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Fake Swedish pilot convicted by Dutch court

Published: 14 Apr 2010 08:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Apr 2010 10:29 GMT+02:00

41-year-old Swede Thomas Salme who flew for 13 years without a valid pilot's licence has been served with a small fine and banned from flying for one year after a conviction in a Dutch court.

Salme was not in attendance at his trial at Amsterdam's main Schiphol airport on Tuesday, according to Dutch media reports. The court convicted him and served a fine of €2,000 ($2,700) and a one year ban.

Despite the court expressing admiration for the Swedish pilot's evident skill at the controls of an aircraft, the prosecutor stated dissatisfaction over the soft penalty and is considering an appeal.

"One could think that that he had been a danger to air traffic during all these years, but the fact is that he flew for 13 years without incident," said prosecutor Bote ter Steege to Dutch media.

The would-be pilot was apprehended in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 at Schiphol Airport just minutes before it was set to leave for Ankara, Turkey on March 2nd.

Salme expressed relief on his arrest that his duplicity had come to light and admitted that he had flown for 13 years with a forged licence for companies in the UK, Belgium and Italy, spending a total of 10,000 unlicensed hours in the air.

Dutch police said they were able to arrest the 41-year-old on suspicion of holding a fake pilot licence thanks to a tip-off from the Swedish authorities.

The Swede, resident in Milan, had once possessed a Commercial Pilot's Licence (CPL) but this had long since expired, Dutch police said. He subsequently forged an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), the highest level of aircraft pilot licence and one which enabled him to fly large passenger planes.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:26 April 14, 2010 by dobermann
That is a great decision. This guy is amazing and got a right sentence.
08:31 April 14, 2010 by izbz
Best court decision ever!!!!!!! Don't mind being on his plane when he come out of prison.
09:35 April 14, 2010 by sherkovic
I would rather give him promotion to head pilot!!
10:27 April 14, 2010 by sweco1
Get his papers in order and go back to work!
11:25 April 14, 2010 by N18h7m4r3
The fact that he has been flying for so many years without any incident doesnot make him a good pilot. He might lead to a situation or may be an accident some day.

Modern airliners are so much automated and require minimal input from pilot. A failure in a computer system of the aircraft requires trained and skillfull pilot.

Next time when I fly I hope the plane is not in hands of some taxi driver or something
13:34 April 14, 2010 by avatar
The Pirate Bay guy should also be treated in the same way.
14:58 April 14, 2010 by GLO
A just act. Good pilot lazy person.
19:53 April 14, 2010 by wxman
Headline is all wrong. Maybe it could be "Swedish Fake Pilot". That would keep it from sounding like he's a fake Swede. Better yet, it should be "Swedish Illegal Pilot". He's demonstrated that he is not a fake pilot having done it successfully for the last 13 years, albeit without a license.
04:47 April 15, 2010 by jimfromcanada
i think the only thing he will ever fly again is a private aircraft. I think that before he ever flies again commercially he would have to prove his proficiency on a simulator of what ever aircraft he is being certified to fly, but I don't think he will be able to fly commercially, though, because of his conviction.
15:40 May 26, 2010 by tribant
The comment saying "great decision" obviously come from criminal himself - Thomas Salme.

But pilots who flew with him know him as the Italian mafia cowboy, who disregarded every rule in the safety book, while sleeping soundly through every flight. Speed limits? What are those? He was tin-pot African dictator, who smacked heads, made you carry his bags and become his chauffeur and camera holder.

The skies are much safer, now that he is grounded. Heheh.
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