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French man impersonates pilot, sweet talks his way into cockpit

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   Updated March 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Philippe Jernnard LaRocelle impersonated an Air France pilot on Wednesday, eventually making his way into the jump seat behind the captain of a US Airways flight departing Philadelphia and bound for West Palm Beach, Florida.

LaRocelle, 61, boarded with a ticket but managed to sweet-talk his way to the front of the plane, reports WPVI.

Cops busted the pilot impersonator because unlike famous con artist Frank Abagnale who pretended to be a PanAm pilot to fly around the world, LaRocelle could not produce proper Air France identification. He was asked to leave the cockpit and take his ticketed seat.

By the time police arrived LaRocelle had taken off the uniform, but a search of his bag produced fake Air France crew identification.

He was escorted from the aircraft and charged with criminal trespassing, breaking into a structure, forgery-alter writing, tampering with records or ID and false impression. He was also accused of showing false identification to law enforcement, and is being held on $1 million bail.

Frank Abagnale, the famous conman pilot who got away with it, was immortalised when Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed him in the movie "Catch Me If You Can."

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