A manhunt is underway for a con artist who posed as a pilot and flew passenger jets internationally for eight months before being caught. American Michael Fay forged a pilot’s licence and medical documents to obtain a job as a pilot for Libya’s national carrier Afriqiyah Airways in 2010, UK newspaper The Telegraph reports.
He flew the Airbus A320 for eight months – in which time he made several landings at London’s Gatwick airport – before the fraud came to light when another pilot became suspicious in an online forum.
The former US Air Force pilot was arrested and had been due in court for sentencing in the UK on May 3. He failed to show and a global manhunt has been launched.
Detective constable Chris Thorne says the 59-year-old is a “clever and resourceful man who clearly shows no concern for public safety”.
It’s feared he may have fled Britain and could be again seeking work as a pilot.
Afriqiyah Airways had flown to 25 countries before the Libyan civil war, when it collapsed alongside Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
It resumed flights to Europe in July last year.
Detective constable Thorne says Fay ruthlessly targeted a country that was in economic strife.
“Public safety is paramount so it is important people are aware that he may be trying to gain work as an airline pilot or flying instructor overseas.”
An airline spokesman said Fay’s forgery made the company “an unwitting victim in his criminal endeavours”.
“At no time did his behaviour or demeanour draw attention to his ability or competence to fly the aircraft either with his colleagues or the station staff at Gatwick.”
This article originally appeared on totaltravel