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Man Arrested For Impersonating Pilot Aboard Plane At Philadelphia International Airport

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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Authorities have arrested a man they say impersonated a pilot aboard a flight out of Philadelphia International Airport.

The incident happened around 6:30 Wednesday evening on a U.S. Airways flight bound for West Palm Beach, Florida.

Police sources tell Eyewitness News that 61-year-old Philippe Jernnard of La Rocelle, France was wearing a shirt with an Air France logo on it and was even carrying a black jacket that resembled a pilot’s jacket.

Officials say Jernnard, a ticketed passenger for the flight, was found sitting in the jump-seat behind the captain’s seat in the cockpit of the airplane. How he got into the cockpit remains under investigation. When questioned by the flight crew, he allegedly identified himself as a 747 pilot for Air France. When asked to produce proper credentials, Jernnard became argumentative. He was removed from the flight and detained by police.

The news concerned and confused travelers, including frequent flier Bill McKenney.

“That’s pretty scary,” McKenney said. “I fly every week.”

Police found Jernnard was in possession of a counterfeit Air France crew member identification card. It was determined that he was not a pilot for Air France or an employee.

Philadelphia police charged him with Criminal Trespass, Tampering with Records, Impersonating a person Privately Employed, and False ID to law enforcement.

“(It’s) probably good that the rest of checks and balances worked and he wasn’t able to do anything,” McKenney said, “but something needs to be looked at.”

When reached for comment, U.S. Airways referred Eyewitness News to FBI investigators who said Jernnard was expected to be charged with federal violations on Friday.

Jernnard was being held on $1-million bail.

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