Fake Swede pilot who flew for 13 years without licence says con was easy

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London, May 18 (ANI): A Swedish man, who worked as a passenger pilot without an original licence for 13 years before he was busted, has said it was "surprisingly easy" to fake it.

Thomas Salme, who worked with Scandinavian airline Air One, was even promoted to the post of captain after three years.

He had learnt flying while working as a maintenance engineer for airline SAS, when a pal let him 'fly' the firm's full-scale flight simulator.

"I'd train there for two or three hours at a time at least 15 to 20 times over one and a half years," the Sun quoted him, as saying.

He added: "The moral point of view is that I feel ashamed that I did lie but I didn't ever feel, not once feel, that I put passengers in an unsafe position."

Later, he produced fake documents and took a test flight in Air One to land a job as pilot.

Salme said: "I got the crackpot idea to apply as a co-pilot at a real airline so I made myself a Swedish flying permit with a logo out of regular white paper.

"It was a fantasy creation. It wasn't laminated and looked like something I'd made ay home. It was surprisingly easy.

"The documents look different everywhere in Europe. An Italian airline doesn't know what a Swedish licence looks like. And you can forge all the IDs you need."

He was eventually caught at the controls of a Boeing 737 belonging to airline Corendon. He had clocked up 10,000 unlicensed hours in the air.

However, judges in Amsterdam rejected prosecution pleas for a custodial sentence last month and even praised his safety record. (ANI)

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