Frenchman Pleads Guilty To Impersonating His Way Into US Air Cockpit at PHL
By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Frenchman who dressed as a pilot and worked his way into a US Airways cockpit in March has pleaded guilty to using a fraudulent ID card.
When 61-year-old Phillippe Jeannard boarded the plane, he wore a white Air France shirt and black leather jacket with epaulets on the shoulders. He had just arrived in Philadelphia from France on another flight, and was bound for West Palm Beach, Fla.
Apparently one of the flight attendants noticed he had an Air France ID card, and asked, as a professional courtesy, if he wanted to exchange pleasantries with the pilots. She directed him to the cockpit, and he sat in the jumpseat behind them.
Prosecutor KT Newton says Jeannard told the crew he flew Airbus 380s. That’s when a gate attendant with whom he previously had words over seating in coach noticed his presence in the cockpit, and they asked for his ID.
Newton says it was an altered ID card that belonged to his mother, a retired Air France worker (see previous stories).
Judge Gene Pratter advised Jeannard that the maximum prison sentence he faced was five years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine. But federal guidelines call for no time up to six months in prison, and he’s been locked up since the March 20th incident. That means he’s already served enough time within the federal guidelines for sentencing purposes.
Before he is sentenced, the judge also wanted pretrial services and all parties involved to reconcile the fact that he was represented by the Federal Community Defender Office, using taxpayer dollars, yet he was jetting to Palm Beach.
The judge also says Jeannard will be deported after his sentencing.
Assistant federal defender Elizabeth Toplin says her client didn’t fully appreciate the consequences of his actions and, according to her, he “certainly didn’t mean to cause any harm.”