschwanz.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 04:14
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Originally Posted by fox niner
There are quite a few here on pprune as well who pretend they are a real pilot.
College of mine, and thus a real pilot himself, showed me his fake LH id he bought in bkk. Hilarious. His photo and a fake name: Hans Riesenschwanz.
Very funny, but if heís ever caught his big Schwanz wonít be of much help!
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 06:16
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What are they going to charge him with? Impersonating a pilot? That's not a crime.
But imagine if a situation on board arose requiring the expertise of an off-duty or non-Rev pilot. That would have been courting disaster. Would you feel so leniently about 'fake'/'wannabe' medical staff?
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 06:21
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If you read more reports you will see he was arrested on the charge of impersonating an army officer as seen on many of his Facebook posts as well as his own messages boasting about his army pedigree. This is not only a crime under Indian Law (possibly other countries too) but incredibly stupid where he could have suffered bodily harm in an environment where terrorists have been known to impersonate the army & attack the Parliament. As far an earlier comments of bamboo sticks & torture du jour, thankfully due to the same medium we all discuss (forms internet & social media) this has become extremely risky for the police to do & has actually tamed them a lot...... mental harassment is another case & usually kept exclusively to the multiple white collar crimes that are being caught.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 08:52
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Aren't off duty pilots commuting to work everyday using the "benefits of the uniform"? Crew security, jumpseats, a free breakfast.

Just don't tell the mortals how it works
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:15
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With a hat like that you would be the Lufthansa king of Frankfurt in a second. Except the card reader at the fence wouldn't let you in.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 11:03
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Once worked with a bloke who impersonated an army officer. When I first met him he 'was' a CMF Major. I'd just come out of the army and he had all the correct gongs, uniform etc., but some of the stories & chronology didn't quite fit.
Had a promotion and organised the Anzac Day parade at Parramatta RSL, but shortly afterwards was convicted of impersonating a LtCol & fined, apparently on the suspicions of a couple of regular army Captains. (My suspicion is that a couple of the WW II blokes we worked with dobbed him in.)
Twenty years later, he had divided a small country town RSL. He now claimed to be a retired Brigadier. Half the club believed him, the other half didn't. It should have been easy to prove that he wasn' what he claimed to be, but he presented as extremely credible.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 11:55
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In the UK it is illegal to falsify impersonate someone for financial gain. so saying he was a pilot or dressing as one is OK, but getting an upgrade as a result might not be

Interestingly, it is a criminal offense to impersonate a doctor
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 12:53
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Originally Posted by Alsacienne
But imagine if a situation on board arose requiring the expertise of an off-duty or non-Rev pilot. That would have been courting disaster.
And what if "a situation arose requiring the expertise of an off-duty or non-Rev pilot" and... OMG!!! THERE AREN'T ANY!!! We're doomed! Or an even worse scenario: HE HAS A DIFFERENT TYPE RATING!

I may need to brush up on my training, but I don't think any page of my, or any, FCOM contains "Go out to the cabin and ask an advice from a deadheading pilot".

Originally Posted by Alsacienne
Would you feel so leniently about 'fake'/'wannabe' medical staff?
If they were just sitting quietly in an armchair eating free lollipops, by all means, yes.

Edit: I have to admit, however, that if the last words I hear before passing out from general anaesthesia were "So which one is the scalpel here?", I would be slightly more concerned, yes.

Last edited by UltraFan; 23rd Nov 2019 at 06:14.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 12:58
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Originally Posted by Radgirl
In the UK it is illegal to falsify impersonate someone for financial gain. so saying he was a pilot or dressing as one is OK, but getting an upgrade as a result might not be
Any half-decent lawyer would shred you to pieces if you tried to prove that accepting an unsolicited offer for an upgraded service that was duly paid for is financial gain. And I doubt any half-smart prosecutor would touch it with a ten-foot pole.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 13:10
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So UltraFan, having replied to my post, what is the bottom line point you wish to make? Or are you simply enjoying the debate?
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 13:11
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Originally Posted by Wannabe Flyer
If you read more reports you will see he was arrested on the charge of impersonating an army officer as seen on many of his Facebook posts as well as his own messages boasting about his army pedigree.
Isn't a crime, either. My social media page has me posing in the uniforms of at least six different armies. Lying on a Facebook page? Half the world does that. Seriously, they have NOTHING on him. And they know it. So the whole idea is to use "mental harrassment" on him to discourage other people from doing what is morally questionable but perfectly legal.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 13:25
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You cannot wear company apparel (even faked one) and fake yourself into company benefits for sure. The security side of things these days might be even more serious.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 13:33
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Well Ultrafan with these comments you brightened up my day - I thank you.

And what if "a situation arose requiring the expertise of an off-duty or non-Rev pilot" and... OMG!!! THERE AREN'T ANY!!! We're doomed! Or an even worse scenario: HE HAS A DIFFERENT TYPE RATING!

I may need to brush up on my training, but I don't think any page of my, or any, FCOM contains "Go out to the cabin and ask an advice from a deadheading pilot".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alsacienne
Would you feel so leniently about 'fake'/'wannabe' medical staff?
If they were just sitting quietly in an armchair eating free lollipops, by all means, yes.

What is concerning is that he managed to make it into the cockpit of an aircraft. Fine him, embarrass him in the media, that should be enough.
However more importantly find out how he got into the cockpit.


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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 14:51
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Originally Posted by Spunky Monkey
Well Ultrafan with these comments you brightened up my day - I thank you.
I live to serve.

Originally Posted by Spunky Monkey
What is concerning is that he managed to make it into the cockpit of an aircraft. Fine him, embarrass him in the media, that should be enough.
However more importantly find out how he got into the cockpit.
I can tell you now before the "investigators" spend millions. The photos were taken on the ground. It's extremely common to allow people to take pictures in the cockpit. It's usually either aspiring boys fascinated by aviation, or girls in their late teens/early 20s looking for a "sexy" selfie. If someone asks to be photographed in a pilot's seat while the plane is at the gate, I don't see anything bad or dangerous in it. (As long as it's not a captain's seat which is sacred!!!)

There was a time when little boys could quietly and politely ask the FA if they can see the cockpit in flight, and I heard many stories from older people who were even allowed to hold the yoke while in flight. Unfortunately, we now live in crazier times. But, in my humble opinion, photos in the cockpit on the ground are fine.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 16:36
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... yabbut did it help him with the girls??
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